Here are all the positions president-elect Trump has qualified (so far):
Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a rallying cry for Trump supporters throughout his campaign.
“On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare,” Trump’s website currently reads. And while the president-elect insisted during the CNN-Telemundo Republican debate that he wants to “keep preexisting conditions,” he nonetheless led calls to “repeal and replace Obamacare” throughout the remainder of the campaign.
But after his meeting with President Obama Thursday, Trump said he would consider alternatives to an all-out appeal. “I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,” Trump told the Wall St. Journal.
“Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” he added.
Build a big, beautiful wall—and make Mexico pay
Trump’s core promise, and a familiar refrain by the president-elect. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said repeatedly. “Mark my words.”
Thursday, Newt Gingrich—who’s reportedly being considered for Trump’s Secretary of State—admitted the president-elect’s promise to get Mexico to pay for it may have been a “campaign device.”
“He may not spend much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it,” Gingrich said. “But it was a great campaign device.”
End the “war on coal”
One of the major Trump’s sweep through the rust belt during the campaign “end the war on coal.” And likewise, in its 2016 GOP platform, the Republican party vowed to restore coal jobs, dismissing clean energy as part of President Obama’s “war on coal”:
“The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Those who mine it and their families should be protected from the Democratic Party’s radical anti-coal agenda.”
But now it looks like Republican party leaders recognize that bringing coal jobs back is not so simple. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday told the Lexington Herald-Leader it’s “hard to tell” if the government will be able to expand the coal industry in a meaningful way.
“We are going to be presenting to the new president a variety of options that could end this assault,” McConnell said. “Whether that immediately brings business back is hard to tell because it’s a private sector activity.”
“A government spending program is not likely to solve the fundamental problem of growth,” McConnell added. “…I support the effort to help these coal counties wherever we can, but that isn’t going to replace whatever was there when we had a vibrant coal industry.”
Deport illegal immigrants through mass deportations
Illegal immigration was another cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. In an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley last year, Trump talked mass deportation:
Trump: If they’ve done well, they’re going out and they’re coming back in legally. Because you said it–
Pelley: You’re rounding them all up?
Trump: We’re rounding ’em up in a very humane way, in a very nice way. And they’re going to be happy because they want to be legalized. And, by the way, I know it doesn’t sound nice. But not everything is nice.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Wednesday said Trump is no longer calling for “mass deportation,” and is instead calling for the deportation of criminals.
“He’s not calling for mass deportation,” Priebus said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “He said, ‘No, only people who have committed crimes.’ And then only until all of that is taken care of will we look at what we are going to do next.”
So: now we get a repeat of the “hope and change” bullshit? In case anybody doesn’t (want to) remember, the Obama campaign — and the early part of his presidency — was utterly saturated with all sorts of cloyingly overdone shit about “hope” and “change”.
So, now we get to watch Trump attempt to weasel his way out of pretty much everything he “promised” during the campaign. It’s going to begin with the above kind of mealy-mouthed “softening” on specific positions. This is how “politics” works in the U.S.A.
I can now confidently predict:
2 years from now: DEMOCRATS gain control of at least one house of Congress — at which point the Trump presidency settles comfortably into the sort of “divided government”/partisan gridlock about which everybody complains, but which really does seem to be the only time that government is even halfway functional.
If either major party (and — as a result — any particular “faction” of whatever the current “culture war” happens to be — actually manage to govern without being obstructed — or at least somewhat hobbled — the more “informed” segments of the citizenry go totally ape-shit about the “Destruction of the American Way of Life”, or some other such slogan.
This appears to be a pattern: Most presidents (since Clinton) have started out with at least the appearance of a “mandate”. They spend the first two years on a mixture of trying to have their new administration actually function smoothly, and trying to actually follow through on the LEAST offensive parts of their “campaign promises”– without appearing to have “destroyed the American way of life”, in the process.
The “mid-term” election right after a Presidential election seems to at least arouse some level of (tepid) interest, which leads to the other “mainstream” party gaining some configuration of Congressional seats which allows them to be obstructionist enough to (mostly) be able to either stop the other party from actually doing the stuff on which they campaigned, or cause them to do it in as sluggish and inefficient a manner as possible.