Trump keeps changing his mind, going back on campaign promises, sometimes after trying to implement them. What gives?
During Presidential campaigns, candidates talk a lot about what they’re going to do. They identify problems, then describe how they’d solve those problems. These solutions get labeled as campaign promises, though they aren’t always declared as such by the candidates themselves. Still, it’s a time-honored tradition in American politics: you tell the people what you plan to do, and then once you’re in office, we get to evaluate how well those promises have been kept.
How is Trump doing?
Not that great, really. He’s tried to keep a number of his promises, perhaps most notably in the form of the Muslim travel ban, but that has been a consistent and unpopular failure. He has accelerated deportations of undocumented immigrants, including in at least one instance, a supporter of his. He’s ordered the construction of his infamous wall along the US-Mexico border, but so far not much action has been taken in bringing it to fruition. When Congress tried to bring down the Affordable Care Act, their inability to reach an agreement so frustrated Trump that he sank the issue altogether. When unable to deliver on his promises, Trump acts as if he never promised such a thing anyway–or simply changed his mind.
Domestic policy failures and reversals consist, for the most part, of Trump being unable to inflict as much damage as he might otherwise. When it comes to foreign policy, however, the stakes are much higher: we face deadly, destructive wars spurred by his inability to construct a coherent and predictable foreign policy. I covered much of this ground in yesterday’s post, but it bears repeating: to approach foreign policy with no strategy makes both our allies and our enemies very anxious. Anxiety can lead to rash action, and this can have dire consequences for us all.
It’s easy to poke fun at Trump for changing his mind, or for realizing how complicated the world really is (after 10-minute conversations, apparently) when everyone else is already aware. But this ignorance and this lack of organization is dangerous and troubling.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot Trump’s opposition can do to quell these fears. At best, we can only try to survive them.