Donald Trump

Trump on Politicians for Sale

“When they call, I give. [...] When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that's a broken system."

On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at the Republican Debate in Cleveland, OH
Sources: Fox News,, 

The Context: When asked about his prior practice of "supporting a host of other liberal policies" and donating to Democratic campaigns, Trump reflected on the "broken system" of campaign finance. He describes his campaign contributions as decisions that were less about politics and more about business—adding that as a New Yorker, currying political favor means donating to Democratic candidates. 

Last month, we mapped the federal campaign contributions to date within this election cycle following Jim Webb's remark that campaign funding tends to "drown out" or steer the debate. While Trump declined to offer political examples of the influence his funding garnered (he opted instead to cite the Clintons' attendance at his wedding as the returned favor), his comment implies a set of practices that confirm Webb's critique. 

We described then that if campaign finance influences the debate (and the decisions of elected officials), then the geography of contributions to campaigns for federal offices matters as the issues of most importance to large donors are not the same across the country. (In Trump's case, the debate moderator pointed out that, in addition to funding candidates in New York, he also donated to Nancy Pelosi in California.) We promised to periodically update our Political Contributions map, and so again we ask

Where have the political contributions come from thus far in the 2016 election cycle? And what sorts of committees (candidates, parties, or PACs) are receiving the lion's share?

The Issues Thus Far

Update 1:00PM EST Tuesday, July 21, 2015: At the time of writing, the project had in fact successfully made it through the complete list of declared candidates. This morning, within hours of this entry going 'live,' John Kasich announced his run for the presidency.

The Campaign Mapping project has now officially gone through the list of declared major party candidates, highlighting aspects of each of their announcement speeches. As a result, now seems like an appropriate time to reflect on the issues that have received attention and the ways in which they were discussed.  (Of course, we'll be adding any others who decide to throw their hats into the ring as they make their announcements.)

[The links throughout this summary will take you to specific atlas entries or to a list of those including reference to specific issues.]

Perhaps unexpectedly, there are a handful of issues and themes emerging at the fore of the rhetoric. Similarly, there are a variety of tactics the announcements themselves have exploited in terms of venues and approaches. While most gave a speech close to their hometowns, Clinton and Fiorina both released short videos on the Internet boosted through social media, while Webb declared his candidacy via Facebook with a letter posted as well. 

We've heard several references to the American Dream and the need for greater opportunities for working Americans. We've heard the beginnings of discussion on income inequality and jobs. Further, we began to translate what they might mean when candidates talk about the "middle class" as an expectation, a social contract, and an income bracket. We've also heard a bit of confusion on the nature of social programs and policies, particularly where "entitlements" and "welfare" programs are concerned. We anticipate several future atlas entries further clarifying the difference, and we got that process of translation underway with a brief discussion of "welfare" specifically.

While immigration was a popular topic from the very first announcement, it became an enormous talking point with Trump's announcement. The country saw divergent rhetorical approaches between candidates of color who each emphasized their families' stories of coming to the US (or in Bush's case, the story of starting his family with his wife whom he met in Mexico) and other candidates whose discussion of immigration which is centered around legality, policy, and economic opportunity. 

While rarely explicit, the topic of immigration dovetails into a growing theme of diversity and identity. While Clinton's video highlighted a diverse population in middle-class America and others voiced pride in the national origins of their families, a few candidates have called for an end to "identity politics" and "hyphenated Americans." We translated one aspect of identity politics from the statement made by Fiorina. Interestingly, it was Jindal, who described his parents immigrating to the US as an idea rather than a place, who also seeks to unite the diverse population through reduced nomenclature.

Taken together, more often than not, these issues describe each candidate's imagined audience and the image of "America" each of them sees. Specifically, they describe who they believe the typical American is and what characteristics comprise American households and families. Even in this very early phase of our project, we have seen many "typical American households" and many "Americas."

On the process of politics itself, almost every candidate made a point of critiquing the system into which they've been launched. Be it on questions of campaign finance or partisanship or general voter disillusionment, candidates from both parties agreed that these were issues to be addressed. (Christie calls the latter Americans' "anxiety.")

In the coming weeks, we expect to hear more specific policy priorities and agendas. This will likely mean fewer maps of Americans in favor of mapping our infrastructures, energy usage, environmental concerns, and economic systems. With that, our questions will move away from "who lives where?" toward "who might be impacted?" by such policies. And all that fun starts...tomorrow.

- the Campaign Mapping team

Donald Trump Is Running for President

"I would build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I build 'em very inexpensively—I will build a great, great wall on our Southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words."

On Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in New York, NY
Sources: C-Span, Time

The Context: One of the primary topics of Trump's announcement is US competition with other countries, stating that "we don't beat" countries like China, Japan, and Mexico "anymore," but rather that they are "killing us." Trump says these countries have "taken" our jobs and money, and that as a result the US has become a "dumping ground" for "people that have lots of problems." He specifically cites those coming from Mexico, from "all over South and Latin America," and "probably from the Middle East." In addition to building a Mexican-funded wall on the 1,954-mile US-Mexico border, his list of immediate actions as president include repealing Obamacare, being "tougher" on ISIS than anyone else, finding a General Patton or General MacArthur figure to lead the US Army, preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and supporting the right to bear arms. 

Several candidates' announcement speeches have included personal anecdotes about their immigrant families. Others have made specific overtures to immigrant communities within the US. (Consider referencing Jeb Bush's announcement speech and yesterday's map of non-English speakers.) With this in mind, and given Trump's assertions on immigration and border security, we asked:

What percentage of people in America's various communities were born outside the United States, and from where have they immigrated? And while keeping in mind that many non-Citizens are in the US legally, what percentage of the foreign-born population are citizens?