Trump’s campaign was full of totally unworkable pledges and empty promises
Promises, you say?
Trump made a lot of promises for both his first 100 days and his presidency in general.
It has become normal for candidates to make wild promises with no hope of fulfilling them, but Trump’s campaign was (at least some would hope) chock-full of totally unworkable pledges and empty promises, starting with his vague slogan to “Make America Great Again.”
The most obviously absurd proposition is that of building a wall between the United States and Mexico, which Trump claims is not a flamboyant rhetorical device to bring attention to undocumented migration, but will be an actual big, great, shiny wall—with a door, no less. Mexico, he said, would pay for it. (Mexico has, of course, refused.) Without funding from Mexico, however, Congress will need to approve money to build the wall, which could cost upwards of $25 billion.
Let’s look at a few more Trump pledges and how feasible they are:
Congress probably could not repeal the entire law without a Senate supermajority of 60 votes, according to The New York Times, but it could chip away at the law, such as getting rid of the Medicaid expansion. Business Insider reported that Congress could also just defund Obamacare with a simple majority. That said, both options could lead to chaos in health care markets and leave millions without coverage almost overnight.
This effort is very much within the realm of possibility without the need for Congress. More recently, Trump has said that his ban of Muslims entering the United States would be a temporary ban on people entering from certain “terror-prone” countries. He could implement the ban on certain people entering the country without much of a challenge from the courts. The real question would be, how would this ban affect Americans traveling abroad and businesses in other countries?
Trump can kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership and probably will. As for NAFTA, the president does have the power to negotiate or renegotiate trade deals without the need for Congress— at least initially—but he’d certainly run into massive opposition from businesses, which rely on tariff-free trade to build and ship their products. CNN Money reports that the likely outcome would be a trade war and many court battles. There’s also an argument that there wouldn’t be much of an outcome, as Canada and Mexico would not be inclined to throw out U.S. businesses given the need for foreign investment.
Trump has always maintained that he doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, but recently, he said he would keep an “open mind” about global talks aimed at curbing carbon emissions. That said, Trump would have the power to pull out of the Paris Agreement (in which the United States agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025) without Congress. A Republican Congress would be only too happy to withdraw from the Paris Agreement or simply not comply (the agreement is non-binding), as well as to roll back some of Obama’s executive actions on the environment.
Trump has vowed to deport between 2 to 3 million undocumented migrants, out of an estimated 11 million. In theory, he could try, but ejecting millions of “bad” people quickly would be supremely difficult due to costs and logistics. Not to mention, the move would require either a deportation squad to round up millions or the help of local police, mainly in big cities. Police departments in New York, Los Angeles, and a handful of other cities have already refused to cooperate. Trump could also move to cancel Obama’s executive order blocking the deportation of children born to undocumented immigrants in the United States. Yet, as the Daily Beast pointed out, Obama and previous administrations have steadily increased the rate of deportation of these people already. Trump is simply proposing to speed things up.
Infrastructure and Tax Cuts
Trump simultaneously promised to massively boost infrastructure spending while cutting taxes drastically. Observers are floored by how much that would add to the debt, but he could still do it with the blessing of Congress. Since congressional Republicans were harping on Obama over raising the national debt during the financial crisis and stimulus, only time will tell if they will oppose Trump for doing even worse. Lucky for Trump, Democrats, by and large, support more infrastructure spending, though even that has been questioned. Long story short, Trump can do both, but he’ll need Congress to do it.
The Supreme Court
Trump will appoint a right-wing judge to the Supreme Court with help from a Republican-controlled Congress. That’s certain. Depending on what happens, he might even be able to appoint a few more.
For further analysis about the impact of Trump’s first 100 days, you can read the New York magazine piece here. The New York Times also outlined Trump’s probable agenda.