How Trump Can Overcome His Credibility Gap and Taper Anxieties Towards his Presidency
President Trump overcame many challenges and odds to be elected. To the delight of his staunch supporters he is carrying out policies he promised to do at a rapid pace. However, if Mr. Trump wants have a successful presidency he will have to overcome his still large credibility gap, and the strong objections and anxieties towards him both in the U.S and internationally. He should not rest on his laurels that the same enthusiastic support that propelled him to the presidency is certain to be there 4yrs from now. He should also not underestimate the fast growing galvanizing resistance towards him and his controversial policies. President Trump should not make the same mistakes as president Obama by over relying on executive orders while being ambivalent to the importance of uniting the country and leading congress to solve complex issues.
Here are a few ways the president can overcome objections and earn more credibility.
Avoid unnecessary controversies that overshadow constructive policies: The president has proposed and enacted constructive policies in his first few days to spur growth and jobs such as allowing the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to proceed, addressing overbearing regulations and laying out tax reform ideas. However the media (which include many that distain Mr. Trump) focused on the tit-for-tat conversations over crowd size at the inauguration, the Mexican border wall and now the very controversial executive actions on immigration. The credible issue about border security has been undermined by the broad travel bans on immigration which has affected many legal visa and green card holders, people with dual citizenship and even refugees who helped our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would have been more constructive if a more coherent and well thought out policy was proposed by the President, and discussed in Congress to replace the current policy of travelers from terrorist hotbeds before a broad ban. Mr. Trump should put less emphasis in the haste to please supporters with fulfilling campaign promises and more emphasis on growing his support with policies that help every American. He should also avoid exaggerations and impulsive tweets not grounded in facts. In the mean time, protests and riots will rage and Democrat politicians will be sure to be present to score political points.
Counter negative stereotypes instead of reinforcing them: The main stereotypes propagated about Mr. Trump by his opponents are that he is racist, anti-immigrant and hates different groups. The current travel ban controversy only reinforces those stereotypes and it is not helpful to the GOP if the leader has those labels. Mr. Trump can simultaneously make a case for law and order in our immigration system while making a case why immigration is good for America if it follows those standards. Many of the conservative principles that Mr. Trump and the GOP represent are the same ones that attract immigrants to America. Mr. Trump should consider a thoughtful a compassionate reform to DACA (differed action for childhood arrivals) based on a earned points system for adjusted immigration status, like I suggest in my immigration reform proposal on this website. A Better for Immigration Reform in a trump Era by a Conservative Immigrant.
He needs to offer more clarity on what he is for than what he is against. He can make in roads with Muslims who share our values such as the large number of aforementioned translators etc. who worked along our troops overseas and have waited for a long time during the Obama era for visas. He could also do more to help the Kurds and the Jordanians who have specified Islamic radicals as a treat to both the religion of Islam and the West.
Mr. Trump also has the advantage of developing a deeper connection with the gay community than any GOP president before. As a New Yorker he was wise not to dwell on the conversation about gay issues like many other Republicans did before him. He also made the point on how radical Islam has been hateful towards gays. He should consider recognizing the challenges of the community that are mutual to the policies he pursues. The Left will be very confused.
Mr. Trump pro-school choice nominee for Education Secretary Betsy Devos shows he supports a better economic ladder for poor and minority kids to get out of failing schools. There are more opportunities to justify this and he can make use of them. Also, Mr. Trump has shown willingness for economic reforms to help urban areas. If Mr. Trump succeeds he might gain more black and minority support than any GOP president has had in a long time. This will worry Democrats and that is why he should stop carelessly giving them political ammunition to reinforce the stereotypes they want to stick on him.
Don’t lose your Congressional majorities: Mr. Trump will no doubt have disagreements with GOP members of congress. He should resist the temptations he had during the election where he would publicly insult those who he disagreed with. He and the GOP majorities will need each other to successfully implement reforms and policy. Disagreements should be worked out behind closed doors and Mr. Trump should realize he might not get everything he wants. The GOP should not be pressured to go along just to get along with Mr. Trump. He must be constantly reminded that he must bear the standards of conservatism and the GOP. That’s the political vehicle he used get to the White House. There is a chance the GOP can build their congressional majorities in 2018. Don’t blow it.
Don’t allow the global leadership vacuum to get worse: President Obama created a global leadership vacuum, which is getting worse. Our main adversaries China and Russia are getting stronger with more influence, ISIS is spreading, the ticking time bombs like Iran and North Korea keep metastasizing, and our allies increasingly are losing confidence in American leadership. Many share anxieties about President Trump due to his remarks on immigration, trade, NATO and the downplaying of Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria.
Mr. Trump walled himself in (pun intended) when he doubled down on his campaign rhetoric to make Mexico pay for his proposed border wall, which led to a cancelled meeting with Mexican President Enrique Nieto. He should not underestimate the important economic synergies of our economy with Mexico especially the supply chain of products for manufacturing in both countries. Mr. Trump may want to taper his protectionist instincts and explore greater cooperation with both Mexico and Canada. The region has the potential of becoming an alternative to OPEC as all three countries have developed their energy resources. Further alienating Mexico could result in an anti-American president being elected there next year, which would only compound our relationship and attract more regional influence from China in addition to border tensions. Mr. Trump should explore the export potential of American energy and green light more LPG export terminals (some held up under the Obama administration) so we can supply more European allies. This would also counter Russian influence, which has used energy policy to intimate countries in Europe on its renewed path of aggression especially in Eastern Europe.
The president chose to reject the Trans-Pacific trade deal, but he should move quickly with detailed proposals for bi-lateral trade deals with countries of the former deal to also counter Chinese influence. Countries will start to align with other world powers if they still think America is still in global retreat.
The challenges and opportunities of the 21st century means that the greatness of America during this period hinges on it also continuing to lead in the values that made it great in the first place. President Trump has a great opportunity to do so.