Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8, after defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He is scheduled to take office on Jan. 20, 2017. While some United States citizens protests and others rejoiced, some simply asked, “What does this mean for the future of America?”
Trump laid out a 100-day plan in October called “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter.” In it, he briefly explains his plans for repealing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, funding the construction of the wall, encouraging infrastructure investment, rebuilding military bases and more, according to an article published on the National Public Radio’s website.
Agreeing with Trump, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (Republican) said that repealing Obamacare is a “pretty high item on our [Congress’] agenda.” Assistant Professor of Political Science David Root said that he thinks Obamacare is mostly going to be gutted, with only a few provisions kept the same.
“Two of the main provisions that seem like they will be sticking around are previous coverage for those with preexisting conditions and coverage for people to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26,” Root said. “Trump has said that he likes both of those provisions. The real question is going to be, ‘How do we pay for this?’ Rather than the individual mandate, which is what Obama did, I believe Trump is going to try to erase state lines, as far as insurance coverage. Instead of the government forcing people to get health insurance, I think he’s banking on the market lowering premiums to a reasonable amount [so] that people [will] want to get health insurance just because it makes financial sense.”
The construction of the wall along the border between Mexico and the United States was a focus of Trump’s campaign. According to NPR’s website, he created the “End Illegal Immigration Act” to construct the wall with full reimbursement from Mexico. The act also creates a two-year minimum prison sentence for re-entering the U.S. illegally and a five-year minimum for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanors or two previous deportations.
“He has said that he’s going to deport any illegal aliens that have been convicted of committing crimes, which amounts to about 3 million people,” Root said. “After that, I think he has said that he’s going to take a wait-and-see approach, which means that deportations will probably be slower in coming.”
Root also said that he could see Trump building the wall through an executive order. That way Congress will not get a say in the matter.
“Once it [the wall] is built and is in operation, you kind of backdoor Congress into forcing them to go along with it,” Root said. “Because you’ll be like, ‘Look, the wall is built. It’s working. What do you want to do? Tear it down?’ And Congress does not want to touch immigration. They haven’t wanted to touch immigration for 50 years. Neither party wants to do anything with it. They prefer the broken system. It gives them something to rail against, and they’re not on the vote for anything that happens.”
Junior political science major and Indianapolis Student Government President Jason Marshall said that the rhetoric used in Trump’s campaign is to blame for some of the backlash in the Hispanic community and other minority groups after Trump was elected.
“Minorities are scared,” Marshall said. “There’s no doubt about it. I was talking to someone yesterday, and they have an Islamic friend who’s overseas, just traveling. And they’re not coming back to the United States just because they’re scared. I hope that a lot of what was said on the campaign was just rhetoric to get a lot of votes…. I personally think that a lot of it was campaign rhetoric, but I completely understand minority groups being afraid for their culture, for the progress we’ve made to be accepting of them.”
Root said another thing that Trump would like to do is to get manufacturing jobs back in the country, but Root is not sure that that is feasible, since the United States has a service-based economy. He said Trump will try to create jobs, most likely by cutting regulation and renegotiating trade deals so that they are more favorable for United States workers.
The majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are Republican. Marshall said that this should prevent gridlock in the coming years.
“Now, there are certain people that would rather see the gridlock, “ Marshall said, “To stop some stuff that’s going through. I think you’ll see a lot more flow in D.C. just because it’s all Republican-controlled.”
Trump’s potential appointments to the Supreme Court are another large topic of discussion. Root predicted that Trump’s first appointment will most likely be conservative since Trump campaigned strongly for that. Root said that also would give Trump a chance to please his conservative base, so that later on he would be free to make more liberal decisions.
“One of the names that I’ve heard tossed around for the Court is Ted Cruz, which makes a lot of sense by Trump,” Root said. “Ted Cruz is probably one of Trump’s biggest primary challengers in 2020. And it’s an old move. FDR did this with Justice Black. It’s an old move that you take your most likely political competitor and just stick them on the [Supreme] Court.”
Root said that usually candidates start out in the primaries as either far right or far left, then they make a change in the general election, so that they are more moderate to gain more votes. However, Trump never made the change to more moderate during the general election. According to Root, Trump knew what he had to say in order to gain popularity among voters. Root said that Trump will make the change to more moderate during his presidency and that he is already much more restrained and moderate.
ISG President Marshall said that he has some advice for the future president of the United States.
“I would tell Trump that ‘You’re not going to get everything that you want.’” Marshall said. “… I think the biggest thing is to compromise. That way, all parties are happy. You’re not going to please everybody, which most people realize that. You’ve just got to be accepting, whether you agree with it or disagree with it. And try to help them [the other side] as best as you can even if you disagree with what they’re trying to do. The biggest thing is everybody is only trying to do what they think is best for themselves and for their country. Democrats aren’t trying to hurt the country. Republicans aren’t trying to hurt the country. They’re doing what they think is best to help the country.”