With the euphoria of Donald Trump’s upset victory still in the air, it is important to remember an old adage: Focus On What You Can Do, The Impossible Can Wait.
Trump enters the White House with little in terms of obligations except those imposed on him by the ordinary people who elected him. He needs to set out an agenda and pursue it with single-minded concentration.
At times during his campaign, Trump displayed a distressing ability to take his eye off the ball. He can’t afford to do the same as President.
It is enough to run for an office, now he must govern. No person enters the White House prepared for its duties. Every President grows into the job. Trump needs to focus on delivering on the needs of the voters who put him in office.
While his opponent spent upwards of a billion dollars on her campaign, Trump apparently spent far less. He depended on the growing angst of voters to draw the big, energized crowds and newly enfranchised voters who gave him his victory. Their anger fueled vast turnouts of voters and enabled him to pile up large majorities in traditionally Republican strongholds.
For the most part, they are voters who want change in how the country is governed and in its direction. Asked specifically what changes they sought, many were at a lost to give a clear, concise answer. Clearly what was not desired were the old solutions which were not successful during the past eight years.
Therefore it will be up to Trump to put together a clear agenda and then articulate it to the American public. Unfortunately for him, nearly half the electorate appears set against his efforts and their leaders appear little inclined to help even in the first days after the election.
Hillary R. Clinton in her concession speech did little to indicate she would be a positive supporter. She emphasized the differences in their appeals rather than provide an olive branch of cooperation.
While Trump rode the coattails of white, male voters to victory, Clinton’s concession speech focused on encouraging women to aspire to elective and professional leadership. At a time when the nation needs healing words, Clinton chose to encourage greater division.
In identifying the key factors in Trump’s victory, conventional wisdom, which took such a beating in this election year, seems to settle on the need for jobs, dealing with immigration issues, and defining America’s role in a rapidly changing world situation.
Because the vitriol during campaign made it one of personalities, happily for Trump, he doesn’t owe his election to any one of these issues. Rather, he is expected to bring a fresh perspective to a welter of problems facing America. With control of the Senate and House in Republican hands, he can now move forward on an agenda of change.
Traditionally, a new President devotes his first term to domestic issues and the second to foreign affairs. Unfortunately for Trump, he will need to divide his time equally.
Should Trump want to choose the best domestic problem to address, jobs should be on the top of his list.
Pundits point out that during the campaign, Clinton failed to address the concerns of most Americans—jobs and the economy. Choosing instead to attack Trump, Clinton paid a heavy price in voter support.
Yet in her concession speech, as during the campaign, she failed to address this issue facing America—the stagnating economy.
Trump can’t afford to do this. His supporters are expecting some actions from him almost immediately upon taking office.
The challenges for him and his party are the sheer weight of issues facing Washington’s leadership.
First and foremost is the problem of job creation and a stagnant economy. Traditional stimulus tools like government spending, tax policies, and debt incursions are not the answer. More importantly, the national debt is poised to spiral out of control in 2017 unless stringent remedies are put in place.
What is killing the economy is the ballooning entitlement programs. Clearly, changes must be implemented to slow the growth of these mandated programs that are outside budget controls. While Trump does not depend on the traditional voter segments who have entitlement concerns, whether Congress will go along with any attempts to curtail their growth is debatable.
It is possible Trump will come up against the same Washington lobbying circles that have killed reforms in the past. This will disappoint the voters who sent him there.
If Trump truly believes and wants to change things in the nation’s capital, he needs to move during the first 100 day honeymoon period.
Equally troubling is that foreign affairs may intervene.
If the intelligence chatter is correct, at the same time, Trump is also expected to face a major terrorist incident during his first months in office.
Trump is a man easily distracted by events. It is important he keep his eye on one or two main issues during his first months in office. The nation wants a leader and Trump can be that person, but only if he stays focused.