Rory Broomfield looks beyond Friday’s inauguration to discuss what Trump’s presidency is likely have in store, and how different it will be from that of Obama’s.
Tomorrow, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States of America. In Barack Obama he follows a two-term President that has been to war, increased both the US’s national debt to record (and unsustainable) levels and threatened to send one of its closest allies – that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with it through a number of foreign invasions and beyond – to the back of the queue. How different will a Donald Trump presidency be?
On the question of US trading relationships, “the Donald” has been clear that instead of being back of the queue the United Kingdom will now be front of the line. This, naturally, is a much better situation for the UK than it has been under Obama and I’m thankful that what he told Michael Gove of the Times newspaper goes against my initial fears.
This though doesn’t prevent there from being any number of issues that the new President will have to face regarding the USA’s relationship with others. His comments about NATO and threats of protectionism with China have already sparked much debate – and I hope doesn’t delay him in enacting his wishes when it comes to enhancing the US-UK relationship. However, Trump recognises the importance of defeating ISIS and building relationships (with Russia et al) to do this. Obama didn’t. Further, unlike Obama, Trump is ready to act to strengthen the US relationships with its allies, instead of belittling them like Obama did (such as with Israel and the UK). This can only be positive.
There are also challenges – and differences – between the two Presidents in domestic reform. Trump wants to drain the swamp while Obama built it up; Trump wants to invest in infrastructure while Obama invested in Obamacare; Trump wants to challenge the USA’s politically correct culture while Obama strengthened this insidious culture. In this, and many other things, Trump and Obama are chalk and cheese. That being said, like Obama and the Democrats did in 2008, the Republicans in 2017 have a majority in both houses of Congress. They should make the most of it. Although they don’t have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Trump should look to achieve his main goals – such as “repeal or replace” Obamacare – as quickly as possible before a new Democrat opposition can build up in the mid-terms. Of course, there’s also that wall that Trump has promised to build.
In this there are similarities to Obama’s presidency. However, Obama misjudged both his own party and the Republicans and had to rely on a Supreme Court judgement to be able to implement the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010. Trump shouldn’t be as callous.
That said, Trump will be able to appoint at least one new Supreme Court Justice in the first year of his presidency. This will help him and, having consulted the influential and respected Federalist Society (which Antonin Scalia supported) for advice, the Court will keep its balance for now rather than becoming a Democrat plaything.
Things won’t be the same though as both the economic and political climate is different from 2008. Trump is inheriting a country riddled with more debt – both personal debt and federal – and situations in international affairs that Obama and others (not least Clinton) have created which need to be resolved. Trump will need all his deal making capabilities to make it work.
I hope Trump takes a small state, limited government approach. This is something that Obama did not do. However, what Trump seems to be is a self-confident and energetic deal-maker with skills, a perspective and a party that Obama did not have.
In a way, I can sum it up:
While Obama played golf, Trump didn’t just play golf – he built and owned golf courses. With that, America is entering into a new proactive and self-confident chapter of doers. I wish it well and hope it becomes both great and free again.