President Trump took office at the beginning of 2017 swimming in a sea of negativity.
Some predicted that he wouldn’t make it through the year. Some predicted that he even if he did, he would fail to get any major legislation passed.
Pew Research Center reported that 62 percent of the news stories about Trump’s first 60 days were negative, compared to 20 percent in President Obama’s first 60 days and 28 percent in Bush’s and Clinton’s.
But those who voted for Trump wanted something completely different, and Trump is not disappointing them. As he moves forward in Washington with his own style of doing business, it brings to mind Frank Sinatra’s classic song, “My Way.”
Indeed, Trump is doing it his way. But what is causing doubters to sit up is that he is accomplishing in a big way.
The economy is growing like it hasn’t in years, the most sweeping tax reform since 1986 has been passed, and he is deregulating. The number of pages in the Federal Register – where new regulations are published – is now two-thirds of where it stood in the Obama years.
Trump has already put his stamp on the nation, which will have repercussions for years, in his impressive conservative judicial appointments – 12 of his federal appeals court judge nominations have been confirmed by the Senate – and Neil Gorsuch has taken Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.
With two Supreme Court justices over 80 – Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – chances are Trump will have an opportunity to place another solid conservative on the Supreme Court in the course of his first term.
Reports are that Trump will meet with Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan soon at Camp David to discuss legislative plans for 2018.
Major campaign issues still on the table are immigration reform, welfare reform and national infrastructure investments.
It is reasonable to expect that the product of these deliberations will reflect a combination of idealism – what they believe are national priorities – and political realism – what they see as doable in the existing political environment.
Certainly, McConnell’s challenge in the Senate has increased with his Republican margin now a razor-thin 51 to 49.
On the other hand, in our unconventional president we have a man with plans to accomplish – his way.
Perhaps Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel to show that he is willing to do what he sees as the right thing despite great opposition.
In immigration reform and welfare reform, we have two issues vitally in need of attention, both with huge impacts on the nation and both very politically difficult.
But the inability of Washington to fix what is broken in our nation is what drove so many voters to Trump. If Trump ignores or forgets this, then it will turn him into just another politician. My guess is that this is an intolerable and indigestible fate to Donald Trump.
So I am optimistic that 2018 will bring more unexpected accomplishments from Trump, as he carries forward promises from his campaign.
That is, to turn the country back to its people, to re-unify the country under its founding ideals, and for all Americans to feel part of the American enterprise.
He said it memorably in his inaugural address. “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit, or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their hearts with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.”
I’m looking forward to a great 2018.