So far, the race for the Republican presidential primary has been far more entertaining and bizarre than anyone could have imagined, due mostly to front-runner Donald Trump. But when he's finally forced to buckle down and offer real solutions to issues (assuming he does), what agenda Donald Trump will push during the debate is anyone's guess. From the moment he launched his campaign, it's been one surprising comment after another, from disparaging remarks about Mexicans to the statement that Sen. John McCain wasn't a true war hero. He even survived the fashion faux pas of a white baseball cap emblazoned with the words "Make America Great Again" during a trip to the Texas-Mexico border. The New York developer has been a veritable quote machine.
But on Thursday, he won't be the only one on the stage during the first GOP debate of the 2016 election cycle. This will be a slightly different experience for Trump, as he'll have to defend his positions on the issues. Some have questioned whether Trump even has an agenda or strategy, or whether he just likes the spotlight. Unlike other candidates, Trump has no "issues" section on his campaign website, instead opting for an "about" section that lists his resume. Try to not hear Trump's voice when you read this opening paragraph:
Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports and entertainment. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance. An accomplished author, Mr. Trump has authored over 15 bestsellers, and his first book, The Art of the Deal, is considered a business classic and one of the most successful business books of all time.
While Trump may be a successful businessman, he has never been elected to public office so he has no political experience to speak of. He hasn't said much about the issues, really, with one big exception. Clearly, the issue that has given Trump the most traction, and the most headlines in the 2016 race so far, has been immigration.
He even went so far as to stage that bizarre trip to the Mexican border, to show... that he knows how to build walls? It made for great television, so the political premise was almost beside the point, as it usually is with the trash-talking Trump.
It seems likely Donald will stick to that which has worked for him so far and will almost certainly continue to push his agenda against illegal immigration. What specifically Trump would do to cut down on illegal immigration at the border remains unclear; besides saying he was going to "build a great wall," he has offered little in the way of specifics. How would he fund such a project, for instance?
The debate may be the first chance to directly contrast Trump with his fellow Republicans. For the first time, he won't be the only one talking, and if he doesn't have some clear ideas about what a Trump administration would stand for, he may end up revealing his presidential candidacy is little more than a vanity project.