I have spent the last three weeks in Portugal meeting with friends, business leaders and government officials from here and other European countries. Everyone is seeking reassurance that once Trump becomes President he will start acting differently. I have none to give them.
As I have pointed out since I began writing these blogs, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that Trump’s behavior has been erratic (at best) since he began his campaign. All along the way, smart people (like me) were absolutely certain he could not succeed unless he changed his approach. And we were all wrong. So, who expects a 71-year old man who ignored everyone’s advice – and succeeded – to change?
The only solace I have for people who seek my opinion is that I believe that America’s democratic institutions will constrain Trump. I believe that the Supreme Court will actually act conservatively and keep him from going too far. I hope Congress will understand that his ideas are not evolving from a process but rather represent a Readers Digest version of policy which is ignorant of unintended consequences. Actually his ideas on healthcare will probably alarm them because he is not limited by understanding the interrelationship between coverages and cost.
Additionally, I do have some hope that when it comes to Obamacare since the main point always was extending insurance coverage to most, if not all, Americans. That principle will not be lost because the political cost would be too high for the same people in Congress who have promised repeal for 6 years. They will repeal, claim victory and then make the changes that could have been made 4 years ago if this had not been a battle cry which had little connection to reality.
So as we enter the Twilight Zone of a Trump presidency (with apologies to Rod Serling), it is best to keep in mind that if you are looking for a guide to what things really mean, I can only recommend rereading Alice in Wonderland. It won’t be a perfect guide, but it will be a good start.