The Things Trump Takes Too Much for Granted

August 27, 2018

Historical political trends indicate that the party of the president normally loses congressional seats in the mid-term elections during their first term. President Trump should be easily defying those odds due to presiding over a booming economy and other GOP reform successes. Many pundits had predicted by now we would be in an economic disaster, and would be in a World War III scenario with North Korea. Mr. Trump and the GOP instead have a lot to run on. Democrats had said we should get used to 2% growth and accept it as the norm and the high taxes that would then be needed to compensate for it. Instead  the economy is trending towards 3-4%. Democrats also said they were they party for reducing income inequality and boosting jobs especially for minorities and the poor. Instead GOP pro growth policies signed by Mr. Trump are delivering on those aspects that a Democrat President and Congress failed at. However, ‘yuge’ opportunities are being missed due to Mr. Trump taking way too many things for granted. The president’s rhetorical excess has distracted and wasted political capital from making the argument that Americans are better off now on many fronts with GOP reforms than under the Obama-Pelosi-Schumer administration of far left policies.


GOP congressional majorities: President Trump at times has treated his party’s majorities as expendable. He has no restraints in vilifying any Republican and staff member publicly that may disagree with him. Even if it gives Democrats political ammunition to use back at him and Republicans or sow discord in his party. None of the victories Mr. Trump claim credit for could be achieved if he depended on Democrats who are energized to impeach him and obstruct his policies and nominees. While many republicans do not agree with Mr. Trump’s style and some of his ideas, they still support him, as he is their only chance to implement GOP priorities.  Mr. Trump has at times taken for granted that he does not need to reciprocate the same courtesy by being cognizant how his persona will affect congressional candidates in their district when they are forced to spend too much time defending or ‘translating’ what the President meant to say rather than policy victories or ideas. 


The people who voted for Trump in 2016: The president has touted in more that one ways that there are people who will support him unconditionally no matter what he says or does. He takes for granted that the numbers of those people are enough to guarantee electoral victories to maintain majorities in congress. He also takes for granted that the number of people who didn't like him but voted for him in 2016 will be energized to vote for Republicans in the mid-terms. Many Democrat leaning voters who did not vote in 2016 because they thought Hillary Clinton would safely win will not make that mistake again, and are actually energized to 'resist' the Trump agenda.


The effects of the President’s rhetoric: Probably the biggest impediment to achieving many more wins and public approval is the President’s taking for granted that careless use of rhetoric is a proper substitute to making coherent arguments. Careless rhetoric and insults not only distracts from supporting valid points but it undermines them while doing a lot more damage than supporting his cause.


The Media: Mr. Trump received millions of dollars of free media coverage in 2016 partly because many in the media thought it would work against him. It backfired and actually helped Mr. Trump. The President should not take for granted this will happen again. Many in the media constantly seek anything that can fit the narrative of the ‘resistance’, which puts the President in a negative light. This is more reason for Mr. Trump to exercise restraining his worst vernacular tendencies. It would instead force coverage of his positive policy results such as those discussed in some of his cabinet meetings where the press is invited.


Immigration: The President partly won election in 2016 by pushing for a border wall and curtailing illegal immigration. Ironically like Democrats he is taking for granted that by pushing the ‘can’ down the road he can use it to energize his core base during election season. There is probably no policy victory Democrats would like to deny more to President Trump and Republicans than a reform that not only address border security but also issues like DACA. The latest attempt by the GOP to vote on a bill to address these issues failed partly because President Trump chose to not strongly support it, as he preferred to wait till after the mid-term elections. Taking for granted that he will have a larger GOP majority in congress after the mid terms adds to the other immigration blunders by the president. If Mr. Trump had made a strong effort like he did for tax reform to support these bills that addressed border security and polarizing issues such as DACA. Even if it failed due to lack of support from Democrats he and the GOP could turn the tables in the midterms and say the Democrats blocked these reforms. It’s better to run on incremental achievements than promises.


The GOP also faces the uphill battle in many swing districts due to the fall out of the fiasco of family separation at the border. There was no advantage to the GOP of Mr. Trumps wasting way too much political capital enforcing a policy without the foresight that he would then have to reverse it due to the political ramifications. On immigration Mr. Trump’s persona is alienating a constituency who should be natural Republicans. Legal immigrants who resonate with conservative ideals and who often can give the best testimonials on the ravages of the socialism more Democrats want to embrace.


The Republican Party and Conservatism: Mr. Trump is only the president because the Republican Party was the vehicle that took him there and conservative policies and scholars served as the substantive basis for his legislative and reform successes. However, like in a corporate take over, Mr. Trump has taken for granted that the party and the conservative movement should unconditionally serve him and that they should bear his standards rather than he being the standard bearer of the party and movement. He has made his presidency too much about himself and that is why he is so much of a referendum on the party in congressional districts than the party’s successful policies.


What Mr. Trump 'doesn't' say:  While Mr. Trump gets most backlash for what he says, he often finds himself in trouble for what he 'did not' say but should have. The most recent scenario was the flop press conference with Russian President Putin when Mr. Trump not only failed to challenge Mr. Putin about Russian meddling in the 2016 election but instead had ambivalent words about it. This was after he had strong words for NATO allies about not paying their agreed share to fund the organization and injecting himself in British politics about their Prime Minister Theresa May. He also faced backlash when he failed to strongly admonish white supremacists during the Charlottesville deadly riots last year and then muddled his words about them. Mr. Trump takes for granted at times what ought to be said but isn't said. With the passing of Sen. John McCain, Mr. Trump's White House statement mentions thoughts and prayers for the Mr. McCain's family but not about his long military and public service. Despite his differences with Mr. McCain and especially since Mr. Trump had insulted the former Navy pilot's service, the President might yet again face backlash for what the Senator deserved to be said about him by the sitting President and was not.


The Office of President of The United States: Most importantly, President Trump has taken the office most for granted. Many people overlooked his persona and rhetoric but voted for him as they hoped for him to evolve into the decorum and tone of being POTUS by now. It has not happened, but affects the GOP and his credibility even when he has valid points.


Mr. Trump is often likened to a bull in a china shop, unfortunately this bull is not only breaking his best china, he is interrupting and taking attention away from some great china being made in the same shop.

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