Death, disease and destruction.
Of course, I’m joking – I’m not that biased – but it’s the question that’s been on everyone’s mind for the last few days: What’s a Trump presidency going to look like?
Whether you were hoping for a Clinton or a Trump presidency, I think that most people agree that Clinton would have been the ‘safe’ option. By safe, I mean the sort of competent, diplomatic and experienced president that America has seen for most of its history. However, the USA voted against that. They wanted change and just like with Brexit, the American people have rebelled against the political establishment.
But I digress. What makes answering this question difficult is the lack of concrete information we have. Trump has changed his policies multiple times throughout the campaign and we really have very little idea of which route Trump is going to take. For me, it is a case of sifting through Trump’s promises and deciding which ones will and won’t happen.
Formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare has reformed the healthcare industry in America in several key ways. The policy requires all Americans by law to have health insurance (with the government providing subsidies for those who can’t afford it), made it illegal to reject patients with pre-existing conditions, and banned companies from charging women more than men.
Throughout his campaign Trump campaigned vigorously that he would repeal the act if president. A few days ago though, after meeting outgoing president Barack Obama, Trump has said that he may ‘amend’ the act as opposed to repealing it. The president-elect even went as far as to say that he liked parts of the policy ‘very much’. Obama must have felt flattered…
This huge U-turn is a clear sign to me that Trump has different ideas to those he has us belief. In a Republican Congress, the new president will be under huge pressure from conservatives to reform Obamacare. Republicans dislike it due to how they see it as too much state intervention or a ‘Nanny State’. However, as well as its flaws the act has its good bits, and Trump seems to get that, even if it took the outgoing president to convince him.
A broad category I know but I want to focus on a few key areas. The first is free trade. While Trump has already gone back on some key promises, this won’t be one of them. The president-elect has long been a fierce critic of the various trade deals that are in the pipeline and I can’t see that changing. The proposed TTIP trade deal with the EU and the TPP deal with Asia are likely to be the first to be panned (another blow for the EU) and questions will be continue over the USA’s existing NAFTA deal. That will be harder to axe though.
Other likely policies will probably include tax cuts for all bands of earners (to stimulate growth) and cuts in corporate taxes (for the same reason) – typical Republican policies and likely to be implemented. Economists are divided though on whether the policy will actually work, a story for another post…
This is what differentiated Trump from just about every other presidential candidate ever. A ban on all Muslims entering the country, a wall with Mexico which they would pay for, the deportation of all illegal immigrants. It’s easy to think that with a Republican Congress and Senate, these things could actually happen. No.
Already, details of the proposed ban on Muslims have been removed from Trump’s website, the wall with Mexico is reportedly now a virtual wall and the cost of deporting all of the country’s illegal immigrants has been estimated at $3 trillion. The USA can’t afford to implement any of these policies and Trump simply doesn’t have the power.
To Trump’s credit, I admit that I’ve been impressed by the less brash side that he’s shown in the last few days. In his victory speech, he found something nice to say about Clinton. Even Barack Obama, the person he’d called the ‘founder of ISIS’, was described as a ‘very good man’ and someone Trump has ‘lots of respect’ for.
Of course, I’m not saying that the more aggressive side of Donald Trump has simply disappeared but maybe he’ll be more competent than people think. He might even forget about the wall… who knows?