This is the third in a series of three articles (catch up with part one and part two). Although Donald Trump isn’t exactly my favourite person, it does provide us with some opportunities. Here are my top reasons for being positive about what the future holds with Trump in the White House. Whether you like or dislike the result, here are my Top Ten Reasons to try to be optimistic…
1) Hillary Clinton didn’t win. She had all the hallmarks of being continuity-Obama with extra political baggage, the continuation of a political dynasty.
2) The Left hate the result. Those who are currently yelling, screaming and throwing temper tantrums, those who are suggesting the world’s about to end and proposing murder – why, if Clinton had won, these people would have got what they deserved.
3) A UK-USA trade deal becomes easier to negotiate. Donald Trump is an Anglophile. He might even put the bust of Winston Churchill back in the Oval Office. We won’t be at the back of the queue for a trade deal under any circumstances. It’s not in America’s best interests to put us at the back of the queue anyway, and even under Clinton that wouldn’t have actually happened. It was just an Obama-electioneering threat. But you get the impression that this will actually be a priority for the White House now.
4) Nigel Farage has good connections with Donald Trump. This can’t be a bad thing, one way or another. It’s likely to keep UKIP relevant and in the news; even if the Trump association is something of a double-edged sword electorally in the UK, at least it’s free publicity!
5) The European Union is reacting badly to it. With the EU seemingly prepared to cut off its nose to spite its face over America, they’re not going to be negotiating their own trade deal quite so quickly any more. This way, we might actually get in there first – and gain a competitive advantage.
6) The Supreme Court won’t get worse. The Supreme Court seems to have lost its way in recent years. Judicial activism has become a problem; with a Democrat in the White House things could have got very bad over the next four years, democracy being bypassed by ever-more creative interpretations of the US Constitution. At least Donald Trump won’t appoint any left-wing activist judges. Gay marriage in Ireland was decided by a referendum, and in the UK by 650 MPs. But it was decided in the USA by five unelected judges. Ireland’s decision was democratic; the UK’s arguably so (though a Manifesto commitment or referendum would have been preferable), but the USA’s wasn’t at all. I’m a (small-d, I promise!) democrat; I put the power of the people above such moral issues. If you support the US decision, the way they made it was wrong.
7) Trump may well change. In the primaries, aiming for a small percentage of Republicans, he took a hard-line approach. In the General Election, aiming for just over 50% of the vote, he softened it slightly. He’s shown himself to be prepared to adapt, and now that he’s representing all Americans he may adapt to that too. It’s possible.
8) The American system has constitutional checks and balances on the President’s power. If Trump proposes economic policies that are too left-wing, then he may not get them through a Republican-controlled House and Senate.
9) The Republicans won down-ticket too, often by bigger margins than Trump. Trump was facing the incredibly-unpopular Clinton; up against less-unpopular Democrats there was a danger that the Republicans might lose control of the Senate. But actually, in many cases the Republican Party proved to be more popular than Trump. In Florida, for example, Trump won by 1.3% – but down-ticket, Rubio beat his less-unpopular-than-Clinton Democrat opponent by 7.7%.
10) The future looks bleak for Senate Democrats. Not only is there a solidly Republican House and barely-Republican Senate, but also when you look at the seats up for grabs in 2018, it’s hard to see the Democrats taking control then either. Arizona, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Nevada, Nebraska and Mississippi are the only States with Republican defences in the Senate in 2018. President Trump will means that there’ll be a Republican vice-President, so even a 50-50 tie would keep Republican control of the Senate. The Democrats would have to win three of the States on that list and not lose any, which would be a really tough ask – especially as the Democrats will be defending the solidly-red State of Indiana.
Whether we individually like or dislike Donald Trump is no longer the issue. I’m not going to suddenly like him, and others aren’t going to suddenly stop their hero-worship of him, but either way he’s going to be the President of the United States of America. Britain needs to work to make the best of it either way, and surely we can all agree on that.