After eight years of a Democratic president there will now be at least four years of a Republican presidency.
After eight years of a Democratic president there will now be at least four years of a Republican presidency. Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate despite losing over six seats and two seats respectively. That gives the party majorities of forty-six in the house and at least four in the senate. These elections will lead to a change of not only foreign policy but significant changes to domestic policies.
On economic trade policy Trump’s election has killed the despised Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. This was similar to Brexit killing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade agreement. A March poll showed 67% of Americans were against TPP and a September Politico Harvard poll showed eighty five percent of Republicans and fifty four percent of Democrats believing it would cost America jobs. The only people in Congress who would support it are twenty eight Democratic representatives and thirteen Democratic senators which means a minority of the minority party in the legislature were prepared, along with the president, to go against their party and their electoral base to pursue a detrimental corporatist policy. Another positive economic policy is Trump’s promise to invest over $600,000,000,000 in America’s grade D infrastructure which will not only create much needed employment but the imperative upgrade that is desperately needed,
In terms of the executive branch and it’s functioning the Intercept reported that Trump will take over the presidency with the most expansive and most unchecked power in history. This means the presidency and executive branch is more powerful now than during the presidencies of Nixon, George W Bush and Obama. This has increased the scope of the government in relation to internal crackdown on citizens which the violent anti Trump protesters ought to consider for the sake of safety and security alone especially in the context of the law and order president elect. These powers give Trump control of an unaccountable drone program. This represents potential risks and pitfalls Two American civilians had been killed in covert operations under Obama along with three American citizens who were Wahhabi terrorists. Worryingly Trump is putting Jose Rodriguez in charge of the Central Intelligence Agency. Rodriguez oversaw the creation of the torture program under George W Bush.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was surprised at the vast scope of responsibilities and duties of the presidency and that Obama would have more transitional meetings with his successor due to Trump’s inexperience with the government’s executive branch. This is not the first time, governmental practices have been changed to accommodate a new president as presidential briefings were two pages shorter under Bush junior as he was a multi-modality learner meaning he processed information better in the form of questions and answers.
Trump promised to expand Medicaid. Medicaid has to be expanded to increase American people’s access to healthcare. This is not disputed and there is broad agreement on this across the political spectrum. The Wall Street Journal reported that fifty six percent of Republicans were in favour of expanding Medicaid. Utah Policy showed that eighty nine percent of Democrats favour Medicaid expansion and PPACA was Obama’s policy and statutory implementation of Medicaid expansion. Trump promised to increase Medicaid block grants to states in the federal budget. Trump has stated he will either repeal and replace PPACA or amend it. On Columbia Broadcasting Service’s 60 Minutes interview he stated people with pre-existing conditions would be covered under a new or amended healthcare policy. Getting Medicaid expansion correct is crucial to the Trump presidency. Eleven million and four hundred thousand Americans are afraid of losing their health insurance coverage that they gained from PPACA. 30,503,000 Americans are still uninsured. 7,900,000 of those could potentially be insured by 2022. Forty million Americans are depending on Trump’s policy for their healthcare. This is what happens in countries without single payer nationalised healthcare systems. The aforementioned would bring down the costs of Medicaid and Medicare as America constantly spending twice the amount Canada does on healthcare shows. Thom Hartmann asked if it was possible for Trump to save Medicare on Russia Today’s Big Picture.
In the 60 Minutes interview Trump took the opportunity to strongly condemn violent hate crimes and urged for hate crimes to cease. Trump was endorsed by Ku Klux Klan branches and self-admitted overt white supremacists so for the sake of American race relations it was important for Trump to show strong leadership on the recent violence. It was also important for the paleo conservative and alternative right favoured president elect as many working-class people of ethnic minorities form a significant section of his electoral base. The optics of a law and order candidate not being strong on violence would be received negatively by the American public.
Trump also promised not to cut Social Security. The Intercept reported that Mike Corby of USA Next, previously of Reagan and Bush junior’s administrations, and Dorcas Hardy are on Trump’s transitional team regarding entitlements. This is a mistake by Trump as both of the aforementioned are hostile to Social Security as a government program and both want to privatise and cut Social Security. Paul Ryan is already making public statements about entitlement reform. If Trump privatises Social Security or even worse cuts it, it will be as big a mistake as Obama made offering to cut Social Security which the Republicans in Congress at the time rejected. It would be an unnecessary blunder as Americans overwhelmingly support Social Security including eighty seven percent of Democrats and seventy two percent of Republicans. Mike Huckabee, a Christian conservative Republican from Bill Clinton’s home town of Hope in Arkansas, strongly supported Trump and is opposed to cutting Social Security is a more optimistic sign as it indicates strong Republican opposition to cutting Social Security among the party’s base. It is imperative that Trump opposes Paul Ryan’s libertarian economics inspired by the late Ayn Rand.
