Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016--Trump and Women

Timing in politics is everything. Reporting on politics is also everything. Sometimes both collude.

Take Donald Trump's speech on Tuesday in which he outlined his child and eldercare policy.

Should I whisper that his proposals are in some ways more expansive and progressive than Hillary's? Should I mention that the New York Times, the "paper of record," on Wednesday buried the story on its Website, devoting more ink to Trump's deciding not to go on/then to go on TV with the charlatan Dr. Oz to discuss the state of his health?

The same New York Times that has been castigating Trump about his reluctance or inability to discuss social policy essentially ignored Trump's rather generous and nuanced program.

They felt it more important to highlight Mike Pence's failure to rally Democratic members of Congress to support Trump's candidacy. Once again the Times chose to cover the process more than the substance.

I suspect the Trump specifics are not well known among Progressives so here in outline are the highlights--
Employers would be required to provide paid maternity leave of up to six weeks per pregnancy. (Hillary's plan calls for 12 weeks.)
Parents would be able to deduct from their taxes childcare costs for up to four children until they reach the age of 13. 
Low-income parents would receive a tax credit for up to four children. 
"Above the line" tax deductions of up to $5,000 per year would be allowed for eldercare as well as "adult day care."
There is no surprise that Clinton supporters are saying that her plans for parents and children are better. Though they have little to say about eldercare since I cannot find evidence that Hillary has much of a program of this sort for them.

And there is little surprise that Republicans are criticizing Trump and his plan because it would create another unfunded entitlement program. Something they claim Democrats do, thought they conveniently forget George W. Bush's also unfunded prescription drug plan for which a majority of GOP congressmen voted. A plan that had already added more than a trillion dollars to our national debt.

Clearly Trump is attempting to appeal to female voters who are overwhelmingly and understandably turned off by him. One could say that he is pandering to working mom's who, if even a small percentage of them now turn to him, could tip the election in his direction. In addition, if he can attract more senior citizens whose care is largely ignored by policy makers and politicians (including by Hillary), watch out.

If Trump had revealed these programs a year ago--timing again--and had not acted so egregiously when it comes to women's issues, we probably now would see him with a substantial lead. Even so, incredibly, more-and-more polls are showing him in either a statistical tie with Clinton or actually in the lead. In crucial Ohio, for example, he has a 5 point margin.

Again, timing is everything. But Hillary supporters are feeling increasing worried. Me included.

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