Half of the country is excited about President-elect Donald Trump; half is not. What can he do to win over more Americans? Simple; charge out of the gate on January 21 with a bevy of policies that voters will like.
Here are five things Trump should do on Day One:
1. Call for term limits in Congress.
2. Walk away from the TPP.
3. Call for a halt to admitting Syrian refugees until the authorities have the vetting process down cold.
4. Issue an executive order rescinding Congress’ exemption from Obamacare, an excellent idea proffered by Heather Higgins, President of the Independent Women’s Voice. As she suggests, there’s nothing like skin in the game to light a fire under legislators. Next, announce that Congress will repeal Obamacare to take effect December 2018. Meanwhile, allow insurers to immediately begin offering state-legal policies without the ACA’s expensive and unwieldy mandates. Make it clear that no one will lose coverage.
5. Approve the Keystone Pipeline.
For soon-to-be President Trump, there is no single act that could more swiftly satisfy his pledge to “Drain the Swamp” than calling for term limits. Ethics watchdogs say that nothing is a greater predictor of corruption than time in office. Former Representative Chaka Fattah, recently sentenced to ten years in prison for bribery and corruption, is a perfect example.
He has served for 20 years. The longest sentence ever awarded a member of Congress was the 13-year term given to Louisiana’s William Jefferson in 2009 after $90,000 was discovered in his freezer. He had served for 18 years. In the 2012 listing of Most Corrupt House members by left-leaning ethics watchdog CREW, the average time in office was eight terms. That’s too long to feed at the public trough.
A Rasmussen poll in October found that 74 percent of the country backed term limits for members of Congress; in 2013, Gallup concluded that 75 percent of Americans felt the same way. Our founding fathers never imagined “career politicians,” and we should not accept the notion either.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership multi-nation trade pact, proposed and endorsed by President Obama, has been attacked from right and left. Indeed, denouncing the TPP may have been the only policy that Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton (after some persuasion) and Bernie Sanders all agreed upon.
Polling from Pew and a YouGov survey for The Economist shows that most registered voters also oppose the TPP. To explain why he is scuttling the deal, Trump can cite a comprehensive World Bank study — one of the few done on the pact — which concludes that Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia will be the big beneficiaries of the agreement. The benefits to the U.S. are described as “limited.” Much better, Trump can assert, to craft bilateral deals that can actually help the U.S.
As for NAFTA, Trump should promise that negotiations to overhaul the agreement will be initiated in his first year. That 1993 deal is woefully out of date; e-commerce, for instance, is not even mentioned. But, jettisoning NAFTA immediately is not feasible. Too many supply chains run across our borders; reckless tinkering would undermine numerous industries. Lofting uncertainty onto U.S. businesses as the Obama White House did was a major factor in slowing the recovery. Trump will not repeat that mistake.
In 2015 Donald Trump was pilloried for advocating “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a position he took in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. After reports that Syrian refugees may have been behind terror attacks in Europe, Trump refined his proposal, suggesting we should "suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies.” In other words, Trump opposed President Obama’s plan to admit at least 10,000 refugees from Syria, a goal the White House exceeded last year.
Polling after the Paris terror attacks showed more than half the country agreed with Trump. A more recent survey, taken by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, showed that only 36 percent of the country backed settling Syrian refugees on our soil.
Trump should suspend the program to admit refugees from war-torn countries until our intelligence agencies can prove their ability to truly “vet” newcomers from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. The United States can and should do more to help settle these struggling peoples in other countries in the Middle East; there is no reason to import trouble.
Having pledged to do so, Trump and Republicans in Congress must immediately address Obamacare. On day one, President Trump should support the repeal, but push the effective date to the end of 2018. Congress will be instructed to recraft the failing program in the interim, allowing for more market-based solutions, reducing Obamacare’s costly and absurd mandates and allowing religious groups more flexibility in providing controversial coverage. Trump must make it clear that no one will lose his health coverage, that the needy will be able to access care and that the changes will target lower costs. He has already promised to keep the popular parts of the ACA, which allow children to stay on their parents’ program and which guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
Finally, Trump will approve the Keystone Pipeline. A majority of the country backs the pipeline, which has been reviewed ad nauseum, and which will create jobs. Even Obama’s State Department could find no authentic reason to oppose it. Trump will let this valuable conduit to one of the world’s largest energy reserves move forward. Even Canada’s progressive new leader Justin Trudeau has supported Keystone. This is a slam-dunk.
Consumer optimism just hit a twelve-month high. Imagine what this Day One program would do.