Donald Trump’s shocking win last Tuesday was a seismic blow to the American political establishment of the past eight years. His victory completely gutted the mainstream polling industry, shattered the expectations of nearly every political pundit, and signified the largest juxtaposition between any two administrations in the modern era.
For conservatives, Trump’s electoral landslide victory represents a chance to begin anew after enduring eight stormy years of the most liberal administration in contemporary times. A conservative administration, supplemented by Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate offers a chance for Republicans to curb back drastically the policies of the Obama presidency. The Republicans have not been this well off since 2004, and not since 1928 have their majorities been this sizable.
Over the next four years, we should expect the country to take a dramatic turn rightward, enmeshing the hardline policies of “Trumpism” with the free-market libertarianism of House Speaker Paul Ryan. At the top of the agenda includes repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, clamping down on border security, and tackling a number of fiscal issues. Another top priority is finding a justice to fill in the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by Antonin Scalia after his death in February. The Republican Party took a huge risk by not allowing a hearing for Merrick Garland, who many saw as being relatively moderate. Now, we can expect Trump to select somebody more in line with the philosophy of Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both of whom are far more conservative than Garland. Trump will also nominate an attorney general who will stand by the president-elect’s call for restoration of “law and order.” It remains to be seen whether or not he or she will follow through with Trump’s call to “jail” former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, which was the desire of his rowdiest supporters. If an ostensibly hardline law-and-order candidate like Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Governor Chris Christie gets the bid, it will be interesting to see the path of action they pursue.
To many on the left, Trump’s victory was the ultimate setback for their movement. And while it is true that as of today, president-elect Trump did not receive a plurality of the total popular vote (there are still votes coming in), his administration has a mandate as a result of not only his success, but the overwhelming successes of the Republican Party at large this election cycle in down-ballot state and local offices. Since 2009 when President Obama took office, the Democratic Party reduced their gubernatorial majority from 29 to 15. Also during this time, the Republican Party made significant progress by taking back the House in 2010 as well as the Senate by 2014 (Republicans are also poised to fare well in the 2018 midterms). Even though President Obama won a second term despite lackluster economic growth and mediocre approval ratings, his margin of victory was less than it had been just four years earlier, bucking a trend that is typical for incumbent presidents and foreshadowing the Democrats’ portentous fate in 2016.
It shouldn’t be discounted just how profound an effect Donald J. Trump’s victory will have on the direction of the country. As a political maverick with pervasive appeal to blue collared workers and no prior political experience whatsoever, his victory represents more than just a desire to rollback globalization for purging manufacturing jobs out of the industrial Midwest. And contrary to some on the left, it should also not be misconstrued as a “white lash” by middle America, nor a movement to make America “racist” again.
No, Donald Trump’s victory is much more about jobs and campaign promises. His candidacy was a populist insurrection by average Americans who felt alienated for too long by the leadership out of Washington by both major parties. His electoral college sweep should be perceived as a complete and total rejection of the leadership and policies of President Obama. His crass demeanor is a stark contrast from the politically correct insularity furnished in universities and liberal hubs in major cities nationwide. To many Americans, this attitude is reinvigorating and signifies a shift toward pragmatism when addressing some of the country’s tougher issues, like immigration and international terrorism. Ultimately, Trump will prove himself to be the president for all Americans – Republican and Democrat. He will offer a unifying vision for the country, and will work tirelessly to garner the respect of even his fiercest critics now protesting in the streets.
Given that so many Americans felt this country was headed in the wrong direction, it should, in hindsight, come as no surprise that the change agent candidate came out on top this time around. It’s now time to unify around the people’s choice, and, for the good of the country, wish for Trump’s presidency to be a resounding success.