By Rachel Fergus.
If you are struggling to remember what Trump’s platform is, you are not the only one. Keeping track of the numerous issues politicians focus on can be difficult, but when opinions on the issues continuously change, it’s almost impossible to know what is happening. The Donald Trump from one year ago, six months ago, and even last week was much different from who President Elect Trump is today.
An ever-changing yet central topic of Mr. Trump’s platform has been immigration. The one constant is Trump’s conviction that there needs to be a physical wall between the United States and Mexico. When the idea of a wall was originally announced, the Trump campaign also disclosed their idea for deporting all undocumented immigrants within the United States (about 11 million people). Now, however, Trump still wants his wall, but the Republican party and the President Elect himself have made it clear that there will be no “deportation force” to deport 11 million people. Instead, Trump plans to deport all undocumented immigrants who have a criminal record.
While deporting undocumented workers who have committed a crime sounds feasible, it will most likely prove to be a nearly impossible task. To start, there is not a list somewhere in Washington D.C. that lists every person that has ever committed a crime in the United States. Though some states/districts keep a record of crimes, they do not record if an undocumented immigrant was involved in the crime. If Trump began to look for undocumented workers he would have to contend with numerous governors and state leaders that would refuse to expose undocumented citizens in their states. Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota told immigrants in the state: “Look around you. This is Minnesota. Minnesota is not like it was 30, 50 years ago… This is Minnesota and you have every right to be here. And anybody who cannot accept your right to be here… should find another state”.
In the week of the presidential election, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters “We are not going to sacrifice a half million people who live among us… We’re not going to tear families apart. We will do everything we know how to do to resist that”.
A topic Mr. Trump has been vocal about long before his race for the White House is climate change. In November 2012, Mr. Trump tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make the U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” However, during an interview with The New York Times on November 23rd, 2016, President Elect Trump said, “I have a very open mind. And I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully. But I have an open mind”. So, who knows what will happen with the climate. Hopefully Trump will take our future and our children’s future into consideration as he makes (or breaks down) climate bills.
Just as President Elect Trump’s decisions about climate change are unknown, what he will do to the American Health Care system is still being debated. Originally Trump held to his slogan “repeal and replace” when talking about the Affordable Care Act. However, The New York Times published an article (dated November 11) that reported Trump suggested he will keep some of the benefits from Obamacare including: an assurance of health coverage despite pre-existing conditions, and the allowance for children to stay on their parent’s health insurance until their mid-20s. Despite Trump’s suggestion that he might keep a part of the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump appointed Tom Price to be the Health and Human Services Secretary in the Trump administration. Price, a congressman from Georgia, is a well-known critic of Obamacare. Since 2010 Price has continually attempted to replace the Affordable Care Act. So, as of now, it looks as though Mr. Trump will “repeal and replace” Obamacare, though the extent is still unknown.
One thing we can be certain of is that Trump has done nothing to “drain the swamp”. In fact, the President Elect stated on 60 Minutes that “Everybody is a lobbyist down there,” (referring to Washington D.C.). It appears as though Trump truly believes everyone in D.C. is a lobbyist based on whom he has appointed to Cabinet positions thus far:
Steven Mnunchin will be the next Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin was an executive with Goldman Sachs, a firm of global investment banking. Mnunchin and Goldman Sachs are infamous for profiting from the foreclosures of homes during the 2008 financial crisis.
Don McGahn was appointed for White House Counsel. However, McGahn, a lawyer, has represented the Koch Brothers and Tom DeLay, a former Republican House Representative. DeLay is known for his numerous scandals (taking trips funded by lobbyists, soliciting donations from a company that would be affected by a bill being considered, his family being paid by political organizations he controls, etc.)
Wilbur Ross has been appointed to be the Commerce Secretary for the Trump Administration. Ross is a billionaire investor. Much of his profits have come from buying struggling companies, reforming them (resulting in numerous layoffs and job losses) and then selling the company for a profit).
Paul Atkins is a key member of Trump’s transition team. Senator Elizabeth Warren described Atkins as “aggressively opposed [to] holding Wall Street accountable for defrauding investors. Atkinson was an “outspoken critic” of levying fines on financial institutions that broke the law…”
While there have been and will be more questionable choices for powerful positions in the White House, Trump assured the world while on 60 Minutes, “we’re going to phase [lobbyists] out. You have to phase [lobbyists] out”. How Mr. Trump will “drain the swamp” while a group a lobbyists and Wall Street executives help run the country seems both illogical and impossible.
Though numerous people are guessing what the Trump presidency will look like, the reality is that we have no idea right now. In fact, the world will not know what the next President of the United States will do until he does it. Because of leadership roles given to those Trump raged against during his campaign and continual shifts in the President Elect’s policy ideas, we have no idea what will happen until January 20th, 2017. Unfortunately, all we can do until then is wait and speculate.