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Will he, won’t he?

November 22nd, 2016 | by Alexandra Sadler
Will he, won’t he?
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Alexandra Sadler finds it exceedingly unlikely the president-elect will live up to his campaign promises

Donald Trump made many a-promise during his presidential campaign. These promises varied wildly, from the seemingly mundane such as cutting taxes, to the ridiculous and discriminatory, such as a ban on Muslims entering the US. And of course, who could forget the Wall?

Generally, when presidential candidates who then go on to become the President make campaign promises, they are held to account and people expect them to fulfil said promises.

Think of it as a deal struck between the people and the President; the people elect the President who then fulfils his side of the bargain by ensuring campaign claims are enacted or achieved.

However, I can hardly see Congress approving a plan to build a wall –  the United States would be paying for it because Mexico have made it quite clear that they will not. It seems, therefore, that many of Trump’s campaign promises were made in order to create sensationalism and gain media coverage and supporters. This only becomes more of an issue when we look at Trump’s other policies. Or, rather, a lack thereof.

“Trump’s policy strategy appears to be having an idea of where to start, but not planning beyond that”

Trump’s claim that he will ‘bring manufacturing back’ seems positive at first, until you realise that his plan on how exactly to achieve this is rather vague. He has stated that he would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and renegotiate NAFTA partnerships to get a better deal for workers. That seems like a solid basis on which to start building up manufacturing, and yet that is all it is – a base.

Trump’s policy strategy appears to be having an idea of where to start, but not planning beyond that. This technique may work occasionally when trying to wing an exam, or write an essay the night before, but not when you’re about to become President of one of the largest economic powers on the planet. Furthermore, it does not seem that his policy advisors – if Trump actually listens to them – have thought through the plan to impose tariffs on goods made in China and Mexico. Firstly, this violates international trade rules. Secondly, you don’t even have to look that far back in history to see that previous tariffs, such as the Depression-era Hawley-Smoot, didn’t work out so well for the economy.

It seems inevitable at this point that those who voted for Trump in the hope that American manufacturing and industry would be revitalised, will be disappointed. Additionally, those who voted Trump as an anti-establishment, anti-lobbying protest, will also be disappointed.

For example, his transition team contains Jeffrey Eisenach, a well-known telecomm lobbyist, and Reince Priebus as chief of staff, a former Republican National Committee Chairman, hardly an outsider in politics.

However, those who voted for Trump because of a hatred for gender equality, racial equality, homophobia or intolerance of various religions and a number of other things, will be pretty pleased with themselves.

“Those who voted Trump as an anti-establishment, anti-lobbying protest, will also be disappointed”

Despite Trump stating that he wouldn’t attempt to reverse the marriage equality decision as it was made by the Supreme Court, opposing the extreme anti-LGBT stance of Pence, he has stated that he is pro-life and hinted at reversing the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling.

In this matter, the new Vice-President would be helpful, well known for his ultra-conservative stance as Indiana governor, with several previous attempts to prevent any and all abortions taking place.

Of course, a new and comprehensive set of policies may materialise between now and his inauguration, but it seems that the Trump administration may just as well be following the Republican platform for the next 4 years. This is the issue with making campaign promises that you can’t keep, or have no substance, you end up relying on someone else.

It just seems unfortunate for the liberal world that this someone else happens to be someone else plural, ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party. If Trump is backtracking on campaign promises I suspect it is not because he is softening his stance, but rather he is realising that being the President is actually a lot of work, and appealing to less than half of the population just won’t cut it.

“It seems that the Trump administration may just as well be following the Republican platform for the next 4 years”

If the Republican-lead government of the next 4 years ploughs through with all of Trump’s campaign promises, then good luck to them. At the moment, with numerous promises, but limited policies, it really is anyone’s guess what the Trump administration will achieve.

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