The Trump Presidency remains embattled, and a lot of it has to do with his tweeting and ad hoc management style. But most of it has to do with assaults from the media and Democrats in D.C.
None of that, however, should be preventing the president from enacting his agenda. That falls squarely on Congress, and specifically his own party – the Republicans.
Despite an inept Congress and assaults from every corner, Trump has followed through on several campaign promises:
1) Rolling back Obama-era regulations, specifically EPA over-reach.
2) Nominated a true conservative to the Supreme Court in Neil Gorsuch – whose votes have already been recognized as a victory by Conservatives.
3) Began strictly enforcing our border laws.
4) Re-affirmed our position of strength in Asia and specifically with North Korea.
5) Removed us from the Paris Climate Accord. Even if you support policies to help prevent Climate Change, the Paris Accord was nothing more than a money grab from the taxpayers, with unenforceable guidelines. Additionally, China – the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – not having to comply until 2030. The Accord was a joke, and not in U.S. interests. We have already lowered our emissions more than any other industrial power over the last 20 years.
This change of direction is welcome and needed for American interests abroad, and for our expectations here at home. But these successes are limited, and the broader Trump agenda remains in limbo. There are three policy areas where Trump must succeed if he is to keep his promises and ensure he keeps his base in 2020.
3 Critical “Must-Haves” on the Trump Agenda:
- Build the Wall. Nothing represents the Trump candidacy more than his commitment to build a wall on our southern border. Make no mistake, net migration is down, and many illegal immigrants are returning home. Just the commitment to enforce the law has resulted in a massive downturn in illegal immigration, so much so that the head of the Border Patrol union was quoted as saying it was nothing short of “miraculous.” However, the wall was a key component of the Trump agenda, and some would argue the most important. Mexico may not pay for it, but not building it would be a major disappointment for Trump supporters. While a wall covering the entire border was always going to be impractical, increased barriers, more wall construction, and fencing – combined with increased border patrol staff and a commitment to enforcing the rule of law, and Trump supporters will be very satisfied.
- Repeal Obamacare. After the media scare tactics, the public remembers that before Obamacare no one in America died in the streets. Most polling in 2007 suggested that over 90% of the public had some form of coverage: employer based insurance, privately held coverage, or a government plan (Medicare and Medicaid). The Republicans did not campaign on “…repeal and replace,” that is a recent phenomenon. Republicans told the voters and campaigned on the fact that they would “repeal” Obamacare. They own the House, the Senate, and the White House. It will be a failure of epic proportions if they cannot pass a repeal bill, and it will reverberate at the polls in 2018 and beyond. A vote will be held this week, and all eyes are on the Senate. Repealing Obamacare is a fundamental tenet of Republican orthodoxy – while Trump cannot force a vote and he needs Congress to take action, failure will be a bitter pill for base supporters to swallow.
- Reagan-styled Tax Reform. Part of the campaign platform, Reagan-styled tax reform would be an economic game changer. Trump’s “fair trade” commitments were perhaps a more recognizable and important part of his campaign promises and platform, but true tax reform has the chance to truly “Make America Great Again!” The public doesn’t realize we have not had actual “tax reform” since 1986, when the Reagan “Tax Reform Act of 1986” was passed through Congress. When rates have gone up or down, or like with the Bush cuts of 2001 and 2003, they have been passed through reconciliation, and therefore they have not been permanent. With all levers of Congress controlled by the Republicans, Trump has a chance to pass meaningful tax reform that can flatten rates, shrink the code, and make the tax system more equitable and fair to middle class voters. GDP growth that would come from flattened tax rates will significantly increase jobs and wages.
Fair Trade, budgets, military and defense spending… all this and much more was and is part of the Trump Agenda. Sadly, our politics have become more like farce than the serious affairs of a great power. Trump’s style and the media’s assault have continued the paralysis in D.C., and Congress has been inept in their first 6 months of the Trump Administration.
BUT… if Trump and Congress can pass these three items on the agenda, it would go a long way in lowering the temperature in D.C., and satisfying the primary expectations of Trump’s base of support. These three items are “must-haves” for the public and the Administration. The country is not tired of “winning” … it is looking forward to it.