The election of Donald Trump to be the next President has created a jumbled, frenzied, uncertain and speculative political environment. Mr. Trump was the unexpected winner, a vast majority of political professionals, pundits, pollsters, party officials, elected officials, media were surprised with the results and there is a residual vocal opposition to him. We will leave the reason for the results to another time because the only thing that is sure is Mr. Trump will be come President on January 20, and that at least, at first, there will be a lot of new faces in town with the intent of making big changes.
Mr. Trump is difficult to characterize. His campaign was short on policy details and often times contradictory. More prone to broad themes and pronouncements, specific future actions by the new Administration can only generally be cautiously anticipated. The parade of people coming to pay homage to Mr. Trump in New York meets his style of high profile attention, twitter blurts and continuing campaign style rallies. It seems more impulsive than planned. The real action will come later when it actually means something. All that being said, the announcement of cabinet positions and other close advisors has a definite conservative bent and contra to the direction and policies of Mr. Obama.
To counterbalance all the attention and speculation given to the coming Administration, the other thing we also know as a certainty is that Republicans will control the Congress. It is enormously significant and an achievement for the GOP who many thought would lose control of the Senate.
Control does not mean domination but it does mean setting the agenda, floor consideration, hearing schedules and with the bone-head move by the Democrats several years ago regarding changing the filibuster rule, it means almost carte blanche authority to the ruling party on nominations.
While the interests and positions of the Administration come into view, the interests of many Congressional members and their issues are well known. The new Administration will have its own ideas and a great deal of influence but we would expect (particularly the House leadership) to push and direct to the issues of interest to them, many which have failed to advance due to split government. The question here is who is going to be pushed and who is going to be pulled?
Issues that garnered attention during the campaign and expected to be addressed in some fashion include the Affordable Health Care Act (cost and access to health care) immigration (past and present), taxes (level and structure), international trade agreements (NAFTA and others), new spending (infrastructure) and Federal regulations (about everything). Let’s take a look at the last two.