Nearly a year ago in this space, I wrote that Donald Trump was a “nightmare” for the Republican Party. I thought he might win the Republican primary in a crowded field, but I was convinced there was zero chance he could win the presidency in the general election.
Up until Election Day, I still thought I was right. I expected Trump to lose huge and I thought he would drag down some Republican candidates down the ballot. I wasn’t the only one with that expectation.
Obviously, I was wrong. Trump won. And Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate.
So now I have to eat crow. And it tastes…terrible.
As for Trump, it’s time for him to get to work on “making American great again.”
Trump must choose wisely to select the staff and cabinet to lead his administration. It was great to see him pick Wisconsin native Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff. But Trump’s decision to name former Breitbart News Network head Stephen Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor raises concerns.
How will Trump govern?
During the campaign he promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. That could be good for businesses and workers now facing rising health care costs. But Trump says he wants to keep some provisions of Obamacare in place: the requirement for insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and the ability of parents to keep their kids on their insurance until age 26. And Trump admits that “adds cost.” Replacing Obamacare won’t be as easy as it sounds.
Trump also is promising a massive investment in infrastructure – $1 trillion over 10 years. His plan relies on private funding from investors who would get tax credits. Is this really going to work? Can Trump get Congress to support this?
The president-elect also is promising a significant tax cut, and plans to ease regulations on businesses. Trump says his policies will double the rate of growth of the U.S. economy. Hope so.
Trump also has talked tough on foreign trade. No doubt this is a major reason he was so successful in the Rust Belt, including Wisconsin. But some are worried Trump’s policies will lead to a trade war and a global recession. We need exports to grow our economy and Trump says he just wants trade deals that are fair and more favorable to America. He needs to be careful when working on this.
Finally, protests have sprung up around the country in response to Trump’s election. Not only because some are upset that their preferred candidate lost, but also because Trump’s campaign rhetoric has some people worried about the impact his presidency will have on minority communities. Trump insists he will bring the country together.
But in some cases his election has inspired people to harass minorities. When asked about that on “60 Minutes,” Trump said, “I am so saddened to hear that…If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
The campaign is over. Now it’s time for Trump to lead.