We’ve now had about ten days to process the earthshaking presidential election, time enough for some afterthoughts and observations on Trump’s amazing victory and the reaction so far:
- Trump won primarily because of the failure of the Obama policy priorities and governing performance and the glaring weaknesses of Hillary Clinton as a candidate. As Karl Rove has noted, when voters were asked if they wanted the next president to continue Obama’s policies, 28% said “yes” and they voted 91% for Clinton, while the 48% who said they wanted more conservative policies voted 83% for Trump. Obama/Clinton have left the Democratic Party in a shambles bordering on collapse. It is clearly now the Sanders/Warren party, almost entirely based on group identity politics, and if its leadership reacts to this defeat by moving even further to the left, it will disappear as a nationally competitive party.
- The mainstream media coverage of this election was a disgrace to whatever is left of professional journalism in this country. The leadership of what passes as the mainstream outlets had better take a long look into their collective souls, because their credibility is at rock bottom.
- The street and campus protests of Trump’s election around the country are simply additional manifestation of the fraud and bankruptcy of the left and its mantra of “tolerance”. The children of the 1960s should be ashamed of this ignorant, pampered generation, many of whom other than the pure thugs seem to have no idea why they are in the streets. The most disappointing aspect of this development is the complicity in and often the leadership of this nonsense (“safe spaces”, cancelled classes and exams, etc.) by education leaders, in both K-12 and higher education, who in doing so are in dereliction of their duty as educators.
- There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is already culpable for a number of personal transgressions and I predict that the Clinton Foundation will probably not survive the coming investigation of its “pay to play” practices. She would in all likelihood have already been indicted under normal circumstances. And it would not surprise me if President Obama pardoned her before he leaves office. But if I were Donald Trump, I would not instruct my Attorney General to prosecute, but rather I would wait for the upcoming congressional investigations to run their course and produce a possible criminal referral and/or the appointment of a special prosecutor. The rule of law absolutely must be maintained, but Trump’s time and his administration’s preoccupation for the next several months are better directed to other priorities. The Clintons are history. Good riddance.
- For the fifth time in U. S. history, the popular vote leader for President will not be elected, and once again, the Electoral College has reflected the genius of the Founders. Those who would destroy it would subscribe to a notion of popular majoritarianism that was no part of the republican constitutional design. A letter to the Wall Street Journal this week lamented that the presidency is the only elected office for which this can happen. Well, yes, and this is as it should be. The President alone must be representative of a broad and diverse electorate, devoid of the tyranny of the “factions” feared by James Madison in the Federalist Papers. The Electoral College tends to force national candidates toward the center, requiring broad-based coalitions to govern. We disturb this venerable institution at our peril.
- The opportunities for the Trump administration are many and the priorities must be carefully selected, because the honeymoon is short and the window is always narrow in a two year election cycle. Beyond the appointment of a successor to Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court, which should be the top priority, my other priorities would be those that would have the most impact on economic growth, which is the grounding of Trump’s electoral constituency. These would include broad deregulation, beginning with the reversal of substantially all executive orders that Obama used to circumvent legislative prerogative in law-making; repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with a system grounded in the market for health care; the overhaul of Dodd-Frank, which has stifled the allocation of bank credit and job creation; and the repeal of a number of stifling EPA regulations. Finally, tax rate reductions are important, particularly corporate rates that would incentivize repatriation of trillions of dollars parked overseas for domestic reinvestment, resulting in enormous job creation.
- The wild card with Trump will be foreign affairs, particularly how he might respond to a crisis or provocation early in his term, which is almost certain to occur somewhere in the world he has inherited from the failed Obama foreign policies. He just needs to surround himself with the right people and listen. I like Gen. Michael Flynn as national security advisor. Rudy Giuliani would be OK as Secretary of State, but John Bolton would be better, and he actually already has a plan to restructure the outmoded international institutions, beginning with the UN, which are in need of major reform.
Bottom line: Just keep praying.