Wednesday, November 9, 2016
President D J Trump: what next?
Martin Luther King once said that the riot was the language of the unheard; on November 8th in the US Presidential elections it was the vote which became the language of the unheard. From the Clinton perspective not enough of their unheard (the Latin Americans and the African Americans) spoke up in the key battlegrounds states. From the Trump perspective enough of the disfranchised unheard white working class vote spoke up in states like Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio came to be heard. To some extent this was largely an emotional vote for Trump with the emotions of the unemployed who bought into the hyperbole that Trump threw out enough to drown the concerns about his temperament, character and indeed the lack of policy.
Irrespective of the opinion of what went wrong from the Clinton camp, this is now the moment where the impossible has become the possible. So what next.
The saner view will be that both Democrats and Republicans have to go with the honeymoon of the Trump Presidency; long enough for everyone to feel he is being given a chance. Putting aside his asinine views on immigration, the wall, Muslims and Nato, the bottomline is that his main promise was to restore jobs to Americans and that is the promise he will be held up to. Someone once said that if your promise too much then you have to deliver to the expectation more earnestly than even the expectation. it will be interesting to see if the Trump economic agenda will be able to achieve this because in itself it has dichotomies that pose not challenges but obstacles. While the higher tax bracket people will have the immediate benefit the question remains open how soon will that trickle down to more business investment and more jobs.
Lacking previous experience in public office the main challenge will be to give up a maverick style of administration and try and build a good team will be one of the most telling challenges for Trump. His personality suggests that the maverick style, which brings to mind questions about his temperament, may well be on exhibition than anything else. On a broader platform his acceptance speech talked of healing, but now he has to convince people that he will not only speak for the white working class but will truly speak to all of America. This may mean a roll back of the rhetoric Trump espoused during the campaign and may well be the most pressing change in the man.
The hope for many of his supporters who would have grudgingly supported him will be that his domestic agenda will not only be tempered to fit the mood of healing but also have the tools to deliver on it. On the international front is where the biggest concern will emerge. If sense prevails he may well choose a worthy secretary of state and meddle less with foreign policy than he has so far commented upon.
For the cynics, of which I may well be one, the biggest concern will be his character. Does a man who has been sexist and racist suddenly change on becoming the President? As President Obama said the office itself brings out the man you truly are; its not a reality show role, this is the real stuff and what troubles me most is that not once, even in passing reference, has Mr Trump apologised for his comments about Muslims. His apology about his Access Hollywood remarks about women was only an apology that he regretted it he said those words but then washed it off as locker room talk thereby skirting away from categorically apologising to women. For me the big test will be with the man will mature from the locker room to the White House. This is the litmus test of the man, does he truly respect another human being.