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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/9/16

The Progressive Agenda of President Elect Donald Trump. Yes, Really.

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A lot of progressives will be knashing their teeth, holding their heads, and shaking with rage over the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States. (By the time the counting is done, he will have a decisive, but short-of-mandate, total of about 300 Electoral College delegates. He may also become the 5th presidential candidate to lose the popular vote but win in the electoral college. The giant flaws in our electoral college system, and our system of winner-take-all and even our disproportionate system of representation which gives more power to the sole Congressperson representing 300,000 people in Wyoming than to the 53 congress members of California's 39 million people, are all worthy subjects for other days).

The DNC, media, political forecasters, not only got everything wrong, they enabled the Trump victory by their corruption and ignorance of the true electorate, and their enabling of corruption at every level of voting.

But, here we are.

It's difficult to estimate what Trump will do as president, because he has contradicted himself and been vague in his promises, but there are actually some things that progressives should celebrate, yes, really. One thing is clear, with control of both houses of Congress for at least the next 2 years, and a compliant Supreme Court that he will probably get to bend even more in his direction, he can pass just about whatever legislation he wants to. More on that below.

1. Trump trumped Clinton's plan to spend $250b on infrastructure by promising to spend four times that amount, albeit over 10 years. He brought it up as a jobs-creator in his victory speech last night, and as a person who's made his living building things, it's a good bet he will follow through on that promise. The Republican establishment - Paul Ryan, the CATO Institute, Republican pundits, etc. - will scream about the skyrocketing deficit, but Trump is certainly comfortable with debt. Besides, he will claim his policies of lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations - which the Republican establishment wants - will repatriate overseas corporate and private money. Most of that money will wind up in the asset markets and not in spending on businesses or in the real economy, but by the time that's clear, Trump will have gotten his infrastructure spending through Congress. Anyway, it'll give them cover to blow away all debt limits, something Hillary Clinton could never have done with a divided government had she been elected. We need the infrastructure, and even though much more of this is automated than Trump likes to admit, it is possible, as he says, to create millions of new middle class jobs this way, particularly if he does the next thing...

2. Trump, like Bernie Sanders, and much less enthusiastically, Hillary Clinton, will kill the TPP. Obama's plan to pass it during his lame duck days is effectively dead now. The Republicans, even though they favor it, will not go against their incoming president. This will prevent more corporate power and international business-friendly tribunals. It's unclear what, if anything will replace this, but since the origins of the TPP go back to the last Bush Administration, it will take a very long time to devise such a comprehensive trade deal again. There may even be a new Congress or even president by then. Progressives should celebrate this as a Sanders-Trump victory, strange as that pairing may be.

3. Trump has already announced plans to visit Russian President Putin. As progressives know, the case against Putin as a despot and imperialist are greatly "trumped up" if not outright false. He didn't invade the Ukraine, and at most sent a few troops in to rescue Russia's largest naval base and only warm-water port from Ukrainian separatists during a Civil War which caught him off guard a week after the Sochi Olympics. The base was on long-term leased ground in Crimea. It can easily be argued that Putin did the responsible thing in keeping advanced weaponry out of the hands of a corrupt and bankrupt country embroiled in a Civil War. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia in an election that even the U.S. says was fairly run (Obama complains it is invalid only because the rest of Ukraine did not get to vote).

The case against Russia shooting down MH17 is similarly flawed propaganda, as progressive journalist Robert Perry has pointed out.

Without those two events, the case for the renewal of the neocon cold war against Russia, and Putin - whom neocon Hillary Clinton has called the "new Hitler" - collapses entirely.

While Trump is certainly no "Dove" and he wants to increase military spending like BOTH Democrats and Republicans, he does promise to "work with any country that wants to work with us."
Trump has also said we should let Russia help Syria to stabilize - "Let them handle it. They are better at that." And he has said we should work against terrorist groups like ISIS instead. In contrast, Clinton wanted to impose a no-fly zone, which would have been the latest in her long list of failed regime change actions. She has been involved in every major violent regime change this century: Iraq by voting for the invasion; Honduras by enabling conditions for the overthrow of the popularly elected president; Libya as S.o.S. by providing assistance for the coup and laughing about Qaddafi's brutal execution (does anyone believe there are not rogue elements in every country who would do to their leaders what was done to Qaddafi if they had the chance?). Libya was arguably the most progressive African nation, but when it made itself vulnerable by denuclearizing and going towards a pan-African currency, Qaddafi had to go. Clinton had a hand in the early days of the anti-Assad policies in Syria, turning a weak protest into a half decade Civil War. What's progressive about any of this?

It's hard to overstate the importance of coming to livable terms with Russia to avoid confrontation that could lead to thermo-nuclear war. This issue alone may have cost Hillary the election. Progressives, as well as anyone with a brain, were justifiably terrified of an aggressive Hillary Clinton as commander-in-chief, even while worrying about Trump's thin-skinned reactions to foreign taunts. This is arguably the most important issue in the election and afterwards.

4. Trump promises to close the carry trade loophole. Alone, this will do little to change the wealth inequality that is wrecking the country, but it's significant. It will hurt the parasitical hedge fund industry.

5. Trump promises not to cut entitlements, though he would not increase them as Hillary Clinton promised to, but only after much prodding from the Sanders' supporters. Ryan and the establishment Republicans want massive cuts and privatization of entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, which would funnel billions to their Wall Street donors. So far, at least, Trump has resisted. We will see if he's willing to live with the ballooning debt instead.*

6. Trump's anti-Muslim views are well-known, but is he entirely wrong to oppose regimes that are among the most virulently anti-progressive, anti-human rights, and who promote terrorism by spreading Madrases and religious centers all over the world? 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Trump has promised - twice - to boycott Saudi Arabian oil until they change their ways and stop supporting ISIS directly or indirectly. This would not only pressure Saudi Arabia to change, it would boost oil prices, leading to more favorable conditions for green energy companies (whether Trump wants that or not), and provide more oil-related jobs in America (we are the largest producer of oil now, not Saudi Arabia). This is a progressive policy vs. Clinton's "we must work with our allies" tired policies that have failed miserably.

Trump is a misogynist, who never-the-less promoted many women into major positions of power in his male-dominated construction companies. He is a racist who never-the-less has thousands of minority workers in his companies. Things are always more complex in real life.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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