Donald Trump: Not Everything Is a Bed of Roses

Just as common sense predicted, some of the initiatives envisioned by the loquacious president of the United States regarding matters that directly affect the interests of the governed are destined to stumble against the obstacle of Congress, despite the fact that the Republican Party, which took Donald Trump to the White House, has a majority in both chambers. As further proof that realpolitik (policy directed not by theories but by concrete and influential interests in society) almost always ends up prevailing over the intentions of those who govern, the American executive had to withdraw his health care bill just an hour before it was put to a vote because of indications that it would not have the support necessary for passage.

Thus, the intention to finish overnight the so-called Obamacare (the health care reform of Barack Obama) and replace it with a system that would reduce public spending at the cost of leaving millions of people without health coverage, must wait for a better opportunity. And while Trump himself hastened to promise once again a great health bill for the future, what occurred is a warning to him that not all his fellow party members will be automatically willing to support his initiatives when they have a political cost that is too high. On this occasion, paradoxically, the rejection of Trumpcare was decided by the members of the far right wing of Republicans in the House of Representatives, who were convinced that the drastic cuts to the health sector proposed by the president were still insufficient. But to radicalize this topic even more would have been untenable; if the initiative as presented had a popular approval rating of only 17 percent, a greater budget reduction would have meant even less support for the Trump administration.

Although this setback has not been the only one that the president of the United States has received at the beginning of his term (remember the skirmishes he has sustained with the judicial system, mainly on immigration issues), it is the most significant because it is an indicator that the path for Trump and those who support him unconditionally will not always be straightforward and agreeable. The Democratic opposition in Congress, with all its minority status, can point to some partial victories, such as Trumpgate* (in fact, the president complained not only about the Republican representatives, but also of having received no help from the Democrats).

In this context, it is worth taking up the upcoming discussion about the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been part of Mexico for more than two decades. From the very beginning of his term, Trump has said that the treaty is a disaster for jobs and wages in his country and that it is urgent to revise it, but only with regard to Mexican participation: with Canada — he said — we have a spectacular relationship. Only yesterday, The Wall Street Journal, whose opinion is often influential regarding business and economic issues, warned of the damage that would be suffered by U.S. agricultural producers if, as a result of the Trump-led negotiation, they lost access to the Mexican market. And if the Republican representatives think wisely about their vote when it comes to supporting a decision that affects them, even if it is proposed by their president, they are sure to also listen carefully to the lobbyists who propose flexibility and moderation to them in negotiating the treaty on behalf of U.S. farmers, who nurture one of the most economically important industries in their country.

That in Mexico NAFTA has supporters and detractors is a separate issue. What seems certain is that, at the negotiating table, for Trump’s negotiators, not everything will be a bed of roses.

*Editor’s note: The term “Trumpgate” does not have a clear definition. Here the author is using it to refer to Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply