Pondering Trump’s policies
Speculation begins on what his administration will mean to Maryland
WASHINGTON — Voters, advocates and political leaders in Maryland and across the nation started to come to grips Wednesday with Donald Trump’s stunning win in the presidential election — and quickly began to calculate how a new, untested administration will affect them.
President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans appealed for unity, just days after each had cast the other as incompetent and corrupt. Democrat Hillary Clinton, appearing for the first time since the polls closed, described her loss as “painful” but said Trump deserved open minds and a “chance to lead” from the voters who supported her.
What that leadership might look like remains uncertain and worrying for some — particularly in a place like Maryland, home to hundreds of thousands of government employees, massive military bases and large federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring and the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn.
Trump won the election on a promise to “drain the swamp” — his characterization of a federal ecosystem on which Maryland’s economy has long relied.
With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress in hand next year, Trump is likely to press for changes to — if not an outright repeal of — the Affordable Care Act, more stringent enforcement against illegal President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a victory rally in Midtown Manhattan early Wednesday, after being declared the winner in the presidential race.
immigration and a reduction of environmental regulations that Republicans say stifle economic growth.
“Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election,” Obama said Wednesday. “The path that this country has taken has never been a straight line.”
In Maryland — where nearly 60 percent of the vote went to Clinton — officials began to tally up the ways a Trump administration might bring change. Some of those Democrats were seeking areas of agreement; others suggested the onus was on Trump to reach across the racial and political divide exposed by his unorthodox campaign.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who said before the election that he would not vote for Trump, issued a tepid statement Wednesday promising to “work with the new administration on behalf of all Marylanders,” but aides declined to answer questions about areas of potential agreement or discord.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie RawlingsBlake, a Democrat, declined to address Trump’s election at all.
The relative silence from Maryland leaders likely signaled uncertainly about what Trump’s presidency will look like. During the campaign, Trump regularly broke with Republican orthodoxy, was short on policy specifics, and was inconsistent or contradictory in describing his plans.
But the lack of detail belied the significance of policies potentially in the cross hairs of a Trump administration.
Rawlings-Blake made her encouragement of immigrants to move to Baltimore to expand the city’s population a centerpiece of her administration. Trump has called for cutting funding to so-called sanctuary cities, an idea congressional Republicans embraced this year.
There’s no consensus definition of “sanctuary city,” and it has never been clear whether funding for Baltimore would be in danger under the GOP proposals.
What is certain, though, is that Central Maryland is home to a disproportionately large share of Central American immigrants fleeing violence at home. Trump has vowed to rescind executive actions signed by Obama to defer deportations for many of those people, including some brought to the country illegally as children.
The immigrant advocacy group CASA expressed dismay at Trump’s victory and suggested that the group could shift at least some resources to lobbying local governments for support.
“We obviously have concerns with a Trump presidency, from mass deportations to work site raids to canceling the progress that was made under the Obama administration,” CASA’s Kim Propeack said.
“We also believe ... local communities and states have a real opportunity to step up and make great policies that will protect their residents.”
Others saw promise for Maryland in some of Trump’s proposals, such as an easing of the across-the-board defense spending cuts approved by Congress three years ago.
Democrats have long been reluctant to raise those military spending caps unless Republicans agree to raise non-military spending in exchange.
But Democrats will have less leverage next year to make that case.
Baltimore County Rep. Andy Harris, who backed Trump’s campaign after the primary, said he thinks that could have a major economic impact on the state. Maryland is home to several major military installations, including Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Naval Academy and Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
Trump, who remained out of public view Wednesday, was expected to consider several loyal supporters for top jobs, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for attorney general or national security adviser and campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker were expected to be under consideration for foreign policy posts.
A transition team chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been working in Washington since the summer. The group has been run by Rich Bagger, a longtime Christie adviser; William Hagerty, a key player on 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s transition team; and other establishment hands.
After struggling for months with Trump’s takeover of their party, Republican leaders embraced the businessman in victory. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was lukewarm in his support during the campaign, praised him for pulling off “the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime.”
“He just earned a mandate,” Ryan declared.
An incoming Trump administration could change the dynamic of the city’s negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department over policing practices in the city. The current Justice Department, which under Obama has expanded the pressure it applies on local law enforcement, found a widespread pattern of civil rights abuses in Baltimore.
City and federal officials have been negotiating reforms to address those problems. It’s not clear how a Trump adminis- tration would handle those cases. But as a candidate, he spoke of expanding the use of controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing, and increasing support for law enforcement more generally.
The Justice Department declined to say whether negotiations could wrap by year’s end; officials have already missed one deadline. But even the possibility that a Trump administration might offer Balti-