What Can Happen in a Month

I took a break from blogging a month ago, and the world has changed tremendously.  Wow.

When I left, nearly everyone thought Hillary Clinton would be the President.  The odds were also favorable that there would be a Democratic Senate.

Now, of course, Donald Trump will be the President, and the Republicans control not only the House but also the Senate.  This is obviously an enormous change.  At first, it was really disorienting.  And for many opponents of Trump, the effect continues.

But there has also been another change.  We have started to get more information about Donald Trump and how he is likely to govern.  While it is preliminary, most of this information is encouraging (as compared to what many people feared Trump would do).

First, it appears that Trump seeks to govern as a conservative.  Some of the selections he has made for his cabinet, especially Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, are conservative.  The finalists for Secretary of State are mainly conservatives.  And his selection for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is said to be a supply-sider by supply-sider Stephen Moore.  His pick for Education strongly favors school choice.  Other selections are conventional Republicans, such as Nikki Haley, Elaine Chao, and Reince Priebus.  Compare this cabinet to the one that Mitt Romney (himself a possible pick) would have selected or the ones that George W. Bush had.  It seems at least as conservative as those cabinets.

Second, it appears that Trump’s many outrageous statements, especially on Twitter, are often not to be taken seriously.  They appear to be ways that he communicates sentiments to the public and his supporters about where his heart is.  This is an effective way to communicate to some people (just as it irks many others who treat the tweets more seriously).  So Trump’s statement that people who burn the American flag should be punished is not the start of a plan to change the Constitution, but instead a way to express his distaste of these people.

Of course, we don’t know for sure that Trump will not pursue some of these ideas.  But so far it seems they are not to be taken as serious policy proposals.

Third, and related to the previous point, President Trump is likely to be more presidential than Candidate Trump (more presidential, even if not actually presidential).  He is able to walk back from saying that he would prosecute Hillary Clinton as well as many other statements, such as a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

So the world has changed.  Trump won, and now a more conservative, more presidential Trump seems to have emerged.  We shall see.

Reader Discussion

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on December 01, 2016 at 17:43:48 pm

" . . . a way to express his distaste of these people."

Is it really an expression of distaste for "these people" or an expression of how Trump feels about the flag.

A chronologically adult student in my hometown traveled for thanksgiving to my birth town, Knoxville and brutally slayed his parents. I wish he'd burned his flag instead. I am viscerally revolted over what he did and hope he faces capital punishment. However, I feel very sorry for his person.

If he had burned his flag, it would have given us a chance to interview him and find out what motivated his extreme behavior. We might find out we like him and agree about his concern and want to help effect the change he wants. I think harmless behavior that gets public opinion when it is needed is better than many forms of violence.

As an expression of dissidence, burning the flag is better than a lot of actions we could list: blocking a street that might be essential for someone in medical emergency, for example. Protesting with police disobedience seems worse. Carrying a toy gun and aiming it at people is worse. I think preaching "God dxxx America," is worse. However, in all these cases, it's the behavior rather than the person that I object to.

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Phil Beaver
on December 01, 2016 at 19:18:52 pm

funny, you should mention The Trumpster's tweets.

I would prefer that he dispense with the White House Press Corps and communicate with the people via twitter.
Of course, it should be noted that I neither tweet, Skype or any of the other current means of avoiding *real* conversation - but anything is better than that insufferable group of boors, aka White House Press Corps.

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on December 03, 2016 at 17:57:42 pm

Michael- Stu passed on. Interesting there was no mention of Carrier. Federal gov't intervention in private business is the most non-conservative action one can take. Loosen regulations and reform tax laws and then leave them alone. The economy will boom. In my view, what he did was no different than Obama often did. This and trade positions are a bad sign. I wish I could be as optimistic.

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Dave Stone

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