Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election “fair and square” as much as we know today. While he did not win the popular vote, Trump won a significant majority in the electoral college. Do these outcomes represent a mandate?
If you couple the Trump victory with Republican control of both Houses of Congress, whether Trump’s victory counts as a mandate or not may seem to Republicans as immaterial. The next two years belong to the GOP and barring upsets in 2018, the Trump team should have its way for 4 years. This reflects American democracy in action.
When George W Bush won the 2000 Presidential election, only with activist help from the Supreme Court, one would have thought a President who lost the popular vote and squeaked by with the electoral college vote would have approached his office with a moderate perspective. Instead, the Bush team felt empowered and tried to impose the views of each of the GOP’s separate factions.
The neocons got an unjust war and one of the greatest foreign policy failures in history, the small government faction got the shameful “hurricane Katrina” response, the deficit hawks blinked over tax cuts and were rewarded with 6 years of unbalanced budgets, and the anti-regulatory advocates got a run away Wall Street which lead to a near global depression.
None of this needs to happen to President Trump. But all these events and more could happen.
The new Trump government’s enemy is as much “hubris” as it might be any particular policy. Team Trump may just think that since they won, anything and everything goes. President Trump needs to keep a short lease on Congress and direct his Cabinet to operate right of center but closer to the center than the Congress.
While Trump has walked back most of his campaign promises, danger lies ahead since nothing has changed about the Republican Party’s composition, ambitions, and dangerous policies.
The Republican Party still favors suppressing voter participation, discrimination under the guise of religious freedom, less regulations which act against the interest of gays, Hispanics, and women’s rights, and don’t forget the flat earth faction which continues to deny global warming.
Oh, and income inequality is not a concern of the Republican Party unless one is talking about how the rich can become richer.
So, President-elect Trump, beware of hubris.
Remember, your margin of victory was actually quite narrow and 2020 is not that far away. Steady economic progress will serve you well while steroid-like induced stimulus could easily put all the increased wealth generation into the already wealthy’s pockets and reward the average American with another deep recession.
The white working class voter liked you this time but they can turn on you just as easily. Run the economy so all boats rise and a second term is there if you want it.