There haven’t been very many times that I praised anything about Donald Trump on this blog. Most of those moments were in relations to Hillary Clinton, the only Democrat so distasteful that she could lose to him. I consider myself the hipster version of #NeverTrumpers; I opposed his liberalism before it became cool.
Things have changed. He’s going to be the President of the United States in a little over a month. There’s no longer anything for me to oppose about him as a person or a candidate. It’s not that those issues disappeared. It’s that opposing them no longer offers any benefit. It’s time to shift gears and focus on the only things that are politically important for the next 2-4 years (depending on how the GOP performs in the 2018 election): the issues.
I’ll be first to admit that some of Trump’s choices for cabinet have been positive. It’s not like I expected to hate all of them, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. James Mattis and Jeff Sessions are both solid choices. Mick Mulvaney could turn out to be an excellent choice and, though I know very little about him, David Friedman seems to have the right perspectives on Israel.
They say when you’re going to say something mean about someone, you should start with the positives. So far, those are all of them.
Before I get to the negatives, it’s important to understand my stance. With Trump and the GOP in charge in Washington DC and in most states, this is a grand opportunity. I go in with low expectations about how they will handle their power because they’ve given very few indications they will use it appropriately. As a proud member of the new Federalist Party, my greatest hope in American government is that Washington DC will dramatically reduce its own powers in all three forms: budget, bureaucracy, and power. That should be the primary long-term goal of the GOP, but so far it seems to be very low on the totem pole. In fact, it seems like most of the talk out of Republicans lately have surrounded measures that will increase budgets while only offering token reductions in bureaucracy and power.
This is why it’s all about the issues for me going forward. If I allow myself to look at the individuals, my low expectations will go even lower. The people in charge, from Trump to Mitch McConnell to Rex Tillerson to Paul Ryan, all seem to be against the concept of reducing government power. They talk about smaller government, but the changes they’re proposing are infinitesimal compared to the actions that are truly necessary.
Briefly, here are the issues that concern me. Each could have their own set of blog posts written about them, but I’ll keep it limited to bullet points. If you don’t recognize that these are problems, it would be hard to convince you even with longer explanations.
- Carrier’s crony capitalism deal
- Taking down defense industry stock prices with Tweets that hurt American investors
- Touting a $50B investment from a “Japanese firm” that gets the vast majority of its funds from Saudi Arabia
- Reince Priebus
- Outrageously expensive infrastructure plans (for which Trump is leaning towards the Schumer plan rather than the McConnell plan)
- Ivanka’s daycare initiative
- Obamacare uncertainty (this isn’t hard: assess, prepare to replace, repeal, then replace)
There are other potential concerns from the relationship with Vladimir Putin to his softening on illegal immigration and deportations, but those and most other concerns can’t be fully understood until he’s in office. Items in the list above are all already concerning.
When the government does the right things, I’ll cheer regardless of who’s doing it or their party allegiance. When they do the wrong things as most of them are wont to do, I’ll oppose loudly. This is no longer a question of personalities or history. With the election over, it’s all about the issues, so they will become my primary political focus. I encourage everyone else to take a similar approach.