Right after Donald Trump won in 2016, I wrote a post here titled, “Suggested ‘First Things First’ for Trump.” Given that he has no idea who I am, and my being a Democrat who voted for Bernie, I had no delusions that he’d heed my advice. But still…I must say that my comments might have been prescient.
The loss of the House obviously resulted from many factors, but the consensus seems to be that the biggest one was the GOP attack on Obamacare. As a supporter of that program (indeed, of Medicare for All, funded by employer tax), I warned in November 2016 that the health care issue (from both directions) led to Bill Clinton’s loss of the House in 1994 and Obama’s in 2010. I wrote,
Do NOT go headlong into the health care issue early in your term. It’s the new Third Rail, as seen in the huge midterm election losses experienced by Bill Clinton and Obama, largely due to controversy over health care. Yes, Obamacare is beginning to run into some serious problems, but go slowly on this one. And remember, many of those who voted for you have found Obamacare to be the solution to scary situations they had found themselves in.
I also wrote,
Focus on solutions, not retributions. Resist the chants of “Lock her up!”, for instance.
Seems that these days divisiveness is the New Normal. Both parties seem to exist solely for the purpose of sabotaging each other, and the press has been egging them on. Trump, of course, loves to gives the press red meat in that regard, but can’t he be just a wee bit less outrageous in his comments?
Mind you, I’d be the first to concede that the press has been horribly unfair to Trump. Indeed, I’ve said so, more than once. And the ejection of Jim Acosta should have come long ago, as I said back in 2017. But again, Trump should have handled it more calmly, simply giving Acosta a Penalty Card, having him leave the room, rather than giving the journos a chance to cite freedom of the press and make comparisons to China. Trump should have pointed out that he didn’t eject any other liberal writers; Acosta was ejected simply because he was being a jerk.
One more of my suggestions from November 2016:
Take a balanced, practical approach to unauthorized immigration. Assure people that you don’t plan to be any more aggressive in deportation than Obama has been; the ethnic activists say even that has been far too much, but you will get much credit if you give some assurance to the actual people at risk. On the other hand, take steps to solve the jobs and fiscal problems caused by the illegal inflow. You’ve threatened to withhold federal dollars from Sanctuary Cities, who after all, are flouting federal law. I agree with that (with a “devil in the details” disclaimer), but how about going further, doing something on the same lines for E-Verify? For instance, press cities and states to require that any business seeking a license utilize E-Verify in its hiring; to not do so amounts to encouraging hiring of the unauthorized, again flouting federal law, thus providing justification for your action.
Look, most of us liberals are not happy with the caravans coming from the South (though many would not say so publicly). Indeed, blue collar Latino and black communities — ostensibly objects of great sympathy from those of us on the left — are the biggest victims of the failure by both parties to solve the (admittedly complex) problems of the undocumented. But again, Trump’s choice of language has greatly exacerbated the problem, and his failure to stand up to the more extreme positions pushed by his advisers, notably on the decision to separate parents and kids at the border, has greatly harmed him, without contributing at all to a solution. As I pointed out then, E-Verify, properly promoted and enforced, would help a ton.
I’m not saying Trump shouldn’t be Trump. But maybe a 98% Trump would help?