Thursday, November 10, 2016

President Trump? Who'd a Thunk It?

How could we have gotten it so wrong? All of us. Especially the so-called experts, who have lost all credibility. The pundits, the analysts, the pollsters, all those wise men who saw what they wanted to see instead of what was actually happening. And what about the prima donna columnists and talking heads, the supposed shapers of public opinion who thought the voters would follow them like deranged sheep?

But forget about the experts. Few people, period -- Republicans or Democrats -- thought Trump had a chance. I predicted a Clinton landslide. Most people I know followed the returns to see how local candidates and referenda were doing and whether the GOP would hold the Senate. A Clinton coronation was a foregone conclusion.

We were all wrong. House Speaker Paul Ryan summed it up: "Trump's victory was the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime." I'm still reeling.

So what happened? Some voted for Trump, but many more voted against Hillary Clinton. Give credit, if belatedly, to the American people for disposing of this deplorable, lying, corrupt politician. She has what a Democrat friend calls the Nixon factor: She makes your skin crawl.

Clinton aside, some say Trump got there by riding a populist wave against the entrenched grandees, the Washington elite. His was a triumph of timing, of being at the right place at the right time. And that may be so. But I think it was more than that. I think it was also a repudiation of Obama and his failed policies. It was a call for a new start by an outsider who wasn't contaminated by the system, at least not yet.

Whatever the reason for Trump's win, the consequences will be historical. Let's consider a few of them.

  • Clinton will not be able to nominate Barack Obama to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. (Don't laugh. That was being considered.)
  • Our commitments to the Paris accords on climate change, never confirmed by the Senate, will be withdrawn. Global warming will get a fresh look. Science rather than politics will be applied.
  • The Pacific trade pact will be scuttled.
  • Obamacare will be dismantled to the cheers of the 80% of Americans who saw big reductions in their insurance coverage and huge spikes in their premiums.
  • Illegal immigration will be stopped, and legal immigration will be reevaluated.
  • Tax reform will get a serious look, and the crippling taxes on U.S. businesses will be sharply reduced.
  • The worst of Obama's regulations by presidential order will be rolled back, and few new ones will be imposed.
  • The absurd attack on natural gas will stop, and the mindless subsidies on wind and solar will be rescinded. Pipelines will be approved.
  • Our crumbling infrastructure -- roads, rail lines, bridges -- will finally be repaired, a welcome use of taxpayer money.
  • Conservative justices will be appointed to the federal courts, aided by a change to simple majority approval by the Senate.
  • We will have, after an eight-year absence, a coherent foreign policy and a renewal of friendship with Israel.
And all of this will happen in the first year!

Look for a new atmosphere in Washington. Negotiations will flourish and the my-way-or-the-highway mentality of Obama will be relegated to the dustbin of failure. There will be compromises, and government will at last get things done.

Though none of us saw it coming, a Trump presidency will be a welcome change. To my Republican friends I say, if Trump doesn't do everything to your liking, and he won't, just think of the alternative. Think of what Hillary would have done instead. And smile.

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