WaPo's Catherine Rampell Highlights How "Trump, Cruz and Rubio Aren't All That Different"

Blog ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH

The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell explained that Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump "are largely indistinguishable from one another on most major policy stances," contrary to the "popular imagination" that Trump is "so much crazier or more extreme" than his fellow candidates.

The Post has previously noted how Cruz "actually benefits from Trump's full-spectrum dominance of the national media conversation," which "obscure[s]" his own extreme positions. And the media have touted Rubio as the "moderate" or establishment candidate, while giving him as pass on his own extreme positions.

In a February 25 article, Catherine Rampell challenged the premise that Trump is "so much crazier or more extreme than the other Republican candidates," in particular Cruz and Rubio. Rampell pointed to "the positions of the three top contenders on a few high-profile issues" and concluded, "on policy matters, there just ain't much daylight between Trump and the supposed mainstream alternatives. They're all pretty far to the right.":

Is Donald Trump really so much crazier or more extreme than the other Republican presidential candidates?

Certainly in the popular imagination -- and among party elites -- the answer seems to be yes: Trump has placed himself well outside the bounds of Republican orthodoxy. Hence the push for the establishment to coalesce around a viable, more "moderate" alternative. Someone like Marco Rubio, perhaps, or maybe even Ted "I'm not here to make friends" Cruz, the two candidates battling for second place behind The Donald, and whom GOP leadership is counting on to rescue the party from Trumpian extremism.

I'm not convinced, though, that Trump is so far out on the fringe, especially if you use these also-runners as your reference points. Consider the positions of the three top contenders on a few high-profile issues.

On immigration, Trump wants to build a wall and round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

On the same issue, Rubio also wants to build a wall. Cruz wants to both build a wall and round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

On taxes, Trump proposes cuts that would cost trillions of dollars; are not paid for; are highly regressive; and are even more regressive if you assume they'll actually be offset by spending cuts, which would disparately hurt poor and middle-class Americans.

What about Cruz's and Rubio's tax plans?

They each cost trillions; are not paid for; are highly regressive; and are even more regressive if you assume they'll actually be offset by spending cuts.

On Obamacare, Trump pledges to repeal it completely. Ditto Cruz, ditto Rubio and ditto basically everyone else in the Republican Party.

[...]

All three do not accept the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, contra the views of most Americans.

All three want fewer gun-control measures, contra the views of most Americans.

All three want to reverse nationwide same-sex marriage, contra the views of most Americans.

[...]

On policy matters, there just ain't much daylight between Trump and the supposed mainstream alternatives. They're all pretty far to the right.

You could argue that the others have shifted their original positions rightward to pitch-match Trump's belches of outrageousness. (Cruz only recently endorsed mass deportation, for example.) But regardless of where on the ideological spectrum the candidates started, the fact remains that today the three of them are largely indistinguishable from one another on most major policy stances.

Posted In
Gender, Economy, Elections, Climate Change, Health Care, Immigration, Guns
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz
Stories/Interests
2016 Elections
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