Which Trump will we see?

November 16, 2016   ·   0 Comments

THROUGHOUT THE LONG CAMPAIGN, the Donald Trump we witnessed was a classic demagogue, shouting out exactly what he knew his core supporters wanted him to say.

The 11 million or so illegal immigrants, most of whom are likely from Mexico (although we suspect more than a few are Canadians whose green cards have long expired) were going to be deported. A wall was going to be built along the border with Mexico and paid for by the Mexican government. Obamacare was going to be trashed and the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court would be filled by a judge who would protect its conservative majority. And Hillary Clinton would be going to jail for her destruction of 30,000 emails.

We’re told that Mr. Trump’s success in winning a majority of electoral college seats (albeit not a majority of votes) came as a surprise to even his team, whose polling showed Hillary Clinton poised for a narrow victory.

Perhaps that was part of the reason the president-elect’s first meeting with Barack Obama ran far longer than either man had anticipated.

Anyone who saw the ‘photo op’ following that meeting and heard Mr. Trump’s description of it and praise for Mr. Obama must have been shocked by how subdued and even contrite he appeared to be.

And those who watched the interview on 60 Minutes must have been impressed by some of his apparent back-tracking, which included an admission that at least some of the border with Mexico would have nothing more than a fence – something we suspect is already in place.

In the circumstances, it will be interesting to see the make-up of his first cabinet.

Whatever else might be said of Mr. Trump, he will certainly be the first Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower to reach office with no particular need to reward “party faithful,” many of whom were reluctant supporters.

Having already said that he wants to be a president for all Americans, he will be in a position where it would not be inconceivable for him to have some in his cabinet known for their achievements rather than their party loyalty.

As we see it, two related areas where he is guaranteed to have problems are medicare and finance.

Although he has promised to replace Obamacare (officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) with something that will be less expensive and still protect the poor and those with pre-existing health issues, thus far the details are missing.

Perhaps all he need do is look at the Interstate Highway system as an example of what could be achieved.

A produce of the Eisenhower years, the Interstate highways were federally financed but built and maintained by the states, with the federal grant money reflecting each state’s ability to pay and the costliness of traversing the territory.

Undoubtedly, the main reason behind the costliness of health care in the U.S. is the role played by a multiplicity of insurers.

Hopefully, Mr. Trump will discover that the best route to lower-cost, universal health care would lie in the federal government leaving it to the 50 states, with generous federal grants going to any state that enacted legislation guaranteeing universal access to medical care through either private or public insurers. It would be left to each state to decide whether its medicare program would be run by the state government or perhaps a private insurer bidding for the management contract.

Equally unexplained thus far is how Mr. Trump can “make America great again” by simultaneously reducing taxes and substantially increasing defence spending in terms of both manpower and equipment.

And thus far no one knows what, if anything, the president-elect has in mind concerning relations with Canada – something both he and Hillary Clinton had precious little to say about during their campaigning.

We guess only time wil tell.

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