In my first post election post I identified two directions the Trump Presidency might take:
There are two directions Trump can take. First, he can move toward the middle and try to achieve some reconciliation. This would involve backing away from massive deportations and building the wall and trying to work out compromises on some items, like infrastructure, that the Democrats can go along with. He will have to do some things like kill Obama Care because the Republicans will demand it–and that is a terrible thing for 20 million people who now have insurance–but perhaps the “replacement” could build on the structure now in place. Getting out of the Paris Climate Accord could be delayed until, say, Miami was under water when even the Republicans will get the picture. Since it is not readily apparent that Trump himself actually believes any of the things he says, maybe there is some hope for compromise since presumably he wants to go down as a good president in order to boost his fragile ego.
The second direction is the red meat direction—more outrageous remarks to stir the masses, radical changes to health care and immigration and a move toward strongman leadership. This is always what has scared me the most. I have made the comparison to the 1930s in Europe when the most enlightened countries on earth gave in to Fascism. That does not appear to be a fear at this moment for us, but when you have a “ruler” with personal insecurity and a mandate for radical change, you can’t rule anything out.
It is too early to see a definite trend. On the one hand he seems to be moderating some of his positions such as locking up Hillary, demolishing all of Obama Care and building a “beautiful wall” starting on day one. On the other hand there is no indication as to the status of the massive deportation plan, and the NY Times reported yesterday that the likely new director of the EPA is a climate change denier. The early warning signs will be whom he appoints as cabinet members and key advisors.
It is important that progressives stay involved and follow the transition very carefully. When Trump moves toward the middle we should praise him. We know that he responds to approvals and wants to be liked. When he moves to the right we should fight him vigorously with all the non violent, peaceful tools we have to work with. To simply roll over and take what we get would be to allow his outrageous agenda to move forward. My son-in-law remarked yesterday that the conditions are similar in many ways to the conditions present in the early 1960s when the civil rights movement was starting to reach its prime. It was one of those rare times when the choice between good and evil was so obvious. And for those of us who chose to get involved in the struggle, it was one of the most important and proud times of our lives. That choice may again be available.