Looking ahead to the Trump administration

By Carlton Joseph

Carlton Joseph
Carlton Joseph

The United States election is over and Donald Trump will be the next US President.  Although the Presidential debates did not illuminate the issues, the election has brought the tensions in the nation to the forefront.

Trump’s coded call for law and order, Islamophobia, and white nationalism and to build the wall and “make America great again” was able to energize the fringe racists faction of the country, the unemployed blue collar workers, the people who feared terrorists and white people in general to come out and vote for change.  Interestingly, he did not even have to elaborate on how he will deliver the things he promised.

This election cycle has been quite enlightening.  Racism that has been operating in the dark has been placed in the light; poverty and income equality is now in focus; immigration reform will finally be addressed. Trump has exposed the lies of economic opportunity for the factory worker in a globalized world.   White men and women, minorities, factory and service workers in general are scared of the new world and their place in it.

Ever since the election of President Obama, the nation has been pleading for a discussion on race, especially since the rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, but political correctness, and the election of an African American President for two terms, has made that discussion impossible.  The nation has also been clamoring for a discussion on poverty and inequality, via 99 per cent demonstrations, and that too has been put on the sidelines.  Trump’s victory places these issues in focus and will definitely force the nation to have these discussions.

Minorities have always known that the system was against them, but the displaced non-college educated white worker, the factory trained worker, and lower class whites have now realized that “the system” is not working for them and hopes that Trump would restore “the system” for them. They refuse to accept, or do not understand that the new economic order that emphasizes Education and Intellectual Property over Factories and Manufacturing, is the cause of their displacement from the middle class.

Unfortunately for them and the rest of the working class, Trump cannot restore the old economic order. Manufacturing jobs are not coming back because American capitalists want cheap labor and huge profits, and labor is being replaced with technology. Trump cannot reverse this new reality.  In fact, he could be the “poster child” for this laissez-faire capitalism.

Days after the results of the election, people are still protesting. Their protests will not alter the result.  The fact that Hillary Clinton won the majority vote does not matter in this archaic Electoral College system.

What we need to do is give the President-elect an opportunity to implement his agenda. Trump is in a very unique position. His party ran away from him. So he does not owe them anything, Clinton’s supporters did not vote for him. So he is not beholden to them.  In fact, he is the only President that I can think of, who could actually try to implement whatever agenda he has without being in anyone’s pocket. In other words, he can be his own man. 

As a successful businessperson, I believe that success in business requires you to be pragmatic.  I believe that Trump is a pragmatist and will therefore do what is in his best interest.  My hope is that he can transfer this pragmatism to the country and do what is best for the country.   Also, Trump was once a democrat and held some very strong progressive positions. Let’s hope that these positions reappear when he becomes President.

The first 100 days would be a very good barometer to indicate where Trump plans to take the country and to reveal his vision for the nation.  We must pay special attention to his nominee for the Supreme Court, his actual position on Immigration, the makeup of his Cabinet, his actual position on Law and Order and his actual position on NAFTA and the TPP.

Let’s give him the opportunity to re-evaluate his positions in the light of the new information he will receive from the experts in the major government agencies.  Let’s see what happens in the next 100 days and if we do not like what is being implemented, then we will need to organize and try and force the system to work for the benefit of the majority of the people and not the one per cent elite that is currently monopolizing the economic and political system.

( Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph is an observer of the United States political developments.)