With the House of Representatives and the Senate both back in the Republican party’s grasp, Donald Trump will be able to wield power more freely than any President in a generation.
As the minority in both houses of Congress, Democrats will have no legislative power to block the dismantling of Obamacare, the ban on Muslims or the rightward swing of the Supreme Court. (Whether Congressional Republicans will allow Trump’s entire agenda to pass unchallenged is another matter.)
A recent study found that the US network news broadcasts spent more time during the presidential election cycle discussing Hillary Clinton’s email controversy than they did dissecting the candidates’ policy agendas, and there’s little denying the campaigns themselves came down to a clash of personalities.
So with America waking up and wondering whether it’s done the right thing, here are some of the policies it voted for, whether it likes them or not.
A crackdown on illegal immigration was the early centrepiece of Mr Trump’s campaign, earning him ranks of supporters and opponents alike. From day one, he has vowed to build a wall the length of the US-Mexican border – for which he insists he will force Mexico to pay – and to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants currently living in the US.
Trump is both an isolationist and an interventionist. He intends to end America’s habit of nation-building and regime change, but he also intends to “rebuild” the military and crush Isis. To do so, he suggests working with America’s allies in the Middle East, although they may not be too fond of his plan to temporarily suspend immigration from any countries his administration considers “exporters” of terrorism. He also wants to bring back torture, and make friends with Vladimir Putin.
The world’s most powerful property developer has proposed a historic tax cut, deeper even than Ronald Reagan’s in 1981. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, the President-Elect’s current plan could cost almost $6bn in total, or an average of $440bn per year. It would fold the number of income tax rates from seven into three and provide tax cuts to most taxpayers – but it would disproportionately benefit corporations and the most wealthy.
Trump says he’ll immediately repeal and replace Obamacare the minute he gets to the White House – and he’ll have no trouble convincing congressional Republicans of that idea. The big question is what to replace it with, given that the Affordable Care Act has extended healthcare coverage to more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans. Trump and the GOP have offered only vague alternatives so far, such as allowing insurers to sell policies “across state lines”.
The President-elect is not a fan of trade deals, or at least not the existing ones. He wants to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific partnership before it’s ratified, renegotiate Nafta, begin a trade war with China, and, per his website, “appoint tough and smart trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.”
Trump, once avowedly pro-choice, has been converted. While he still seems unclear about the orthodoxies of the pro-life movement – infamously suggesting that women who get abortions should be punished, and then walking it back – he professes to be opposed to abortion except in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother. He says he’ll defund Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices amenable to overturning Roe v Wade.
Trump described himself, ominously, as the candidate of “law and order”, meaning he’s a big fan of the police, and not such a big fan of Black Lives Matter or efforts to reform the criminal justice system. He claims to want to quell the violence of the “inner cities”, though he also appears to be unaware that the violent crime rate in the US has been dropping steadily for the past quarter century.
Energy and the Environment
The candidate who once claimed on Twitter that climate change was a Chinese hoax is not likely to be especially eco-friendly. He says he’ll scrap most of Obama’s Environmental Protection mandates, yet somehow ensure that all Americans have clean air and water. And all while achieving energy independence for the US via oil, natural gas and so-called “clean” coal.
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