President Trump: How will he govern?
With the election of Donald Trump as our 45th president, “big changes are on the way for America—and soon,” said Ed Kilgore in NYMag.com. On Jan. 20, the presidency, the House, and the Senate will all be in GOP hands, enabling a policy revolution more dramatic than any “we’ve seen since Ronald Reagan’s first year in office.” Expect a huge tax cut for the wealthy, “the decimation of the low-income safety net,” a big increase in defense spending, and a major deregulation of U.S. business. With total power to shape the agenda, said Jordan Weissmann in Slate.com, Republicans will seek a complete “erasure of the Obama era.” The Affordable Care Act, first and foremost, is now in “deep danger,” and with it the health-care coverage of some 20 million newly insured Americans, as well as every American with a preexisting condition. Trump has vowed to kill the Dodd-Frank banking reforms and Obama’s Clean Power Plan, designed to restrict carbon emissions and fight climate change. Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have had their differences over the course of this wild campaign season, but they “share a desire to blot out the past eight years.” They are about to begin “a truly radical experiment in conservative government.”
Trump will also “alter the basics of U.S. foreign policy,” said David Ignatius in WashingtonPost.com. He has threatened to rip up the nuclear deal with Iran, and seems certain to try to “improve relations with a combative, assertive Russia” and perhaps team up with Russia to attack ISIS in Syria. Putin has designs on eastern Europe as well as the Middle East, said Michael Crowley in Politico.com, and he will have been emboldened by Trump’s suggestion that he might leave NATO states to defend themselves. Much will depend on whom Trump chooses to advise him on foreign policy, and whether they can help “mitigate his most dangerous impulses.”
His impulses on trade are no less dangerous, said Anne Applebaum in WashingtonPost.com. The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is now almost certainly dead in the water, and we have to assume that the North American Free Trade Agreement will unravel as well, and with it the shared political and economic interests that bonded us to Canada and Mexico. For better or worse, that’s clearly what voters wanted for the nation’s next chapter, said Peter Baker in NYTimes.com. They’ve chosen a president who’s vowed to do what’s “good for America,” militarily and economically, “even if the rest of the world might not like it.”
Campaign rhetoric is one thing, said Richard Painter, also in NYTimes.com, but as a self-interested businessman, Trump will soon realize that “most of the things he promised to do in order to get elected make no sense.” He probably won’t start a trade war, because it would cost the U.S. jobs, and he probably won’t build an expensive wall at the Mexican border. He’ll also find out that his outlandish promise to deport illegal immigrants en masse would not only create great social unrest but also devastate the U.S. economy. America will be fine if President Trump runs the country “in the same practical, if far from perfect, manner that he has run his businesses.” We have never elected a president less prepared, or temperamentally suited to the office, than Trump, said Ross Douthat in NYTimes.com. Let’s hope that the same “crude genius” that put him in the White House against all the odds “can actually be turned, somehow, to the common good.”
Only in America
■ Starbucks’ new holidaythemed “unity” cups, which feature an illustration of 100 faces drawn with a single continuous line, are being condemned as “political brainwashing.” The coffee giant says the cup was designed “to remind us of our shared values and the need to be good to each other.” But on social media, critics condemned the message as liberal propaganda and called for a boycott.
■ Health inspectors in Kansas City destroyed hundreds of pounds of “perfectly good barbecue” moments before it was going to be served to the city’s homeless. The inspectors said they couldn’t confirm that the brisket, ribs, and sides came from a “permitted establishment,” so they poured bleach on it. “If you can think of the most magnificent barbecue spread, that’s what we threw away,” said an organizer.
Good week for:
Professional courtesy, after police issued NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. a warning for speeding on his way to watch a race at the Texas Motor Speedway. When asked how fast he was going, Earnhardt replied, “Not fast enough.”
The good olde days, after a Boston University study found that medieval peasants in 13th-century Europe typically took 150 days off from work per year to celebrate holidays and other festivals. In 2015, the average American had just 16.2 vacation days.
Canada, after Donald Trump’s victory sparked so much traffic to the country’s immigration website that it crashed for hours. Online, searches for “Canada” and “move to Canada” soared into the millions.
Bad week for:
Hollywood, which issued a flood of despairing tweets over Donald Trump’s victory. “About to throw up,” actor Billy Eichner posted. “Xanax,” tweeted Mia Farrow. Ellen producer Andy Lassner posted: “I’m on hold with @AirCanada.”
Acting like a jerk, after French researchers revealed that poor driving habits run in families, with 75 percent of motorists who admitted to experiencing road rage saying that they had witnessed their parents hurling insults from behind the wheel.
Divine intervention, after a Buffalo woman filed a federal lawsuit to stop last week’s presidential election because both candidates’ characters fell “far below” a presidential standard. Louise Nolley said she got “an OK from God” to try to save the country.
Boring but important
Voter turnout falls
Although the 2016 election was one of the most divisive presidential races in history, overall turnout decreased compared with past White House races, according to Associated Press polling data. About 118 million votes had been counted the day after the election—fewer than in 2012, 2008, and 2004, even as the U.S. population has grown 47 million since 2000. The lower turnout appears to have particularly harmed runner-up Hillary Clinton— who had a 200,000-vote lead over Donald Trump in the overall popular vote, with 92 percent of ballots counted, but who received significantly fewer votes than President Obama did in 2012 in several key states. One was Michigan, where Clinton got 13 percent fewer votes than Obama did four years ago.