Ques­tions re­main af­ter huge Trump win

County foot­ball teams ready for post­sea­son Cam­paign pledges will be put to test


CQ-Roll Call

— Now that Don­ald Trump has proved the Washington es­tab­lish­ment wrong by win­ning the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, his next hur­dle will be get­ting the Congress he railed against to go along with the of­ten scat­ter­shot pol­icy pro­pos­als that buoyed his vic­tory.

The Repub­li­cans who will con­trol both cham­bers of


Congress af­ter Tues­day night’s sweep share party loy­alty with the pres­i­den­t­elect, an ad­van­tage that will al­most cer­tainly mean swift ac­tion on Trump’s promised con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court nom­i­nees. But the clar­ity ends there.

Trump re­port­edly met Wed­nes­day with ad­vis­ers to hash out his goals for his first 100 days in of­fice, with a key fo­cus on a tran­si­tion plan that was de­liv­ered to Trump Tower the day be­fore. Aides have fo­cused on things Trump can do uni­lat­er­ally, such as rolling back reg­u­la­tions, CNN re­ported. Big spender? But Trump has of­fered few specifics on many of his core pol­icy pro­pos­als — in­clud­ing cam­paign-defin­ing pledges to build a wall along the Mex­i­can border, to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture, and to re­vive the Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try. But a com­mon thread to many of his ideas is bound to ran­kle both the elites and the far-right in the party that he now leads: They would re­quire a lot of gov­ern­ment money.

And though Trump’s pres­i­dency will be­gin with a much friend­lier leg­isla­tive branch than what Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has dealt with for the last six years, he will still face the chal­lenge of unit­ing a party that frac­tured around his very nom­i­na­tion and a Se­nate ma­jor­ity that falls short of the 60 votes needed to over­come a fil­i­buster.

“I hope he’s got thick skin, be­cause he’s about to catch a whole lot of in­com­ing (fire), and it’s not nec­es­sar­ily all go­ing to come from Democrats,” said Mark Harkins, a se­nior fel­low at The Gov­ern­ment Af­fairs In­sti­tute at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity. “This bud­get stuff is very hard.”

Trump can make in­roads on a few of his core pro­pos­als through ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions, such as re­peal­ing Obama’s 2014 or­der pro­tect­ing un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion or mak­ing lim­ited ad­just­ments to in­ter­na­tional trade agree­ments.

Oth­ers, such as his stated pri­or­ity to re­peal the 2010 health care law — a goal that would re­quire Demo­cratic sup­port in the Se­nate — he and Repub­li­cans in Congress could chip away at through the ap­pro­pri­a­tions process.

Over the course of a fouryear term, such in­cre­men­tal and mar­ginal ac­tions could amount to mod­est change. But if Trump has let on any­thing about his po­ten­tial gov­ern­ing style dur­ing the last year of his cam­paign, it’s that he prefers dra­matic ges­tures. Glaciers move faster En­act­ing sweep­ing changes will re­quire buy-in from a Congress that prefers de­lib­er­a­tion. This is a body that has had trou­ble passing even rou­tine spend­ing bills for many years, in­clud­ing dur­ing pe­ri­ods of uni­fied gov­ern­ment. Pol­icy ex­perts pre­dict that, even with Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling all three branches of gov­ern­ment, the task will not be easy.

“It’s hard to say how Trump will gov­ern, but he seems like the type to hold a grudge,” said Bran­don Rot­ting­haus, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Hous­ton. “That’s a dan­ger­ous thing in a po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment that re­quires give and take.”

If he has pro­vided any road map to his first pri­or­i­ties in of­fice, it would be his vic­tory speech Wed­nes­day morn­ing. He said he planned to “fix our in­ner cities and re­build our high­ways, bridges, tun­nels, air­ports, schools, hos­pi­tals.” He would “take care of our great vet­er­ans who have been so loyal.” And he would “dou­ble our growth and have the strong­est econ­omy any­where in the world.”

Pol­icy ex­perts said Trump will most likely start with is­sues that have bi­par­ti­san ap­peal — such as im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture and child care — or that align with the GOP’s stated agenda — such as his tax pro­posal, which closely matches much of a tome House Speaker Paul D. Ryan re­leased in June.

Trump’s un­ex­pected suc­cess in Rust Belt states like Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin — con­sid­ered a ma­jor fac­tor in his vic­tory — will also likely prod him to move early on his prom­ise to rene­go­ti­ate the trade poli­cies that many blue-col­lar vot­ers feel have cost them their jobs, but that could put him at odds with pro-busi­ness mem­bers of his party who sup­port free trade.

Af­ford­able child care ad­vo­cates said Trump’s pro­pos­als for paid ma­ter­nal leave and child care tax cred­its would likely get bi­par­ti­san sup­port.

“That’s why we saw it from both can­di­dates who were run­ning for pres­i­dent,” said Michelle McCready, chief of pol­icy at Child Care Aware. “It is a core is­sue that our coun­try is grap­pling with.”

Pa­tri­cia Cole, se­nior direc­tor of fed­eral pol­icy at Zero to Three, a non­par­ti­san group that fo­cuses on early child­hood de­vel­op­ment, said Trump’s sup­port of the is­sue was a coup.

“This is not a Repub­li­can is­sue or a Demo­cratic is­sue, it’s re­ally a baby and fam­ily is­sue,” she said. Friendly fire But most of Trump’s pro­pos­als will en­counter re­sis­tance, even within his own party.

“Most of his ma­jor pro­pos­als, like any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, re­quire re­sources,” Harkins said. “The wall needs money. The in­fra­struc­ture stuff he was talk­ing about last night needs money. Re­form­ing the tax code to give back to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, that needs re­sources. ... The ques­tion be­comes, in an era of high bud­get deficits of over half a tril­lion dol­lars, where are we go­ing to find those re­sources?”

Harkins said Trump’s op­tions would in­clude cut­ting do­mes­tic pro­grams, re­form­ing en­ti­tle­ment pro­grams or al­low­ing the na­tional debt to in­crease — all tac­tics that would face fierce re­sis­tance from fac­tions in the Repub­li­can Party.

“This coun­try is hard to change, and when you have con­trol of all the levers, you be­lieve that’s what you were elected to do,” Harkins said. “I think they’ll find out there’s a math prob­lem with a lot of what they want to do. They in­ter­nally can’t solve it, and I can tell you the Democrats aren’t go­ing to help them.”

In his cor­ner, Trump will have ad­vo­cates like Alabama Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, an early backer who ap­peared at Trump’s vic­tory party. Ses­sions, though, has built a rep­u­ta­tion as a deficit hawk and might have to pivot to ad­vo­cate for Trump’s pro­grams.

Michele Sw­ers, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, warned against un­der­es­ti­mat­ing Trump’s abil­ity to get Congress to spend. She said that mem­bers might feel grate­ful to Trump that a fore­casted down-bal­lot mas­sacre failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize.

Sw­ers also pointed out that Ge­orge W. Bush — the last Repub­li­can in the Oval Of­fice — man­aged to get Congress to pass Medi­care Part D, which added hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars to the na­tional debt.

“He’s their stan­dard- bearer,” she said. “He’s got a lot of clout with them at the mo­ment.”

Rot­ting­haus, of the Univer­sity of Hous­ton, said Trump might not need to re­al­ize some of his more out­ra­geous pro­pos­als to ap­pease much of his base.

“If he did, he would face an im­me­di­ate road block in Congress,” Rot­ting­haus said. “These are not rea­son­able so­lu­tions to com­plex prob­lems.”

Vot­ers don’t want a phys­i­cal wall as much as they want the sense of job se­cu­rity Trump promised it would bring, he said. They don’t want a Mus­lim ban as much as the sense of safety from the threats Trump as­so­ci­ated with those who prac­tice the re­li­gion.

Trump also comes to of­fice with a broad swath of sup­port that de­fies party molds, a base he could lever­age to ap­peal for public sup­port if he faces re­sis­tance in Washington.

And then there’s the ques­tion of 2018.

Democrats will be de­fend­ing 25 of the 33 states hold­ing a Se­nate elec­tion next cy­cle, in­clud­ing up to a dozen vul­ner­a­ble Demo­cratic in­cum­bents run­ning for re-elec­tion in con­ser­va­tive or com­pet­i­tive states. Repub­li­cans then have an op­por­tu­nity to reach a fil­i­buster-proof ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate.


Pres­i­dent Barack Obama shakes hands with Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day in the Oval Of­fice of the White House in Washington, D.C., in their first public step to­ward a tran­si­tion of power.

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