The election is over and on January 20th Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. And there is so much politics to be observed, analysed and argued over. It promises to be fascinating and this thread is for all your contributions on the politics of the Trump presidency. The usual rules apply, of course; disagree robustly but with respect for all.
I'll kick off with some of the stuff that has been whirring around for the past week. The first nagging question is whether Trump actually wants/wanted the job of President. He likes to win; he LOVES to win. But does/did he really want this job with all its constraints and protocols? And will he want a second term? If not, he has 3 years to make his mark.
For a man who campaigned as an outsider, a non-politician, he has a lot of intense and delicate politics to get through. His first task is to build a relationship with Congress, many of whom were not impressed with his campaign. The appointment of Reince Priebus (strange name) as Chief of Staff seems like a sensible choice. Priebus was Chair of the Republican National Committee and managed to stay out of the campaign battle with some dignity. He also has a good relationship with the Leader of the House, Paul Ryan, who does not seem to have much time for Trump. Most politicians will be professional about it and forget the campaign battle (they may not forgive) and just get on with the job. The Republicans in Congress are not a cohesive group; recall what happened to John Boehner. Is Priebus he tough enough for the job?
His other early appointment of Stephen Bannon seems strange. What influence will he have? Did those who voted for Trump vote for an alt-right agenda? Or will Bannon change his spots?
Other appointments are in the works now and the total cabinet should tell us something about the President elect's approach.
The other thing Trump will need is policies. The campaign was pretty much devoid of them. We have a few hints: Obamacare might be reformed instead of dumped (denying 20+million people their health care might not be politically smart); The Wall may turn out to be a fence, if it gets built at all; three million criminal illegal immigrants are to be deported (that seems like a typical exaggeration - DOJ estimate around 180,000 and any that are in the US for more than 5 years are entitled to due process, court hearing, appeal, etc. I expect that one to run into the sand); taxes will be lowered across the board (to be expected from a Republican president); there will be a huge splurge of investment in infrastructure (which America badly needs); and these last two will be done at the same time. Ah, that will have to be funded with debt, then. One estimate suggests that US Government debt would almost double in 10 years under this plan. Have the debt and deficit hawks of the Tea Party gone away?
Finally, what looks like a political misstep. Trump is an unusual president in being very wealthy and having a broad range of business interests around the world. The norm (in US and Europe) is for an office holder to put their business into a blind trust and to step away while they are in office. Apparently, Trumps children will run the businesses for the duration. That creates an unnecessary vulnerability and seems to leave hostages to fortune. Imagine the Russian (or other) government announcing a snap audit of a Trump company, followed by a large fine or restriction on activity for failing the audit. They operate like that and would love to tweak the nose of a US president. Also, any government money (contract, payment etc. from any government around the world) can easily be portrayed as corrupt. It will be very difficult to defend against that.
Whew, got that off my chest. Hope it gives some food for thought and discussion.