Trump has confirmed he will keep his campaign promise of overturning Roe Verses Wade 1973 a ruling that led to sixty million babies dying violent deaths. This is an optimistic omen for the pro-life movement. Trump stated that the issue of abortion would go back to the states in terms of policy. This could be an improvement from a pro-life perspective as sixty percent of Republicans are pro-life. The GOP control 33 state and territory executives, they have fifty seven percent of state senatorial seats and fifty six percent of state house seats so Republican state control should bring significant gain to pro-life advocates. This is a welcome change from Obama’s pro-abortion extreme zealotry.
Trump will continue current strong immigration deportation policies and enforce stronger border security policies. There will stronger immigration and customs policies as Trump was endorsed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Obama deported two million illegal immigrants and criminal including a record 438,421 deported in 2013. This will undoubtedly continue. Trump aims to deport between two million and three million violent criminals who illegally entered America in the first three months of his presidency. Securing the southern border involves two thousand miles of combinations of a fence, a wall, two fences and two walls in different places along with increased border patrols by ICE. This is a big promise as only six hundred and seventy miles of the southern border is currently fenced however both president elect Trump and leading Congressional Republicans have reaffirmed their intention of securing the southern border and implementing policies in pursuit of that goal. Strong vetting procedures, which involve over twenty stages in the process, of immigrants will continue and in Trump’s extreme vetting policy immigrants will be vetted regarding their views on religious tolerance, gender equality and same sex couples to detect Wahhabi ideology for security purposes. This policy was moderated from a ban on foreign Muslims entering America articulated in the Republican primaries.
Trump has named Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist and Senior Counsellor and he has also named Reince Preibus as Chief Aide in his administration. The purpose of Bannon’s appointment is to reward Bannon’s loyalty on the campaign and to give credit for Bannon and Conway’s victorious electoral strategy. Bannon has drawn criticism and several critics condemn him for white nationalist and anti-Semitic views espoused in his time at Breitbart News even though that publication has denied that it promotes such views. Bannon’s ex-wife claimed under sworn testimony that Bannon had expressed concern that his daughters were being educated alongside students of the Jewish faith and she also said he disliked Jews. It should be noted that Bannon, like the president elect, supports the Zionist state of Medinat Yisrael. The aim with Preibus’s role is to unite the Republican Party including establishment Republicans especially those of the neoconservative ideological persuasion. Bannon and Preibus will in effect serve as Trump’s Chiefs of Staff.
On fiscal policy Trump will pursue Reagan style trickle down supply side economics. Trump has indicated his intention to implement similar fiscal policies to Bush junior’s Tax the Rich Tax Cuts program which was designed to generate revenue with tax cuts acting as a stimulus to incentivise spending. While it did generate what were the highest US tax receipts in 2007 Bush’s expenditure had already wasted it with profligacy. Trump wants to disincentivise corporate inversions by reducing the corporate income tax rate to fifteen percent. The Republican controlled Congress had previously blocked Obama’s attempt to outlaw corporate inversions in statute. This is unlikely to generate enough spending and revenue for Trump being able to implement all the policies he has articulated however it has already convinced the Ford motor company to transfer an increasing number of jobs from Mexico to Ohio in order to manufacture trucks and lorries. Trump had aggressively criticised Ford for creating 3,800 positions in Chihuahua, the town where the small dog breed is from, and Guanajuato instead of towns in the rust belt of America. Canada and Mexico have indicated their willingness to renegotiate NAFTA since Trump’s election. Time and Fortune have reported that Trump’s economic policy would add $5,300,000,000,000 to the US national debt and this would bring the national debt to between $25 trillion and $26 trillion. Neither Trump nor other Republicans have stated or laid out how they would service said debt. They could increase the minimum wage a policy supported by over 80% Democrats (APGfK poll), 53% Republicans (Hart Research poll) and 80% of American businesses according to the Chamber of Commerce poll. This would stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending with more disposable income and generating public revenue through income tax and business tax. For consumer spending and public revenue to be maximised in this fashion the minimum wage would have to be chained to inflation. On student debt Trump said there would income based repayments amounting to 12.5% of postgraduates’ incomes. He wants to fund forgiveness of loans by lowering federal spending in cuts to the Department of Education. Trump’s policy is to forgive student loan debts after fifteen years of repayments. Trump wants tuition fees cut by making cuts and savings in educational administration. If universities do not spend endowment money on keeping tuition fees low they will lose federal tax breaks under Trump’s plan. Trump had accused establishment politicians of not giving “a damn about education” during his campaign. Trump indicated that he wants to repeal Common Core and give responsibility for setting educational standards to state governments. Trump favours charter schools and academies as well.
