The personalities are all on display. The insults are flying. Some allegiances are being made. As the CNN debate approaches, we wanted to take a look at four of the major candidates fighting for the GOP nomination: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson.
There are other candidates of course who have a chance, but we look at these four as the most likely last person standing when the GOP convention hits next year. The issues we selected are some of the ones that conservatives take into consideration when looking at candidates. Some are big, some are small, but all are impactful and say a ton about the candidates.
Where They Differ
The Republican party has been splintered into different groups and perspectives. Everyone has a plan that is at least a little different from their competitors on certain issues.
- Donald Trump – Wants to abolish or significantly lower corporate tax. Lower capital gains and dividends. Do away with estate tax. Slash income tax across the board. No flat tax. A “graduation” tax based upon how much you make, but simplified. Get rid of deductions. He says he would not want to abolish the IRS because someone has to collect the money.
- Jeb Bush – As of 2015 Jeb bush hasn’t released a tax plan. He has spoken on taxes in the past, but it hasn’t been relative to his campaign or what he would do if he became president.
- Ted Cruz – He says ideally he would like to see a flat tax, low and simple, although he has not settled upon the rate as of yet. Wants to abolish the IRS. Have optional trade offs. Simplify the tax code in order that it would at least move toward a flat tax, even if it doesn’t go all the way initially.
- Ben Carson – Wants a proportional flat tax between 10-15%. Implement a tax holiday. Eliminate loopholes and deductions. Would call for regulatory reform.
- Donald Trump – Pro life with the caveats of incest, rape or if the life of the mother was in danger. Doesn’t necessarily support the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but would consider it if they continue performing abortions.
- Jeb Bush – Pro life and wants to ban abortion after 20 weeks with the caveats of incest, rape or if the life of the mother were in danger. Has pushed to defund Planned Parenthood.
- Ted Cruz – Pro life with no caveats. Would be happy to abolish abortion and to defund Planned Parenthood.
- Ben Carson – Pro life with only caveat being the life of the mother, which he notes is typically a rare instance. Does support rape contraceptive in which the ovulation process is temporarily ceased, thereby blocking immediate conception. Believes that Planned Parenthood should be defunded.
- Donald Trump – In his immigration proposal he supports “Touchback” amnesty where illegals are forced to leave, but those without criminal records be expedited back into the U.S. He favors building a wall along the entire border to keep out future illegals. Opposes sanctuary cities.
- Jeb Bush – Supports earned legal status for illegal immigrants with provisional work permits, fines etc,. Change the law to create a different status for the “Dream Act Kids”. Believes in the E-Verify system and opposes sanctuary cities.
- Ted Cruz – Says to secure borders by tripling border patrol and implementing technology. Crack down on visa overstays. Wants to improve and streamline legal immigration. Strongly opposes amnesty and wants to rescind every illegal immigrant. Opposes sanctuary cities.
- Ben Carson – Secure all borders by implementing electronic surveillance and technology, including unarmed drones. Create a guest-worker program where each illegal immigrant currently here registers, pays fines for back taxes as well as paying taxes going forward, and then go through the legal citizenship process. Opposes sanctuary cities.
- Donald Trump – Believes in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Feels the decision should be left up to the states, however since the Supreme Court’s ruling he states there’s nothing he will do to change that.
- Jeb Bush – Believes in traditional marriage and was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision. However, he states that since the decision has been made we should move forward in supporting long-term, loving relationships and that fighting to make an amendment to the court’s decision would be unrealistic.
- Ted Cruz – Believes strongly in traditional marriage and as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, he has suggested an amendment to the Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to a periodic judicial-retention election. He has already introduced legislation to the Congress that would amend the Constitution so that states could define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
- Ben Carson – Believes strongly in traditional marriage and is vociferously against the Supreme Court’s decision saying that he will continue to look for a better way; stating there are excellent alternatives that should and need to be presented to the American people.
Where They are the Same
One can expect that there are certain talking points and perspectives in which the candidates will be in lockstep. They are…
Each candidate claims to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, although some of the candidates have spoken more openly about their beliefs than others, namely Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
Each candidate claims they strongly support Israel and that the current administration has been hostile, or at the very least, unsupportive of our ally.
None of the candidates support the Iran Deal. All say they would either revoke or end the deal once elected, with the exception of Donald Trump who says that you cannot tear up a contract that easily, rather he would be extremely tough on its implementation.
All candidates are pro 2nd Amendment.
Despite Trump’s reputation of being bold and not politically correct, his position on many of the issues puts him more in the middle than on the right. He is conspicuously conservative on many of the issues that get the people’s blood boiling which can account for him being top in the polls, but overall he’s barely more conservative than Bush.
Carson and Cruz are the clear choices for true conservatives, but they may not have the exposure needed to beat the two better-known candidates. We’ll see if this is a year where conservatism wins or if it’s another year where a moderate gets the nomination.