November 9, 2016
In my opinion, we have elected the wrong President. My opinion of this man has been clear from the very beginning of his campaign. I won’t bother to reiterate his many shortcomings for this job, as I and millions of others have done so quite thoroughly across the last 18 months–and it didn’t matter to his supporters!
I’m hoping his ardent supporters don’t really want the full agenda of his promises. There are only a few I want: I want improved economic growth. I want more good jobs for everyone, especially the middle class and the poor, and I want reduced inequality. That’s a tall order, but it’s enough. As I have explained before here, 4% annual growth of our economy will meet my grandest wish for that measure. I don’t even require he get us to the 6% he promised. That’s not possible, no matter what is done. I will forgive him for abandoning the wall and the discrimination against migrants. I don’t wish him to beat up on our trade partners, or to leave NATO. I’ll forgive him all those abandonments, if he is smart enough to modify his stance rapidly.
I acknowledge a few good things about him. I guess that can be said of anyone. He’s willing to disagree with Republican dogma, and that’s a great asset (to me). And, while I’m OK for social security to be reduced for those of us who don’t need it, his promise to maintain it, contrary to the policies advocated by Paul Ryan, is a positive signal on behalf of the poor.
Jobs, wages, and some movement toward better economic fairness, equality, and shared prosperity. This is the critical part of his promises. As I have explained before, the maximum economic growth for a mature economy like the US will not provide better equality. Growth alone does not provide equality. Reducing inequality will take redistribution. And, it’s not just “Wall Street” that has been profiting at the expense of the lower class. It’s people like the President elect, himself, what with his use of the tax code and bankruptcy law.
I don’t want the wall. I don’t want Muslim immigrants denied entry to the US. I don’t want trade battles with all our allies and friends, especially not with China and Mexico. I don’t want us to become too cozy with Russia. I don’t want another war.
One of the first indicators of possible acceptance and support for this new President is his choice of key advisors and cabinet. Let’s see who he chooses. If he reaches across the aisle and is able to draw in those who disagree with some of his policies, those with reasoned thought and experience about the area of responsibility, I’ll be hopeful. If he nominates a moderate judge to fill the vacancy on our Supreme Court, I’ll be hopeful. If he chooses only among those who have catered to him, I’ll be very concerned.
Then let’s see what his opening policy proposals are, with the detail that never clarified them during the campaign.
My fear is that we may be in for four years of bitter disappointment for unfulfilled grandiose promises in incomes, wages and jobs. Promises that, in fairness to Trump, could not be fulfilled by even the most superb leader among us, not even if we had a cooperative legislature, because the resistance of structural reality (a slow growth world for a considerable time, technology, and globalization). But, he promised, so he should be held accountable.
And, the populace who supported him, how will they react to this reality, failure to deliver? My hope is they will be observant and demanding, holding him and his leadership accountable, as perhaps we might interpret their votes for Trump to have done with respect to their disappointments up to how: They voted to throw out the Obama administration and try something radically different, notwithstanding the abundance of evidence that the current administration was denied legislative support to programs which would have improved matters significantly.
A more realistic outcome to disappointment in failed promises, given the Trump rhetoric to date, is that the new Trump administration will try to blame the future disappointments on the legacy of the past, the recalcitrance of Democrats in Congress to approve extreme proposals, on the Chinese and the Mexicans, or the Muslims among us, or anyone who can resist, prevent, or even disagrees with him. If this should be the outcome of failed promises and if the Trump army chooses to believe this kind of explanation, we are in for a very bad time ahead. A long, bad time.
The American voters have chosen this man. Now we must turn to the future. His followers might have fomented rebellion, had he lost. I hope the rest of us will not. Let’s have another peaceful transition. Let’s give him a chance, to see what he can do. I would love to apologize in time to President Donald Trump, for my distrust of him. I would love to see him successful.