On the culture war issue of same sex relationships Trump has stated that the Supreme Court has already settled the issue. This is due to Lavender Bund Log Cabin Republicans support for Trump and he is also considering how not to alienate the former while not offending his enthusiastic support among Evangelical Christians on the religious right of the Republican Party. In this regard, Trump is socially liberal especially in comparison to past Republican presidential candidates and other conservatives. On the issue of the Supreme Court Trump will get to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice as Republicans in Congress rejected Obama’s proposal of justice Merrick Garland. Trump could appoint up to four supreme justices depending on retirement and death given that there are three ageing supreme justices in Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer. It could be five if you consider that supreme justice Thomas is approaching his seventh decade. Trump will shape the Supreme Courts for decades to come. The challenge for Trump in relation to the Supreme Court is to appoint pro-life justices who are also in favour of same sex relationships. He needs pro-life justices to satisfy pro-life peoples and the majority of his party while not disenfranchising the gay Republicans who form a part of his voter base. Huckabee strongly supported Trump despite being staunchly opposed to same sex relationships. Finding justices who hold both of the aforementioned political positions are key to Trump’s handling of the independent judiciary. It is important for Trump’s image as the law and order candidate that he succeeds in his judicial handling.
As the law and order president Trump will have to significantly reduce the murder rates from the 14,671+ murders this year and the 15,696 murders last year on the streets of America to keep his promise of increased security for the urban populations which include working class Caucasians and working class African Americans. Trump increased the Republican vote among both groups. Almost two thirds of the former voted Trump and the latter group is particularly crucial to Trump’s future electoral prospects as he increased the Republican vote by seven percent among African Americans. Working class Hispanics live in urban areas affected by high rates of violent crime and Trump increased the Republican vote among Hispanics by eight percent as almost a third of Hispanics cast their ballots for the law and order candidate. On Homeland Security, it will be interesting to see how Joe Arpaio and David Clarke deal with the threat of domestic terrorism. Joe Arpaio has expressed major concern with tough rhetoric on violent criminals infiltrating the southern border. David Clarke has had similarly strong sentiments in condemnation of attacks on American police departments and has been one of the most aggressive defenders of American police departments especially when they are heavily criticised in the mainstream media. Clarke outlined a five-step riot protocol which was declare state of emergency, impose curfew, mobilising National Guard (military reserves), authorise non-lethal force and the final step being the use of tear gas. It is likely that Rudy Guilliani will oversee nationwide stop and search as well as increased criminal profiling, including on the basis of ethnicity and race, by police departments across America. This is controversial as stop and search power enforcement has a strong positive correlation with declining crime rates and declining violent crime rates but thousands of innocent Americans are subjected to arbitrary searches.
In terms of constitutional reform Trump has signalled his intentions to introduce and pass an amendment to impose term limits on congressional representatives and senators as an anti-corruption measure to disincentivise public representatives from becoming career politicians. He referred to this policy as “Draining the swamp”. In this analogy, Washington DC is the swamp full of career politicians and term limits will drain the swamp of toxic career politicians.
Both Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders have said Trump is not an ideologue. This is positive and it is true that Trump showed strategic pragmatism during his campaign and many people hope he is similarly pragmatic in office. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren said they would work with Trump and that they would hold him accountable for the promises he made to the working-class people of America. They must do this primarily for the people of the country and secondarily for the future of the Democratic Party if they wish for it to continue. They ought to as the party served as the working-class people’s vehicle for change. However, in darker times it served as something else entirely. It currently serves as the political arm of Wall Street corporations. This must change.
Trump needs to be pragmatic, effective and energetic in his new roles as chief of state and head of government in America. Despite the deep divisions, Business Insider suggested that the US had eleven cultural nations in its federation, the violence and instability Trump needs to provide stability and security for all Americans to remedy said problems if Republican style civic nationalism is to succeed in America for the benefit of all of its people. For the sake of the people of America Trump needs to succeed despite the difficulties he will undoubtedly face.