GOP Convention: Presidential Candidates Talk Jobs, Economy

Donald TrumpEconomy and jobs are the top issues for Americans and Californians in most polls so how did the Republican presidential candidates address those issues when speaking at the California GOP convention over the weekend?

TRUMP

Successful businessman Donald Trump probably spent the least time during his speech talking about jobs and the economy.

He recalled when he announced for the presidency last June his motivation was driven by bad trade deals. He said the United States made the worst deals of any country. He railed against NAFTA, telling the audience that the trade deal “emptied out your state.”

Trump responding to critics who say he is not conservative when it comes to trade policy declared, “Who cares, we have to strengthen our country. I’m conservative on trade, free trade, I love it, but our leaders don’t make good deals.”

He even put a business example to use in keeping up a drumbeat against his GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Referring to a reported deal the two made to concentrate their efforts in states where each might fare better in an attempt to stall Trump’s march to the nomination, Trump called the pact “collusion.” In the business world the two would go to jail for collusion, he said, in politics they can do whatever they want.

Poking at the stop Trump strategy, the New Yorker said of Cruz and Kasich’s pact, ‘How are they going to deal with China when they put together unworkable deals like this?’

But, Trump was a boon for some entrepreneurs–setting up parking away from the hotel. Notice the sign says: Trump Parking. Not GOP Convention parking. No other candidates mentioned. Trump Parking. That worked for all sides–both supporters and protestors could find a place to park in the nearby lot.

KASICH

Governor John Kasich revealed big news for his campaign, especially in California, when he announced he received the endorsement of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He said that was the organization’s first presidential endorsement in 36 years.

Kasich said America’s greatest crisis is lack of economic growth citing the recent announcement of weak Gross Domestic Product growth of .5% in the first quarter of the year. Kasich said he worried about people climbing out of poverty or strengthening the middle class with such slow economic growth.

Economic growth, he said, gives an opportunity to those who live in the shadows. Turning the economy around means less national debt, which leads to more job opportunity. Debt goes up, job opportunity goes down, he said. Debt goes down, job opportunity goes up.

Kasich spent time relating to middle class workers, speaking of his grandfather who worked in the mines, his mailman father, and thinking of the people in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania who worked in the mills and lost jobs.

CRUZ

Senator Ted Cruz probably spent the greatest portion of his speech on jobs and the economy than any of the presidential contenders—not surprising since his campaign handed out campaign placards with jobs listed first under Cruz’s name.

Cruz said jobs and economic growth were his “number one priority.”

The Texas senator even allowed a Democratic icon into his address to support his approach—as long as a larger-than-life Republican icon accompanied that Democrat.

Cruz hailed presidents Ronald Reagan and John F Kennedy for cutting taxes to promote new jobs and economic growth.

Cruz said federal regulations are like locusts for farmers, ranchers and small businesses killing jobs. He promised to lift government off the back of small business.

He also put a California spin on his approach to jobs and the economy complaining about the loss of water to farmers because of environmental concerns over the delta smelt fish. He noted that 17,000 farm jobs were lost with Hispanic workers thrown out of work because of misguided regulations.

Hailing his choice for vice-president, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, particularly on economic issues, Cruz said she understands the domestic economy and she understands where jobs come from.

CONTRADICTIONS AND CONVENTION NOTES

There is always some head scratching and seeming contradictions in these types of gatherings. Some comments might just need further explanations but a few worthy of note:

Since we are speaking of the economy, Senator Ted Cruz, promoting Republican ideas to boost the economy, said that California survived and thrived in face of Democratic mismanagement year in and year out.

Trump preached party unity during his speech while also tearing down his opponents and by extension, those candidates’ supporters in the room.

The hate demonstrated by Stop Hate protestors in front of the hotel.

Trump, of course, talked about the wall he hopes to build along the Mexican border. Little did he know he would have to maneuver around a (much shorter) wall to get into the hotel. CalBuzz was on the trail of Trump’s wall adventure. Check out their investigation here.

LOUDEST APPLAUSE

No decibel meter in the conference hall so completely subjective, but listening to the cheering the loudest applause did not go for Trump, Kasich or Cruz (Cruz probably had the loudest of the three presidential candidates.) Remember the ballroom crowds were not identical for each candidate. However, the loudest applause of all came when GOP state chairman Jim Brulte thanked the California Highway Patrol and Burlingame Police for doing their job dealing with the protestors.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily