By Conor Holohan
Since Donald Trump won the American presidency, albeit by the grace of the Electoral College, some important questions have been answered regarding his actual positions on policy.
Let’s start with the policy that any future appointments to the Supreme Court would have to be ‘pro-life’ and would have to defend the constitutional right to bear arms – Of course, nobody is going to win the presidency with an agenda of removing the constitutional right to bear arms, it really means defending the right to buy an assault rifle off the shelves at a local supermarket. These are standard red state policies, keeping the Bible Belt and other socially conservative areas voting Republican like they always have. The pro-life stance is concerning because outlawing various forms of abortion does not stop them from taking place, it just creates more stigma, makes it more dangerous by taking qualified doctors out of the equation and sends a message to the people that those who choose to abort a pregnancy are immoral and worthy of public shaming.
Obamacare is something Donald Trump used against the Democrats in the lead up to the election, normally referring to it as a disaster. One of his biggest and most well-known policy positions was to repeal and replace Obamacare entirely. In a 60 Minutes interview, the future president was much less critical and said he would like to keep certain branches of Obamacare, specifically those which affect young children and those with long-term conditions. Though this will be pleasant news to Democrats in America, it is also a massive policy shift and does raise ethical questions about the seeking of office.
Another big shift of policy has centred on the fabled wall. Trump has assured his public the wall is still very much happening, but now we’ve learned that some of the wall will be a wall, and some of the wall will be fence. Granted, ‘We’re going to build a fence in some areas and a wall in others’, isn’t the most catchy policy position, but again it raises the question of whether President Trump is going to fulfil the promises on which he was elected. Many people have considered how realistic an idea it is to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
He has vowed to take immediate action in regards to a policy area that has probably been his most divisive and his most emphasised. Trump claims that upon his entering office, 2-3 million illegal immigrants will be deported or incarcerated so that the ‘borders are secure’. This is the change which America voted for in manifest. There has been an overwhelming response from critics who have said that the reason electee Clinton didn’t get elected is largely based on how America wants change. Despite the controversies, the accusations and the mistruths, this is what change looks like, and it’s the change America supposedly wants to see.
Immediately after Donald Trump won the US Election, people were taking solace in the fact that the American governing process was slow and practically impossible to pass legislation through. They pointed to Obama and his hands-tied administration. Trump’s party, however, holds a majority across both the house and the senate making it more realistic for him to be able to pass legislation.
The argument was that Trump could never get his extreme policy ideas through Congress, but it looks a lot like he won’t be trying to. Since the election, his demeanour has undeniably changed: there’s a lot less sensationalism and demagoguery in his words and his tone. The Donald Trump who suggested that Muslims should be stopped from entering the United States is not the same Donald Trump who will be inaugurated on the 20th of January.