In a nearly one-hour speech, Trump railed against pharmaceutical companies. He railed against oil companies. And insurance companies. And defense contractors. And he set himself against a political system that he said allows big-money corporate "bloodsuckers" to control the government with campaign contributions....Is Trump going to keep talking like this after New Hampshire, where many Republicans are moderate and independent voters can choose which primary they vote in? I don't know. I also wonder whether the voters who like Trump would rather hear him bring the hate against the usual enemies -- Muslims, Mexicans, Hillary Clinton, Establishment Republicans. But for now, this is what he's saying. And he's still leading in the polls. Is it possible that the Sanders message is having an impact that will still be felt in American politics even if his campaign ultimately fails?
Trump promised to allow the government to negotiate drug prices.... He said he would not raise military spending, arguing that the nation's defenses can be improved without increasing its already huge Pentagon budget. He promised tough sanctions on American companies that move jobs overseas....
"We're not allowed to negotiate drug prices, can you believe it?" Trump said. Noting that Woody Johnson, of the Johnson & Johnson family, is a big Jeb Bush fundraiser, Trump asked, "Do you think Jeb Bush is going to make drug prices competitive?" Everyone knew the answer. Trump went on to accuse the insurance industry of buying laws that suppress competition and keep prices high, and the oil companies of doing something similar.
On defense ... Trump promised instead to go after waste and profiteering in the defense industry. "I hear stories, like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests," Trump said. "Because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor."
One nagging thought: If Trump and Clinton are the nominees, and if Trump is still (selectively) populist, will there be issues on which Clinton attacks Trump from the right? She does favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but she's been vague on military spending; on that subject, the most I can find is this:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Thursday for the creation of a high-level commission to examine U.S. defense spending.We know that Trump's insistence that we can have a strong, bomb-the-shit-out-of-them military at a lower cost is typical Trump magical thinking. But would Clinton get to the right of him, mired as she is in 1990s thinking, which still makes her think that the most important thing for a Democrat is not to sound like McGovern or Mondale or Dukakis? Who knows -- we might find out.
Speaking at a town hall-style campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Clinton said: "I think we are overdue for a very thorough debate in our country about what we need, and how we are going to pay for it."
She added: "Very often, leadership of the Defense Department wants to eliminate certain spending, or wants to change it, and they're stopped by the Congress."