During the Presidential campaign Donald Trump suggested that he would wait to see the results before committing to support them ahead of time. This was a fairly bone-headed move, and it provoked predictable cries of outrage. Two complaints stood out in particular. First, that Trump was engaged in undermining “our democracy” and, second, that he was setting the stage to de-legitimate Hillary Clinton’s Administration after her inevitable election.
As it turns out Hillary Clinton’s election was not so inevitable after all. And there are throngs of protesters, and some rioters, in the streets decrying Trump’s election. Hillary Clinton has just recently blamed her election loss on James Comey for bringing up the e-mails again 11 days before the election. We are certainly entitled to wonder just how a continuing series of street protests, let alone rioting, is supposed to strengthen democracy. Or why James Comey is responsible for Hillary Clinton having installed an e-mail server in her basement.
About Those Campaign Promises
We are about to hear the sound of breaking glass as Donald Trump begins tossing campaign promises through the window. This may actually be a fairly good sign since so much of what he promised is plainly preposterous. There is The Wall of course, and there is trade protectionism. But some of the promises, particularly simplifying the tax code, reducing regulation, and getting rid of Obamacare are good policy.
Trump is caught on the horns of a dilemma though. The grab bag of policy proposals that led to his victory was fashioned to gain the support of non-college educated working class voters who ordinarily vote Democratic. But some key proposals (like trade protectionism) are an anathema to the Republican Party. Nor are Congressional Republicans likely to look kindly at spending $ 1 trillion for infrastructure, although that could change depending on how it is conceived and financed.
It is very easy to promise everything to everybody. The hard part is delivering, especially with an unstable coalition. To govern is to choose. Now Mr. Trump is going to have to make actual choices.
A Pardon for Hillary Clinton?
It is crystal clear that notwithstanding James Comey’s contortions, Hillary Clinton violated the law in her treatment of classified information. That presents a problem. On the one hand, it would be unseemly for an incoming Administration to prosecute a political adversary, particularly after the electorate has held her politically accountable. On the other hand, if the rule of law is to mean something, it requires that the law be enforced without favoritism.
A better solution would be a pardon from President Obama that implicitly acknowledges her violation, but removes the threat of criminal liability for mistreating classified data.