How Trump could succeedPolitically Aware Thursday, December 8th, 2016
Commentary: Politically Aware
Dear President-elect Trump,
Barring Electoral College shenanigans, you will be the 45th president, with one of the lowest Inauguration Day approval ratings in history. You can’t count on drawing another Democratic opponent with equally low favorability in 2020, so winning a second term will require finding a way to broaden your appeal without betraying your core supporters.
Here is my unsolicited advice on how to do it, in broad strokes and specifics. Some steps I agree with and some horrify me, but they are your best path toward a comfortable re-election in 2020. Along the way, you might actually do some good.
Remember that more Americans voted for someone else in both the primaries and general election. Beyond your diehard supporters, many of those who pulled your lever were voting against something else, be it the Republican establishment, Secretary Clinton or the current system. The rust belt voters who won you the Electoral College wanted someone to fight for them, not the Ryan budget. Make your economic plan reward them, and other working families, not the wealthy and business elites.
You have talents at both manipulating the media and putting promises and positions behind you. Use them, along with your purported negotiating skills, to keep as few of your extreme promises as possible, and to make even those tolerable to your detractors.
As much as it pains me to say it, building a wall is the one promise you probably can’t break. Find a way to do it as part of a comprehensive immigration plan, and maybe an infrastructure bill. Use union labor. You said you didn’t want to break up families, so don’t. Keep Obama’s policies in place (you can still tout deportations) until your wall is done, and then find a way to let DREAMers and their families stay, which you know is better for the economy.
Nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. It’s a win for you on so many levels. He’s qualified, and most Americans thought he should have gotten hearings. The ultimate olive branch to Democrats, it also reminds Republicans that you don’t owe them anything. Imagine getting to say “To make America great again, we need government to function, so I won’t reward obstructionism from either party.”
Let Republicans have their Obamacare repeal vote, but demand they replace it before repeal takes effect, in a way that allows children to stay on their parents insurance and protects people with pre-existing conditions. You said you wouldn’t let people die on the streets, so just fix the glitches in Obamacare and call it Repeal and Replace. If anyone can sell it, you can.
You’ve said positive things about Planned Parenthood, so protect it. Pick a fight with Minority Leader Pelosi over the Hyde Amendment or something, win it, and claim victory by changing nothing.
Tell Vice President-elect Pence to leave LGBT rights alone and I’ll let everyone think this was all your idea. Deal?
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