Donald Trump will leave office in either January 2021 or January 2025. It is too soon to say when because the November 2020 election is too close to call. As the Wall Street Journal says, “he has been better on policy than we feared but worse on personal behavior than we hoped.”
But, with or without Trump, Trumpism has taken over the Republican party. Trumpism simply refers to the nationalist and populist policies designed to appeal to its expanded working-class base.
- Nationalism. Put America first. Crack down on foreign countries taking advantage of U.S. companies, workers, and markets. The best example of this is the fight with China over trade deficits, intellectual property theft, and unequal market access. This contrasts with the traditional Republican view that trade inevitably promotes prosperity for all and freedom around the world. Rather trade must be fair so that American jobs and wage increases are protected. Furthermore, allies should pay more for their own defense and more troops should return home from longterm deployment. The military should be deployed only when America’s interests are directly at stake. For example, we should continue to remove American troops from both Afghanistan and Syria.
Other nationalist related policies are promoting the domestic energy industry, and appointing originalist and textualist judges who will interpret the laws more strictly.
- Populism. Trump’s base wants the wall built and the southern border secured. Voters see illegal immigration, like foreign trade, as threatening their jobs and wages. Immigration policies should benefit the U.S. economy – such as tying legal immigration quotas to workforce needs, as opposed to family reunification. New immigrants should be expected to learn English and get a job.
Other populist policies are defending religious liberty and gun rights and easing government regulations in order to increase employment.
In general, keep the unemployment rate as low as possible to provide more economic opportunities for all low-wage workers, including minorities.
Conclusion. Win or lose in November, Donald Trump has had a big effect on U.S. politics and government policy. The Republican party has been transformed from the party of Wall Street to the party of Main Street. This will keep it competitive in future elections.