I confess to being mystified by those Americans who lean conservative, like myself, who continue to think that President Donald J. Trump is somehow doing a good job. To be sure, the economy continues to add mostly low paying jobs but claims that the new tax law benefits the middle class are a bit hard to swallow as the elimination of a whole category of deductions for state and local taxes means that I and many other middle-income types will be paying more. And there are whole policy-categories where the Trump record is appalling, to include the federal deficit, trade disputes that are alienating friends and allies, and sheer obstinate idiocy regarding the environment and climate change. Meanwhile, the president’s unrelenting moronic tweets and ridicule of critics have demeaned the office that he holds and made him look like a buffoon.
But Trump was not elected necessarily to create jobs or provide clean water, to make international trade more fair, or to pay attention to the weather. He was elected on two issues. The first was immigration, which energized folks in working class communities who were watching the America they grew up and the jobs that sustained it disappear in a confrontation with an unassimilable wave of mostly Latin American illegal immigrants. Trump promised to put a stop to the flow of immigrants across the border by building a wall if necessary while also catching and deporting illegals currently in the country.
The second issue was foreign policy, and more specifically the termination of the never-ending war legacy that Trump inherited from George W. Bush and Barack Obama, which motivated people like myself to vote for him. He exploited legitimate concerns over “Hillary the Hawk” and promised to disengage from existing conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria while more-or-less pledging not to get involved in further democracy promotion or regime change.
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