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On December 19, 2016, the electors of the Electoral College voted to elect Donald Trump as the next President of the United States, ultimately accumulating 304 votes. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, accrued 227 votes, with seven electors voting for individuals other than the two main contenders.
Mr. Trump’s Electoral College victory means that he will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017. This begs the question: What will he do in office?
While no one can foresee the actions of a future president, Mr. Trump has given indications as to what his tenure in the Oval Office will be like.
One promise that the President-elect echoed throughout his campaign was the destruction of a free trade bill known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the TPP. The Obama administration believes this bill will promote American businesses, particularly in Asia. However, detractors of the proposed bill from both the left and right worry that the bill incentivizes the outsourcing of jobs from the United States.
After the election of Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that Mr. Trump’s opposition to the TPP effectively prevents the bill from passing during his tenure, a belief echoed by future Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
When it comes to illegal immigration, the President-elect likely will not be able to follow through with all of his promises. Though he may not be able to deport eleven million undocumented immigrants, as he has promised in the past, there is precedent for mass deportations. His predecessor, President Obama, has deported over 2.5 million individuals, according to ABC News. Therefore, it is quite likely that Trump will deport a considerable amount of illegal immigrants from the country during his four or eight years in office.
Trump’s plan to build a wall seems to have been complicated in recent days. The Mexican government remained ardent in its conviction that it will not pay for any wall to be built along the Mexican-American border. This puts Mr. Trump in an uncomfortable position; either he taxes Americans to raise funds for the wall or he does not build the wall. Trump has suggested that after the wall is built, the Mexican government would reimburse the United States for the costs.
“Personally I don’t think the government would allow him to go as far as building the [border] wall. However, he has gotten away with so much, not just in the time he was campaigning, but before that also,” junior Veronica Wetzel said. “The Constitution states that everyone is free, whether they are immigrants or natives. If he puts up that wall he’s going against what America stands for.”
A staple of the Trump campaign and transition is his use of tweets to communicate with the public through social media, specifically through Twitter, and has inspired a degree of support amongst some supporters and moderates.
“I like how he says his mind and speaks about subjects that others don’t like to talk about,” junior James McGarrity said, in reference to Mr. Trump’s use of tweets.
However, many also see this as less professional or a bit too unconventional.
“I guess I’m a little old-fashioned in that I don’t think using tweets to communicate to the nation is beneficial. It kind of loses its purpose,” AP social studies teacher Ms. Gail Hayes said.
One of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This has been a central goal of the Republican Party ever since the reform’s inception. Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders have gone even further, hoping to privatize Medicare and Medicaid. One of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises, however, was to save these two programs, so he may not wish to enact such a change.
“I believe that Obamacare continues to detriment society as more and more of the population is becoming dependent upon services being given to them. It is essential for Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it is not at all affordable and rather is a burden for the hard-working middle class families that pay for it,” junior Nicole Leonick said.
Mr. Trump selected Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, which raised significant controversy. Tillerson, for one, has no prior experience in the world of politics. Being the head of Exxon Mobil, a number of conflicts of interest could arise in diplomatic affairs. Moreover, Tillerson is considered to have close ties with Russia, further complicating the strained relations between the US and the Russians.
John Bolton, whom President-elect Trump will select for Deputy Secretary of State, is known as one of the leading advocates of neo-conservative foreign policy positions, meaning that the United States under President Trump will likely intervene more in Middle Eastern conflicts. Furthermore, it indicates that the United States is likely to more aggressively pursue war in the Middle East against ISIS.
“I think under Trump’s leadership we definitely have a fighting chance against ISIS and to bring peace to the Middle East,” senior Brandon Frascino said.
Many are worried about the President-elect’s choice for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump chose Scott Pruitt, an Oklahoma Republican who denies climate change and does not support environmental regulations. It is likely that the Trump administration will cut regulations for companies that pollute the air and water.
Mr. Trump also chose businesswoman Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education. She is an anti-public school activist who believes in a voucher program for parents who choose to send their kids to private schools. This likely foreshadows cuts in federal education spending.
It seems that the ways in which President Trump will govern will likely differ minimally from standard conservative doctrine. However, only time will tell what this new administration will bring.