October 26, 2018

Military issues largely MIA on the campaign trail

Featuring Susanna V. Blume

Source: The Military Times

Journalists Joe Gould, Leo Shane III

For months, President Donald Trump’s campaign trail speeches have included the same version of the same applause line on national security.

“Our military will soon be more powerful than it ever has been ever, ever, ever before,” the president said at an event in Nevada a week ago. “Under Republican leadership, America is booming, America is thriving, and America is winning, because we are finally putting America first.”

Democrats’ defense policies, he insists, “are against your military.”

The Democratic National Committee’s actual platform on national security says party members “are committed to ensuring our troops have the training, equipment, and support that they need when they are deployed and the care that they and their families need and deserve when they return home.”

But beyond those high-level feuds, the debate on national security issues has been more muted this year than in the 2016 election, when military and defense topics were center stage in the presidential campaign. Without a central Democratic figure like Trump stumping on national defense, the military has only played a significant factor only in races with bases or large defense contractors.

“At the end of the day (the election) comes down to the economy, whether or not people can pay their bills,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. and chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, in an interview earlier month.

“National security, when you had the rise of ISIS it probably spiked. But generally speaking it’s not on the top five list. It is on mine.”

Two years ago, officials from the Gallup Poll reported that about 11 percent of voters listed national security and terrorism as the most important problems facing the United States. In the most recent survey of that question, it dropped to 2 percent.

Read the full article and more in The Military Times.

  • Susanna V. Blume

    Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Susanna Blume is a Senior Fellow in the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include the Defense program and budget, defense posture a...