Will Trump Govern Like a Traditional Republican?

A look at his first 100 day plan.

For years Trump was essentially a Manhattan liberal, and throughout the primaries, he sounded like one numerous times.  So the question is, who will President Trump be?

We know all the hallmarks of the Trump campaign: the wall, increase deportation, repeal Obamacare, renegotiate or scrap NAFTA and the TPP, law and order etc. But we don’t know much about how Trump plans to govern beyond these campaign pillars—or how he plans to enact them, or if he planned at all really.  In the past, he’s been pro-choice, pro gun control, he once stated that the 1864 Civil Rights Act should be amended to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in his victory speech he vowed to put “millions to work” rebuilding the infrastructure of this country.

None of these ideas are in line with the plans the republican party hoped to enact in 2017 and moving forward.

Now, of course, as the campaign rolled along Trump’s stances were amended to comply with the GOPs overarching ideals.  He became a more traditional republican after the primaries.  He stated he was against all forms of gun control, that he was firmly pro-life, and that he would “strongly consider” appointing supreme court justices who would work to overturn Obergefell v Hodges thereby making gay marriage illegal again.  It all comes down to whether or not he was saying these things in order to appeal to the traditional republican base, or if he’s genuinely evolved (or more accurately devolved) on these issues and plans to govern according to them.

If we look at the plan he released in October for his first 100 days in office, his first set of goals are aimed at “draining the swamp” as it were:

FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees
to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).

THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

100 day plans are always overly ambitious, and this one is no different.  We’ll see if he’s able to get any of this first section through.  Most of this is placating the anti-establishment crowd.  And News came yesterday that many D.C. lobbyists are working in Trump’s transition team, and many more may soon enter the fray.  So the whole “draining the swamp” thing seems highly unlikely.

The following set is where we get to the real nitty gritty:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

THIRD, I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.

FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

Scrapping or renegotiating  NAFTA and the TPP is not in line with the views of current GOP leaders.  47 republican senators voted to fast-track the TPP, accompanied by only 13 democrats.  A renegotiation would be a far easier path than a full withdrawal.   But again, Trump is not in line with his party here; Bernie Sanders would’ve likely has the same two goals for his first 100 days in office.

The rest of the stuff here is not foreign to the republican party, they have generally opposed many of the environmental restrictions and regulations put in place over the last eight years.  So lifting some of these restrictions may happen.  And for many environmentalists, and for people who care about this planet and its future, this is the most terrifying aspect of this impending administration.  It’s “drill baby, drill” part deux.  We’ll see how much he focuses on this, but throughout the primaries Trump seemed primed to gut this country outright in order to bring back jobs that innovation has rendered obsolete.

The last bulleted section is primarily focused on immigration:

FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama

SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

THIRD, cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

FOURTH, begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.”

Will he cancel every executive order issued by President Obama?  Surely not; but a few will certainly go, and the GOP will be happy about it.  The rest of this stuff will be incredibly complicated to pull off. It can happen, and much it will garner broad GOP support, but changing our immigration system is no easy task: many far more seasoned politicians on both sides of the aisle have tried to reform the system and failed.

Also, can we all agree that the term “extreme vetting” is ridiculous? It’s so… Mountain Dew-ish.  Will Trump be, say, surfing on a great white shark whilst vetting?  If not, some rebranding is in order.

The rest of the plan touches on broader measures such as instituting his tax plan (which was altered to be in more in line the Paul Ryan’s,) repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare,) and reducing crime levels.  Repealing Obamacare entirely will not be easy, even though pretty much every GOP lawmaker hates it.  The bill has a myriad of flaws, but 20 million more people are insured under the legislation. That’s a lot of people, a lot of potential voters.  And congressmen and senators up for reelection in the midterm will be weary of simply ripping away the health insurance of many of the citizens in their district.  Altering some of the components within the bill would be a safer first step, but the law is so complicated that to make any significant changes, you’d have to hire a cadre of unfathomably wonkish wunderkinds.  These are not the type of people Trump has mentioned thus far, but, he’s going to need some policy wonks on his side if he wants to get anything done.

So judging by his campaign and his first 100-day plan, Trump will likely operate as a hybrid of sorts, never really crossing the aisle, but never fully planting his feet either. Perhaps as time progresses he will morph into a more traditional republican, but right now he exists in a space above (or perhaps below) his party.  He’s floating in an unconnected netherworld of cable news pundits, talking points, and campaign rallies.  We won’t know who he is or how he intends to function in this office for some time.

The reality is, I don’t think he thought he was going to win.  And now that he has, all (or at least a few) of his wild, substance-less claims must become a reality.

This is where the hard work comes in; this is when it gets difficult and stifling (even with a majority in the House and Senate.)

For now, we wait.

We hope against hope that it won’t be as bad as we think.

And the second it is, we stand up and fight.


by Jesse Mechanic

Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.

Twitter-logo-6-12 @jmechanic    Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 12.44.16 PM  @JesseIanMechanic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *