A year later: Trump’s America

The following in-depth analysis on the future presidency of Donald Trump was originally published by Ridder Media Group for Atlas News.

It is being republished with permission by former News Editor Caleb Mills and former Editor-in-Chief Eli Ridder.

The analysis project was lead by Caleb Mills who has been published in several political and news publications.

A year ago, United States President Donald Trump was elected to office and this article was published months later for his inauguration in January of 2017.

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Image of Capitol Hill from Atlas News.

The forgotten romance of an inaugural address is one of the saddest things in American politics.

Today, it’s more about the campaign or the debates, or even the acceptance speech at the party convention.

 We can all recite by heart the “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” portion of Kennedy’s inaugural address.

But I highly doubt the average American could remember any part of Bush’s, Clinton’s, or even Obama’s inaugural addresses.

In general, I think people will remember something very unique about the 45th President’s inaugural address; It spoke directly to the people.

 The ceremony began like all others do, a pretty typical beginning.

However, all extraordinary things were once ordinary. Senator Roy Blunt and Senate Minority leader Schumer both spoke, representing their parties with relative oratory skills. The bands played, pastors led prayers, and important officials spoke.

But as I sat there watching, I made sure my eyes were not diverted for long periods of time by the bright colors or empty sentences of the men on the platform. I had my eyes where every analyst watching the ceremony had them; on the President-Elect and the President incumbent.

 The two men were wearing faces that were still new to us all, but not unfamiliar.

Obama was silent, strangely resigned, almost relieved to be leaving.

Trump looked content, sober, and calm. For the first time in what might have been his entire campaign and transition, he looked like a leader; He looked like a president.

The crowd however was not as quick to follow his lead. Chants of “ Trump “ could be heard as the 44th President walked around on the platform, greeting those who had come to see his last act as leader of the free world.

The swearing-in began with former Indiana governor Mike Pence taking the oath of Vice-President of the United States.

It reminded me somewhat of when George W Bush took the oath of office in 2001.

The nervous determination that men have in their eyes when they stare into the void of executive royalty that they had so long had sought out.

You could hear a hint of a crack in the Hoosiers voice when he said “ I do “. It was somewhat of a touching moment, as he hugged his daughters and wife, the final act of the end of their normal lives as citizens.

But the moment of adrenaline came when the businessman from New York walked up to the podium and looked right at Chief Justice John Roberts.

And as the next president began saying those words many other presidents in history have said, you could hear a different tone in the man’s voice. It was much more refined.

It was still the voice of an angry populist vying for change, but it had a relaxed factor to it. Like a tired man finally ending a long day’s work.

The oath was administered, the power’s that be changed, and even Franklin Graham, son of the Evangelist Billy Graham, remarked that it seemed God himself had ordained the moment.

And then like most other presidents before him, Trump mounted the stand began his inaugural address.

Many things stood out of his first speech as President of the United States. His populistic appeal to the people rang through every word he uttered and the rebuke he leveled at both parties was strong. And the crowd loved it.

He praised the people.

Not like other addresses where Presidents simply exercised a display of oratory skills, building the people up to an artificial sense of hope in a nation run by his new government.

This was different. Trump spoke to the people.

Through his populistic appeal, he talked to their dreams. He didn’t tell them through vague reference to prosperity that their lives would improve.

He looked directly into their eyes and appealed to their sense of patriotism. Not for the purpose of sacrifice but of gain.

He spoke of rewards and that the time of self-concentration was now. America would be first in a Trump administration, and the people believed it.

He repeated all of the themes he had held throughout campaign and hit each issue with the precision of a marksman. He was eloquently blunt.

He also spoke of a united America. United around his dreams for their future. Not a bipartisan paradise but of an America where the people were in charge. It sounded like something a leader of a Democracy would say, not a Republic.

He addressed the issues of Crime and race, saying “ Whether we are black, or brown, or white, we still bleed the same red blood of patriots “ and “ When America is united, America is totally unstoppable “ and “ When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice “.

His message to the American workers, who handed him the election, was also very evident. “ We will follow two simple rules. Buy American, hire American “ to which the crowd cheered.

The speech overall echoed past addresses to the American public. To the times of Eugene V Debs, William Jennings Bryan, and Charles Lindbergh. A return of power to the people.

The speech ended, the crowd erupted in exaltation, and Trump shook the hands of now former President Barack Obama and other dignitaries (Amusingly, you could see the former First Lady glaring at the man who had just torn apart her husband).

And so it ended.

After the ending traditions, Barack Obama boarded what he used to call Marine One, but now it was just a high-tech helicopter carrying a normal citizen.

The sight of the departure of the former President breathed life into this new form of Republicanism that President Donald Trump led, but it was the last dying ember of Progressive America; at least for now.

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Trump at Fort Meyer in August from UBC News files.

Ok, who’s losing their rights first?

“Everybody’s got to be covered, this is an un-Republican thing I’m going to say, I’m going to take care of everybody.”

The left-leaning business mogul turned Conservative Populist champion has had a record of breaking with his adopted party on many issues. At the forefront of these occasional skirmishes are social causes and traditional Republican economic stances.

The initial excerpt, from his September 2015 interview with 60 Minutes, is one of the many times the President has broken with the GOP.

The Republican platform has been anti-same sex marriage since it was a major issue, and the recent Evangelical resurgence in the South and Midwest should have cemented this aspect of the party into the future. And perhaps it has been.

But the recent Republican presidential nominee and his past and current statements might suggest otherwise.

Donald Trump was a known liberal before his apparent conversion in the 2000s, and some of that appears to show in his uncommonly quiet stance on homosexual legislation. The President, unlike his Republican predecessors, has yet to layout any hard hitting anti-same sex marriage agenda. On the other hand, his cabinet positions speak volumes on that subject alone.

Many if not all of Trump’s appointees in his cabinet have been known to be anti-gay rights or at the very least fund organizations that do. This does suggest that the 45th President will have a predominantly Conservative social agenda. However, if in fact the President-Elect still harbors disinterest or unvocalized support for liberal social causes, it may bring him into direct conflict with his cabinet and their ‘ Conservative Crusade ‘.

Not the least of these Knights that will be trying to retake the holy land (AKA American society) is former Indiana governor and current Vice-President Mike Pence. Formerly an advocate of gay conversion therapy, which is banned in several countries, he has always been vocal in his support for Traditional family values.

Pence: “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

Pence also called being a homosexual a choice. He would later say keeping gays from marrying was not discrimination, but an enforcement of “God’s idea.”

 Not only that, but many other members of Trump’s cabinet have also given a voice to their opposition of the group.

With this assembly of social Conservative hardliners, it’s hard seeing Trump going out of his way to stop any major legislation targeting homoseuxality; and its because he probably wouldn’t.

Not because he most likely has any strong convictions on the matter, but because he doesn’t see it as a good use of his political capital.

“Just sign the bill. Conservatives will be happy. Liberals already hate me. Why do I care?” is the mentality he will most likely be thinking.

But on the other hand we could see a showdown of historic proportion. If Trump does have significant liberal tendencies that he’s hiding (Which is very possible) he might have a sudden change of heart and turn against his own cabinet.

A moment of ‘ I must return to the true faith! ‘. It would be politically a very bold and unrewarding move, but not totally without merit on the morality of it.

The next four years will likely see a defunding of the Planned Parenthood, or at least an attempt, and some type of rolling back of federal abortion rights by the Republican congress.

Not only that but any relatively minor legislative action or position passed by congress or pushed by the cabinet would most likely receive no resistance once it crossed the President’s desk.

Basically, either the President most likely won’t care and not do anything, or there’s always the  chance he decides he wants to annoy some ultra – Conservative in the cabinet who called him immoral during the campaign.

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The border wall and illegal immigration

From the very beginning, Donald Trump made stopping illegal immigration a pivotal part of his campaign.

It was the very first issue he addressed and he has mostly stuck by what he said; We are going to have a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it.

But now that Trump is finally in the position to fulfill those promises, he may find it harder to achieve them than he thought.

Building a wall across almost a 2,000 desertus mountain range isn’t precisely easy. It is true that there are natural barriers and places where building a wall would be very simple and even help stop the flood of illegal immigrants, but overall the project would be one of the most expensive border projects in American history.

Even though experts point to numbers that are much higher, the President has said that the wall would probably cost between 8 and 12 billion dollars.

The money needed to fund this massive project would have to be approved by Congress, a place where leadership still doesn’t like him and fiscal hawks will have a cow as soon as they see the bill.

The likelihood of something like this getting funding from the House is up in the air, for there are many Republicans who would gladly vote for something like that. However, the senate is a different story. Moderate Republicans in the North and Midwest might end up buckling under the weight of the bill, not to mention the strong number of Democrats supporting them. At the moment, the seat count is extremely close in the Senate ( 52-48 ) and it would only take just one or two Republicans to end the idea of a border wall.

From a political side of things, that might be what Trump wants. Letting the bill die in Congress and then using it as justification to blame moderates for stopping him from ‘ America Great Again ‘ would not only help the populists/grassroots candidates he wants, but also allow him to shrug his shoulders and say ‘ Well, I tried. ‘

Or it could go the exact opposite way in the Senate. Trump swept most of the states these Senators represent, and they could bow to political pressure from the folks back home to give Trump what he wants. The same rule could be applied to the House, but that isn’t very likely in my opinion.

But it’s not just the border he’s promised to fix. He also claimed he will deport all illegal aliens. Although some of his comments in the past are sketchy and a bit vague, it can be generally agreed that Trump plans on deporting at least the majority of illegals in the country.

That number roughed out around 6 million people. From a financial, manpower, and logical standpoint, it would be almost impossible politically and physically to forcefully deport six million people.

The reasons why are numerous, however the basics speak the loudest. First, if you agree that Congress would be hard-pressed to allow Trump the funds to build a wall, imagine the price tag on moving an amount of people that almost triples the number of Jews leaving Egypt during the biblical Exodus. And back then it was so hard to feed, cloth, and keep them safe that god literally had to send Manna from heaven!

Not only that, but think of the economic impact. Out of these roughly 6 potential deportees, around half them probably work. You can’t just yank 3-4 million people out of the workforce, it doesn’t work that way. In certain area’s in the west and southwest, an economic slowdown is very possible. Of course everything would return to normal after the shock, but it would still affect farmers and industrial companies in negative ways, as they no longer would have a source of cheap labour.

This isn’t even mentioning the cost to man the wall, upgrade custom services, keep the wall intact, and the fact that a border wall doesn’t address a major source of how illegal immigrants get in; by plane.

Up to at least 40% of illegal immigrants don’t ever cross the US border physically. They fly in and overstay. Many Latin Americans can afford a one-way ticket to the US by plane and it’s much easier than tramping across the Rio Grande or hiking between mountain ranges.

Whether or not Trump attempts to build a wall or stop illegal immigration by mass deportation is questionable, but the fact that this will be a major issue for years to come is not.

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The new Britain and brexit

Many seem to think that the start of this whole populistic resurgence began with Trump. But the truth is populism and nationalism had been stirring at high speed in Europe long before the 2016 presidential election cycle.

British government had long been skeptical of the EU, grudgingly going along with what they deemed necessary and holding out on what they could.

 A big example of this was the UK’s refusal to use the Euro as currency and the rise of the UKIP, which had been gaining in elections since 2004.

But the real first victory for this world movement came on June 24, 2016, when Britain voted 51.9% voted in favour of leaving the European Union and 48.1% voted in favour of remaining a member of the European Union.

The move surprised many and the markets immediately felt the brunt of it. The pound plummeted in value and British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned.

But the British had gotten what they wanted.

This New Britian is one that American leaders haven’t really dealt with in recent years and are not used to. It shadows a return back to the days of the 40s and 50s when nation came first  and the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States was far more pivotal than any that they had with Europe.

But even though Britain will be leaving the EU, the EU hasn’t necessary left Britain. Those most upset over the referendum results tend to be younger voters and places like Scotland where the pro-EU vote was very high.

In fact, there is even reason to believe the move will literally break the UK apart. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, shortly after Brexit, said that she would draw up a new draft for the purpose of a second Scottish referendum on leaving the UK.

The instability across the sea is causing many problems here at home in the good ol’ USA. But at least there’s one upside. America and Britain might end up being in an even closer relationship than they had before.

Don’t get me wrong, America and Britain have always been close. However, it’s not that they had a break-up. More like, they decided to start seeing other people. Britain’s closening of ties with the EU made them concentrate a bit more on themselves and Europe rather than them bloody yanks across the sea.

However, cooperation has been very strong recently. Since the Iraq war, the UK and America have slowly began reversing this course. And now that Britain is filing divorce papers with her European lover of 40 years, it seems as if the spark in the long distance Atlantic relationship is back.

First off, a more perfect time for this to happen could not have been chosen. A populist in the White House who didn’t like the EU anyway and a Britain free from the economic ticles of Europe.

Britain will need to make up for lost economic stability through gaining or expanding trade partners. And of course the United States is most likely to get a lot of the new market attention. However, there are some other factors. First off, President Trump might not be so willing to work with Britain on free trade, as he is known for being a bit of a protectionist. There’s also the chance that he would go instead to the table with the EU, although this seems unlikely. And of course there’s always the chance Britain or new British Prime Minister Theresa May might not be as inclined to trade with the Americans as many believe.

 However, at the moment the chances for a trade deal are at the highest they’ve ever been at. At home, gaining a big trade deal with Britain would be a hard thing for Democrats to attack in general, as it is something they would have eventually wanted themselves anyway. Trump could easily claim through this one deal that he made progress economically as President of the US, something that could help him win reelection.

Across the sea, it’s a bit more complicated. May is struggling to calm a nervous youth, sooth trembling moderates, and show support for the victorious; The populists. The reaction from any of these groups is a bit hard to accurately analyze, But it seems populists would be at least somewhat accepting of a trade deal with their fellow believers in America. Moderates could rally behind it to help bring back the economy, and the youth might see it as a step in the right direction to replacing the EU. Or it could go the totally other way. Moderates could be shocked May would dare try to come closer to America under Trump, the youth would hate her for the same reason, and the populists could claim she’s just trading one EU for another.

Militarily and diplomatically however, the two nations are most likely going to become much closer. And with British leaders like Nigel Farage eyeing seats of power in the government, perhaps Trump will soon deal with someone a bit more like himself

However, these is another way of looking at this. Consider the fact that the majority of the youth in Britain did not want to leave the EU and resent the older generations for forcing upon them a move they see as damaging to their futures. So perhaps with this new generation of younger, and more liberal, citizens Britain might end up going right back to where she was before. And the same goes for America.

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US President Donald Trump at NATO on May 25, 2017 from MPR News.

World vs Trump: The UN and NATO

If Trump has frightened Mexico with his stances on illegal immigration, annoyed China with rhetoric, and made the EU feel uneasy, then he certainly has terrified the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

 The president’s comments are completely unprecedented. Never has any President been so blunt when speaking about our allies in both organizations.

The President has called NATO ” obsolete “ and said that all nations need to pay their fair share of the budget. And technically, he couldn’t be more correct. Currently America contributes 650 billion dollars out of the total budget of 900 billion. That’s over 70% of NATO being funded by American tax dollars, even though NATO currently has 28 members all of whom contribute little when compared to how much the United States gives.

However, it must be understood why we do this. NATO isn’t a welfare program for nations far away hiding from the Russian bear. It is a diplomatic alliance, that America started, to primarily make sure Russia never becomes a threat again. The US has very strong interests in staying in NATO and keeping up the amount of money we give.

With the UN, things are much more grim. Trump has never been a fan of the UN, and has made that position clear. The most recent example of this was when he expressed his outrage at the UN vote to condemn the Israeli West Bank settlements.

It seems unlikely Trump will significantly stop participation in the UN, if only because he probably realizes it doesn’t accomplish anything. Not only that, but allies all over the world would be threatening, begging, doing anything they could to keep America in there. Trump might threaten action against them for political purpose on the international stage which would make populists happy, but any major withdraw from the organization is unlikely no matter who’s President.

But it is worth noting Congress would probably be much more open towards taking action against the UN than NATO. Republicans in Congress have a long history of trashing the UN and trying to take action against it. An anti-UN measure could pass the House. However, something like that probably wouldn’t pass the Senate. There would be support without a doubt, but there are enough Republican moderates who would vote against.

When it comes to NATO, Trump is much less likely to get congressional support in lowering budget contributing or troop involvement. The new President might be a bit of a Non-Interventionist, but the Republican Congress is not. There are many populists or Non-interventionists in Congress, but you’ll find that those aiming to get reelected in deep red districts will not be so quick to support any bill that comes across as America withdrawing from the world militarily.

But there are more implications to those types of statements than just what happens here at home. Across the sea in Eastern Europe, governments and leaders are shaking at the thought of America pulling out of the area. But this also has a negative effect on America. These countries, fearing American abandonment, could start looking for other ways to protect themselves. Buying illegal weapons, researching nuclear technology, or building a stronger armed forces all of which would destabilize the region, anger Russia, and embolden other nations to do the same. A domino effect.

Plus, when America does withdraw, either someone else fills the void or a vacuum ensues. And in eastern Europe, the person most likely to pick up where America left off is undoubtedly the Russian Federation.

If Trump’s comments were pure theater, he will have to work to ease fears from NATO nations and reaffirm to Russia that America will not tolerate aggression. Perhaps it would be so hard if Putin and Trump have a good relationship, or maybe it won’t matter.

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Populism: The fate of American politics

The story of European and American politics is made up of many different parties and movements. In fact, for each crisis in a nation’s history, a significant portion of it being solved was done by a political movement or party. And if the crisis overtook them, it was usually the fault of the party in power as well.

 It’s how the system works. If the people like the job the ruling party has done, they are reelected. If not, someone else is. No mercy or backup plans, just the will of the people. So with this cruel system of natural selection, it’s no surprise that most political movements have died out. Very few remain, but the one’s who have are now giants for surviving the eventual death-trap that is politics.

The oldest surviving political party in the world is the American Democratic Party, and it shows. The Party of Jackson, Van Buren, and Wilson is now the Party of FDR, LBJ, and Barack Obama. The transformation from the People’s Party to the Liberal Party was very long, and sometimes painful. Between the 1860s and the 1920s, Republicans had almost total domination of the National Political scene.

 This could be attributed to many things, but perhaps one of the biggest reasons was that for many years the Democratic Party simply didn’t know what they were. They went from William J. Bryan, the firebrand populist from Nebraska, to Woodrow Wilson, the quite intelligent and liberal college professor from New Jersey, in the course of less than 20 years.

That type of change in a party is extremely drastic. Some political movements never change and last decades, so this is definitely somewhat of a phenomenon. The reason? political movements don’t usually change. They are very inflexible and it’s mostly because they’re supporters are. But in the case of the American Democratic Party, during this time of change into a more liberal movement, the supporters didn’t change, the party just started targeting different groups.

It was quite unheard of for its time and even today for a political movement to simply abandon its base of support and survive. But even though the party has changed, it’s important to note its populist beginnings. And today with the rise of Trump, it seems we could see a return to the olden days.

Now, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that the Democratic Party will probably never reverse it’s Liberal course. But the possibility of a new American Liberalism, a Populist Liberalism, forming out of the rise of Trump is extremely possible.

But it’s important to note that the Democratic Party is not going to simply flop over and become completely populistic in the next four years just because Trump is coming to power. The fanning of the populistic Democratic flame has been going on since the 1990s and it’s finally beginning to come to prodomanice.

The year 2016 swept away populism’s greatest enemy: the Clinton war machine.

The Clinton revolution in the 1990s brought in a different type of Liberalism, a moderate liberalism.

That version of the Democratic Party defined party politics until Barack Obama brought back a more LBJ-esk version of the party. Not only that, but several of the Party bosses went down on the sinking ship with the Clintons, including the party chairmen.

There is now very little in the way of populistic Democratic leaders like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Keith Ellison from effectively running the Party for the next four years.

So what will this new Democratic Party look like? One where an importance is put on workers, the middle class, and the incoming generation of voters instead of minority groups, upper class white liberals, and moderates.

Not that the groups not empathized will be forgotten. Indeed, they will most likely flourish in the coming years. But the difference is this new party will be one that tries to take back what they have lossed. A return to the suburban home and family farm. A populistic approach to the already entrenched ideas of the Democratic Party.

So what are the implications of this new Populist Democratic Party? well for starters it’s going to make 2020 a harder year for Republicans. The wild card that was Donald Trump and Populism turned out to be successful for the Republican Party, and they are going to run with it. But in four years Republicans won’t be facing the traditional Moderate-Liberal Clinton Democrats they are used to fighting. They will no longer have an exclusive foothold on workers and the middle class; if the Democratic Populists can successfully transform their party in time.

They will most likely face an Elizabeth Warren or a Cory Booker. The nominee in 4 years will not necessarily be a populist, but they will definitely be a Liberal at the very least. This new shift in political position from Moderate Liberalism or Progressivism to Populistic Liberalism will not be without consequences. A refocus on populism could stifle support in the west and anger many traditional democrats into perhaps even leaving their party. But there are many benefits too. This new shift will launch Democrats into a position to fight back effectively against Trump’s working class appeal, a key reason why he won the election. It could also guarantee victory in the Northwest and Pennsylvania.

Whatever happens if this shift occurs, a populistic approach is one of the best tools Democrats have at fighting Donald Trump in 2020.

But populism isn’t just on the rise in Democratic America, but around the world, Europe especially. In fact, the west hasn’t seen this big of a rise in Nationalism and Populism since the beginning of World War 2. But what is interesting about its spread is that it’s not just a political movement that simply defeats its opponent. It’s infecting the entire political landscape. Every party and every movement. Its perhaps the newest evolvement in Western politics. Of course its nothing new, but Freedom and Democracy had also been around for centuries before it took its mantle as a formidable factor in politics.

With populism steadily infiltrating politics around the world and the Democratic Party poised to also convert, it seems only natural to take a look at American Liberalism’s chief rival; The Republican Party.

Not to be outdone or outshined, the Republican Party has also fielded a variety of impressive leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Calvin Coolidge.

But perhaps what is even more interesting than its leaders is the party’s history. Both the Democrats and Republicans have changed a lot since their inceptions, but the difference is Democrats have usually been more quick to embrace more liberal platforms. You’d think the party that was founded partially to destroy the institution of slavery would be bit more able to modernize, but that has actually not been the case many times for the Republicans.

Perhaps it’s not so much their inability to shift than it is their unwillingness to. Because they have done it many times. Theodore Roosevelt fought long and hard for ordinary Americans by breaking up big monopolies and creating opportunities the marketplace. In fact, such liberal interventionist policies would not be fully adopted by the Democratic Party until the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore’s cousin.

Recently however, Republicans have not been so willing to show political diversity. In fact from the 1950s onward, they have been firmly on the Conservative side of the spectrum. This showed no signs of ever changing, until a controversial businessman from New York decided he wanted to shake things up.

Republicans have almost never been populistic. The age old stereotype that Republicans support the rich does have a little truth to it. Republicans have basically always strongly supported American business, especially in issues concerning unions. And much of the time, businessmen are very wealthy. But supporting the interests of businessmen, wealthy or poor, comes into direct conflict with populism much of the time.

Therefore, out of all the directions Republicans could’ve turned towards after 60 years of a political belief dead-lock, populism would’ve been the last thing I thought they’d turn to. But hey, you can’t be right all the time.

From the moment he announced he was running for President, Trump was supposed to be a no-go. He wasn’t immediately branded a populist, but it soon began to show.

Out of all the Republican primary cycles, 2016 should’ve have been the least likely for a populist to survive. The cream of the crop for the party were represented. The Moderate, Tea Party, Libertarian, Progressive, Evangelical, and establishment wings of the party all had someone they could support. That type of primary fight was rare, and it was because usually most sides have to make a deal with the devil. With George Bush, Progressives and Libertarians had to shake their heads and go to vote for their party’s candidate anyway. But not this time. This time every member of the party had someone they could root for.

Mathematically, it should’ve come down to either Ted Cruz or John Kasich, but it didn’t. It went to Donald Trump from the very beginning. From nearly start to finish ‘ The Donald ‘ had the lead and he widened it all the way up until he became the nominee.

What’s most surprising behind all this was that Trump didn’t have any scheme in the works at RNC headquarters. The ruling faction of the party hated him from the beginning and did everything possible to end his campaign. He accomplished what was considered to be impossible up until then.

The nomination of Donald Trump wasn’t just the selection of a nominee, but of a new direction, breaking the pure red streak Republicans had had for decades. Out of the all directions the Party could’ve gone, Progressive, Tea Party or Libertarianism, it chose Populism. The GOP would never be the same.

But an attempt to change party direction isn’t new. Hoover tried it and failed. Theodore Roosevelt tried it and eventually failed, and many others who tried and failed to end the Conservative domination of the party. But what is so interesting is that those men had such a better chance at doing it. Roosevelt didn’t have to fight a nasty primary. After the assassination of William McKinley, he was given the reigns of power and the chance to change his party without even first fighting to lead it.

Hoover, who had been a popular public figure for nearly 10 years prior to his Presidency, had his many business and humanitarian successes behind him to give his idea’s legitimacy. Yet his more Progressive economic views angered Republicans in congress and he failed to change his party.

Trump didn’t have any of this. He literally walked onto stage and said he was running for President. No master plan or years of experience, just him, a suit, and an ego the size of Montana.

Trump’s victory can be explained by his popularity with the people. A special touch not seen by a Republican since Reagan. But what’ so amazing is that Trump cannot lose support. Throughout the course of the campaign he has said everything, done everything, and been everything someone should be if they want to lose a presidential contest. Yet, he still won.

The stage for populism is desperation, and I think the rise of Donald Trump best explains that. In 2012, no Republican who changed his position on abortion mid-campaign could have won. But 8 years of Liberalism, and some of the failures of it, has driven many into the arms of Trump, hoping for change.

The desperation was so widespread that not only did Republicans choose to overlook all of this, but even go beyond that and consider to his unorthodox positions.

Now of course the party isn’t completely converted, but never before has anyone gotten this far in changing the unchangeable party. But Trump is no longer fighting the establishment because he effectively is the establishment. Resistance will be met on some issues with the Republican Congress, but there’s always the possibility that Republican districts will start returning Populists to Congress, and then the change will be in full effect.

The implications of Trump smashing traditional Republican positions on foreign policy and economics are very powerful, but it is safe to say that in 4 years a large part of the party will still be in ‘ Never Trump  ‘ camp. But at no point has such a huge part of the Party supported such a massive shift in political direction and that is why this is happening.

The New Republican Party will be one that focuses more on workers, the middle class, and yes even minorities. Foreign policy will most likely take a turn towards non-interventionism however this is difficult to gage. A Republican Congress which is definitely not populistic might have other plans. This new Populist Party will most likely become more centered around fiscal and safety issues than social ones, which will have a big positive impact on Civil Rights groups and throw the future of Evangelicalism into question.

This shift will not be as drastic or controversial as many think, because it is basically already starting. Trump took over the hearts of the party long before any talk of a New Republicanism took place, and with this support he can rally them behind virtually any plan he has for their future. Trump is not fighting for the soul of the Republican Party, he’s now simply trying to secure its new future.

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Relations with Congress and Paul Ryan

A Republic, or any checks and balances system, relies a lot on relationships. The deterioration of a relationship between one branch and another can lead to a constitutional crisis, or just a rant from an angry Fox News Analyst.

And it’s for this reason that Trump’s relationship with Congress will be so imperative. It will be much more complex than recent Presidential-Congressional partnerships, even though Trump has a Republican Congress behind him.

Very few times in history has a Republican President suffered some major political differences with his party while they control Congress. Of course the occasional spat between aids or a disagreement over an appropriations bill sometimes occurs, but nothing on this big of the scale.

The reasons we will most likely see conflict between Trump and Congress are many but the main ones are simple; Trump is a populist, congressional Republicans are not, and the Speaker of House is eyeing a 2024 Presidential run.

Now it’s blatantly true both parties have taken a massive turn towards populism in recent years. The death of Clintonism, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment, and the successes of people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren all prove that.

But there is still a big portion of both parties who are not so inclined towards this new development in the evolution of politics, and much of both work on Capitol Hill.

Back in 2012, the moderate wing of the Republican party took another desperate slash at the White House; and missed it drastically.

Much of the GOP went down the gutter along with their hopes for the White House, and Party leaders looked inward to rethink their future strategies. However, one member of the so-called establishment survived the massacre; 2012 Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

The rise of this previously little known congressman from Wisconsin took place mostly behind closed doors. Ryan lived through the crash for two reasons: He dropped out of the spotlight after the loss and his noticeably fair job when debating former Vice-President Joe Biden.

He left his Party with a good image of himself, than dropped out of the headlines until he resurfaced to replace John Boehner for the position of Speaker of the House in 2015.

Because the Speaker largely avoided confrontation with any member of the Party up until the election cycle began, he became somewhat of a de facto leader for the establishment wing of the Party. And now that the establishment of the Party is coming to grips with Trump as their head, =Ryan has seemingly become the leader of the Never Trumpers and Moderates with Republicans; The last obstacle to Populism sweeping the GOP.

Even though the Ryan led House is much more friendly than the Senate to Trump’s goals as President, a sizable portion in leadership would not tolerate many of Trump’s proposals.

For instance, the Border Wall will be a grey area for many Republicans. The move will be loved by many groups such as the Freedom Caucus and Representatives from Southern and Border states. However, Northern moderates and fiscal hawks especially would be weary.

Not only that, but any attempt to make the party more populistic or any extreme moves towards the Right will probably meet resistance with the establishment and moderates.

If Ryan wasn’t a rising star in the party, he probably would not be as combative towards a Populistic legislative agenda. But the Speaker is a top contender for the 2024 GOP nomination and his main appeal when that cycle comes along is that he is a moderate. A return to the more basic and Conservative ideals of the party. And by the time that election begins, he will probably be one of the few who can offer that. It will give him a massive advantage and rolling over to Trump’s agenda now would ruin it.

Even if Trump turns out to be a very popular President with Republicans, there’s still little chance Ryan would change his tune in accordance with what Republicans want. He’d be labeled a flip-flopper and in 8 years when there will be plenty of Trump 2.0s blitzing for the nomination, he will not be a top contender in that group. Ryan has already thrown his lot in with the moderate side of the Party, and there is no effective way out now but to plow through the next 4 to 8 years.

The reason why all of this is important is because at the moment, Ryan is a fairly popular Speaker who holds great sway with his fellow party members. Unless he breaks with the very foundation of the GOP on an issue, he can pretty much determine what Congressional Republicans will do.

Now Ryan will have to chose his battles carefully if he does fight Trump. Party leaders and members don’t look kindly towards those fight amongst themselves. But he will have to take a stand at some point if he wants to keep his moderate reputation intact.

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Image of Bernie Sanders in 2016 from Atlas News.

The electoral shift

Politics, as previously stated, changes a lot. However it’s not political parties that change as often as it is the people who support them.

The year 2016 brought about a massive shocker for political strategists everywhere; a Republican can still win the Northwest.

Since the 1980s, no Republican has won Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania and no Republican ever has successfully split the Maine electoral system in two. That is, until now.

The massive electoral shift mainly affected the Democratic Party in a very severe way. Not since Reagan has the Party been given such a horse whipping in a Presidential election, and an unexpected one at that.

The downfall of the Democratic Party can be explained by looking at where the map shifted and why. The populistic appeal Trump flaunted would’ve been less successful against a Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama, but against a Hillary Clinton it was a perfect strategy. The populistic strategy works best against people who can’t connect with the population in general; and that’s basically a description of the former Secretary of State.

Another reason is Hillary simply couldn’t energize the base, the key reason why she lost. Comparing her exit polls to Barack Obama in 2012, she got less of the black, latino, and 18-25 age range share of the vote. Turn out was also low in the critical states of Wisconsin and Michigan.

But what hurt her most was the desperation of the Rust Belt. After years of loss of jobs and business, the industrial North was more vulnerable than Democratic leaders thought. If Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley had been nominated, chances are they could’ve held those states that cost Hillary Clinton the election.

Among the reasons she lost was also the fact they simply underestimated Trump. Her ground campaign was called the best in presidential electoral history, but it all amounts to nothing if the folks at headquarters don’t plan the right strategy.

They didn’t protect the flank of the party and that is what killed them. While the Clinton campaign was hitting Arizona and North Carolina, both states they thought they could win, Trump was making the rounds in states that many experts agreed he couldn’t take. However, it seems to have paid off in the end.

So what does this mean for the Electoral college in the future? Well it means that 2020 will start off as an unusually hard year for Democrats at the national level. They will no longer have the Rust Belt, New England, and Pennsylvania in their backpocket as they are used to. 2020 will start off with perhaps even a Republican advantage in those states, as Trump will likely remain popular through populistic rhetoric alone.

The good news is, 2016 essentially cleansed the Democratic Party of the hated establishment and will most likely allow a Progressive-Populist alliance to rise up and take control. The good thing about this is it will definitely energize the grassroots and eliminate the issue of Party participation. Bad news is this new platform will scare off independents and moderates in a similar way that Trump did with many on the sidelines.

From where I stand, there are two main ways of defeating ‘ The Donald ‘ on the electoral field. Either go hard center or hard left. A populistic candidate like Elizabeth Warren on the left would attract many voters the same way Trump did and could neutralize his unique impact on the Northwest. However going hard center would be beneficial as well, allowing Moderates everywhere to finally find an anti-Trump they are comfortable with voting for.

The truth is Trump’s unique grip on workers is something Democrats haven’t been used to competing with. They have learned to take for granted the power of the unions and what they offer in political capital. But I suppose like with all troubled relationships, one of the partners is going to have to show a lot of love for things to get back to normal.

Russia China.jpg
Image of Russian and Chinese leaders from National Interest.

On the off chance that Russia has been confusing you, don’t worry.

You are not alone.

Are we friends? Are we foes? What about China? Is that nation really angry with us? Or do they appreciate a business savvy man in power?

To understand our relations with foreign nations, we must first understand the relations that the United  States have had with those nations. We must also comprehend the strategy that the incoming administration has been hinting to use towards Russia and China.

First thing is first. Russia, historically, is known for its manipulative tactics. From its tsardom to the annexation of Crimea, the Federation has prided itself on being 2-steps ahead. Why? According to Russian historians, it is a sense of safety. Russia has a fear of being invaded from its borders. Being such a large nation, spanning over the space of 14 nations. That is the purpose that Tsar Nicholas II wanted to create an almighty soviet bloc. The worry that Mongolia, for example, would rise to crush the Russian people again was a very prevalent thought in the Russian’s head (maybe not today.)

Russia, like the United states, wants to be a powerhouse in the table of conversation. They want to be able to shift the conversation with the same capabilities as the United States. Vladimir Putin was a KGB member, a soviet spy. While his soviet centrism might have disappeared, the soviet child that grew up wanting to be the leaders of the war is still in him. It is in a lot of the Russian people. Picture Trump’s promises of making America great again being promised by every Russian politician since Joseph Stalin.

So Russia is not a simple hat trick. You can’t just pull a bear out of that hat. Russia has the nuclear capability and military capacity to match our strength. They should not be threatened or angered, but also they must not be treated with fear and submission. To the credit of Trump, he has handled Russia very well. He has made a friend out of Putin, but also displayed himself as a no-nonsense leader.

Trump also put in place as Secretary of state the most Russian-friendly businessman out there. Rex Tillerson has received the medal of friendship from Russian president Vladimir Putin and has spent years of his life in Russia while working for Exxon -Mobil company.

He has also worked on ending the sanctions against businesses in Russia. He is the perfect person to head the Russian initiative as he is probably closer to Putin than to Obama.

Rex Tillerson even refused to call Russia a war criminal when he was being questioned by Senator Marco Rubio.

So from what we can see, Russia is tamed. Two Russian friendly businessmen are in charge of Russian affairs. That does have it pros and cons. On one hand, Russia will be very friendly to the United States. On another hand, Russia has a large sphere of influence in our own White house now.

What problematic is that Russia is not where it ends. Russia is just the beginning. China is our next biggest issue. What is the most intimidating factor about China? Take it from someone who studied China’s history and politics for a very long time when I tell you that the biggest worry about China is that we do not know enough about China.

Yeah, they have a large military, yeah they have human rights issues, yeah they have the most polluted air in the world. But what we do not know about China is their strategy.

What approach do they take with their enemies? When do we know we’re in danger with China? Who are China’s allies?

We can speculate about those answers, but the reality is that we do not truly know, and that is what’s scary. There are regions in China that the Chinese government does not permit the access of. During the Beijing Olympics, the media attempted to gain access or even some insight on what is being denied access to. That is all part of the mysterious nature of the Chinese.

Trump has upset the Chinese on different incidents. The first one was when president Trump took a call from Taiwan, a move that upsets the Chinese because of their long stand-offish history with the territory.

The second incident was when Trump said there will be no “one-policy China”.Trump of course was referring to the Chinese government and how they need to hold elections instead of keeping their nation under just one political party and system. China responded angrily with absolute refusal in recognizing Trump’s interference in his nation’s politics.

A third incidents occurred when Trump said the Chinese should not be supporting North Korea. While that might be a no brainier to people in the west, China does not really seem to respond well when being told what to do.

So, it is safe to say that we are better friends with Russia than we are China for the first time in decades. What Trump will do with foreign policy will be a very close-watched ordeal. Trump supporters claim that a friendship with Russia will undoubtedly halt any ideas that China has of aggression. Let’s hope we don’t have to see that first hand.

The outgoing administration of Obama has warned of Russia on several different occasions.

Obama himself slapped sanctions on Russia and warned about the danger that we would face as a nation if we do not sleep with one eye open.

Trump is said to remove those sanctions and keep his relations with Russia sacred.

Middle East .jpg
Image of explosion in the Middle East from Atlas News.

Piece of the Middle East

Trump’s Middle Eastern policies have frequently been fickle. Initially, during the debates, he said he would remove American involvement in the Middle East and “let the folks over there fight each other”, He has also been quoted as saying, ” We will eliminate ISIS”. It is still unclear what approach he will take in the Middle East, but there will be plenty of conflicts of interest to be considered.

The first conflict will arise when he has to choose between supporting Assad and Russia during their war efforts, or continue aiding the rebels as the Obama administration has done. Obviously he does have a third option of not being involved at all. But that might not boad well for his friend Putin.

Trump must also decide how to handle the Palestinian and Israeli issue. his unwavering support for Israel is admirable among t his colleagues, but if supporting one side was the solution to the problem, we would have solved this issue long before we entered in this century, Unfortunately, the issues of that conflict are much more complex than a tweet by the president. He has to decide how to handle being a supporter of Israel, meanwhile, justifying to the American people why the man that does not want to spend American money on foreign land is giving Israel 300 Billion dollars a year of tax payer money.

The gulf states have been under the microscope for a while in the Arab world for their lack of humanitarianism. Will president Trump ignore those issues? Or will he risk the many buildings and businesses he has in those states in order to come off as a powerful and just leader?

Iraq has been something of an issue for the United States since the 1990s. Do we help in the fight against ISIL? Or do we stand by and risk ISIL advancement? Do we put more troops on the ground? Or do we only get involved when things get bad? Should we have a say in who is the next leader? Or should we let the last 14 years of war be to no avail?

The middle East itself is a complicated issue, and unfortunately president trump has not been very clear on the issues at hand. He has said whatever would get him more support at the moment. To veterans he has said we will end the war, and to war-hawks in the south he claimed we will crush ISL.

Libya has no leadership, Egypt needs our support, Jordan is an important ally, Pakistan has nuclear weapons and Afghanistan is once again being a hot-spot for terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and Taliban. When Trump discusses these issues with his staff, we might get a more clear idea on what he is planning to do. But we cannot assume that he will have much experience with foreign policy in general. In fact, only two members of his cabinet picks have had any real experience with foreign policy; John Kelly and James Mattis.

Netanyahu Trump.jpg

The Jewish complex

 The United States has been, throughout much of its history, a relatively neutral nation. Washington and many other American Founding Fathers warned against interfering in places where they could not win, and where they shouldn’t be involved.

However, the beginning of the 20th century saw this policy come crashing to the ground and from then on, America remained mostly active in the world community. This has brought its own challenges and benefits, and perhaps the most complex area of American interest lies in the Middle East on the Mediterranean coast; The country of Israel.

The nation of Israel had a very rough beginning, as it was forced to fight for survival for most of its existence. And America has played the biggest role in helping them win that fight. Each American President since Truman has had to deal with how best to handle the sometimes wily Jewish state, and now it is President Trump’s turn.

Republicans, in general, have been very supportive of Israel and it looks as if Trump will be no different; in fact, based on his statements, he might be the best ally they’ve ever had.

Since the beginning of the campaign,Trump has spoken out in strong support of Israel, most recently during the UN condemnation of the Israeli settlement plans.

Trump came out strongly against the US government abstaining from the vote in the UN, and his pick for UN ambassador former North Carolina Governor Nikki Haley also expressed disgust.

It was an extremely rare action by the US government, and blowback came back hard from Congress and both parties. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also expressed anger at the move, as he has with many of President’s Obama’s actions as President.

Trump is poised to most likely be the most beneficial President Israel has ever had to work with. He has supported almost every cause and move by the Israeli government and has vowed to give them more funding and leaway.

Most of his foreign policy can be enacted just by executive order, but at the moment it seems anything needing Congressional support would fly through. No Republican in the House or Senate would dare to vote against an Israeli bill, except perhaps a few Progressives or fiscal hawks such as Rand Paul. The reason is not supporting Israel in the Republican Party is like not supporting the KKK while being a white supremacist.

The two almost always go hand-in-hand plus Party leaders and bosses would be some of the first to support it, considering the fact that they have a major political future and appearing to be anti-Israel would kill it. Even many Democrats would be hard pressed to when reelection while voting against Israeli supporting bills (Democratic seats in the Midwest and West especially would be vulnerable).

Trump’s foreign policy, if in fact it is exclusively Pro-Israeli, could dash hopes for a US led peace agreement between Palestine and Israel. Palestine would not be willing to work with any nation that blasts them or supports Israel at the extreme level that Trump does.

Even if the Fatah would be willing to set aside all of that, they’d still be extremely disinclined to deal with Trump based purely on his support for the Jewish settlements. Not only that, but Trump’s pick for the Israeli ambassador, David M. Friedman, is a big supporter of the West Bank settlements.

Most foreign nations would probably publically express dismay at ‘ Support now, ask later ‘ Trump policy towards Israel. However, nothing extremely damaging with her close allies. Europe and North America is used to the American-Israeli international relationship. Plus, this would just confirm what most Non-Americans think anyway.

Overall, there is a big change for US policy towards Israel on the horizon, and it’s definitely going to be positive.


Hello Canada, meet President Trump

 Donald Trump’s election win confirmed on Nov 9 was shocking, groundbreaking and even concerning for people around the globe.

Although it has not been mentioned much when it comes to the incoming administration, Canada is indeed the oldest and greatest ally of the United States. Mr Trump said it was the UK but really, they’ve been intertwined since 1867.

We don’t have the most clear information on everything that’s going to happen. With Mr Trump’s unpredictability, we don’t know if and when every policy might come to light.

However, when Trump aide Kellyanne Conway was questioned about the President mocking a disabled reporter on CNN, she told us to look at Trump’s heart, not “what’s come out of his mouth”.

Trade has been one of the key words out of the President’s mouth in the campaign and during the transition. Trump wants to either extinguish or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada sends 75% of its exports to its southern neighbor.

The climate policy of Mr. Trump says that he’ll pull the U.S. from international climate agreements. He also stated he’ll burn away greenhouse-gas policies with major cuts to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which will have a significant effect on climate projects between Ottawa and Washington.

Trump has repeatedly demanded a renegotiation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement — or he says he’ll cancel it. That may cause jitters to the north, given that Canada sends three-quarters of its exports south.

Trump has said several times he favours construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta. A campaign document suggested he’d invite TransCanada Corporation to reapply.

If he’s serious about proceeding, it could be a bit of welcome news for the Canadian government. Trudeau had supported the pipeline, and now faces political dilemmas at home related to new pipelines.

Publicly, however, Trump has said he would block the pipeline unless the U.S. is granted a “big, big, chunk” of its profits.

“I want 25 per cent of the deal for the United States . . . I want a big piece of the deal. Otherwise I’m not going to approve it,” Trump said while campaigning for the Republican Party nomination in January.

Trudeau went to the airport to welcome Syrian refugees. Trump refers to the refugees as a Trojan horse.

His son tweeted a comparison to a bowl of Skittles, where only one bad one can kill you. Canada works closely with the US on intelligence and screening of foreigners.

It’s an integral part of ongoing plans to thin the Canada-U.S. border and facilitate trade. It’s far from certain a Trump administration would be keen on more refugees next door.

Even before Tuesday’s election, CNBC reported that the number of Americans searching for jobs in Canada had increased a whopping 58% since last year on the jobs-posting platform Monster Worldwide.

Trump has threatened to leave allies to their own devices if they fail to meet the agreed-upon NATO target of spending two per cent of GDP on the military. Canada is nowhere close and recently said it had no current plans to get there.

Trudeau’s affection for President Barack Obama was obvious during their meetings. He’ll soon face a less predictable interlocutor.

Trudeau bit his tongue, mostly, during the campaign but he did make clear his displeasure with Trump’s talk of a Muslim ban.

One benefit working for Ottawa: Trump and his team have said virtually nothing negative about Canada during the campaign — unlike the constant complaints about their neighbour to the south.

Mr Stephen Harper, former leader of Canada, said that he supported Trump’s trade policy on Thursday.

Whatever lies in store for Canada and the world from US President Donald Trump, we will soon find out for sure.

Article originally posted on Atlas News and owned by the Ridder Media Group and The Guelph-Humber Post. Written by Caleb Mills, Eli Ridder and Sam Abughazaleh. Exclusive is 10460+ words with files from BBC News, CBC News, CNN, and Reuters news agency. 


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