What will the Republicans do now?
Last week I discussed where we should go forward from the election socially, and achieving some sort of calm and an even plain for discussion should be the foremost priority. However, in addition to all this, it is certain that many people are waiting to see where the Republican party will go from here – how will they use their newfound and somewhat unexpected power?
What makes the issue confusing is that the Republicans have made many promises in the last four years on how they would govern given the chance, and it is now their chance to implement these promises. But more concerning for people are all of the promises that Trump has made throughout his candidacy, many of which have scared people.
Two of the main concerns for people are the Affordable Care Act and how Donald Trump will deal with immigrants and with his now-famous wall.
On the Affordable Care Act, recently in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal, it was reported that, “President-elect Donald Trump said he would consider leaving in place certain parts of the Affordable Care Act, an indication of possible compromise” and a realization that he may be willing to negotiate, revise or alter his campaign policies.
Furthermore, on the subject of his immigration plans, some of his promises remain in place while other parts have seen some softening and changes. Fox News reported that Trump is repeating his deportation pledge for illegal immigrants with criminal records and will make a determination on other illegal immigrants after securing the border with the wall. He has backed off from a solid wall securing the entire border, admitting that fencing may be used while holding to the idea of a physical barrier.
Additionally, Trump has responded to the acts of hatred, like the flyers on our campus, that have been done in his name with a firm disapproval and clear imperative that the behavior be stopped – which while it may not make the problem any better hopefully reaffirms at least the decency and professionalism of Trump as president.
However, in all of the above concerns, we see some variations in Trump’s original platform. While some of this may be a factor of the realities of coming into tradition, we are likely going to see lots of flipping, bargaining, and new policies emerging as Trump continues his transition and begins his presidency.
In his opinion article from The New York Times, Nell Painter stated these changes of policy, driven out of a need for compromise and unity of a diverse land, might eventually lead to the downfall of Trump’s presidency. Painter stated that he “will not be surprised if the need to govern all of us alienates his base. And I will not be surprised if being president of a huge, multiracial, multiethnic democracy turns many of his supporters against him as a traitor to their values.”
While considering whether Trump will retain power in four years is a long way away, what is certain is that the likelihood of his re-election will be largely determined in how he and his Republican colleagues govern moving forward from this election where they gained so much.
It is now the Republican’s chance to govern in earnest. They will have to make good on at least some of the promises that they have been making in the past years, since now they have the means and no excuse not to. If they fail, they will be vulnerable both to a Democratic opponent and also to another Tea Party situation.
Hopefully Trump’s reported skill as a negotiator and deal-maker will allow him to find policies that will work for everyone in our diverse nation. Even if the specific promises of his campaign are not realized in full, hopefully the policies enacted will be “on message” and cater to the Republican base – ideally while reaching out to more people meeting a broader base’s needs while they are at it. Whether Trump will be able to be a successful president for all is yet to be seen, but for now all that can be done (short of protesting) is sit back and wait to see whether the Republican strategy will be to govern everyone via true compromise, or if they choose to take their power to deliver on the promises of the previous years regardless of bipartisanship.