Donald Trump will be our next president. He’ll take office in two months. It’s difficult for me to type these words and not feel I’m in some nightmarish fantasy, but I’m fairly sure I’m not.
Over his life-time, Trump has been a supporter and contributor of both major political parties as well as some third parties. For most of his life he’s been publicly pro-choice, anti-trade, and very brash. At the moment, only two-thirds of those stances seem to have held through time: His pro-choice stance is entirely absent from his current view of reproductive rights and the list of Supreme Court justices he plans to select from.
How else might his term transpire? It looks, quite tragically, as though Trump will select a former coal industry lobbyist with no scientific competency to be the next EPA administrator. A recent expose of his top pick, Myron Ebell, by the Washington Post described a past of arguing “for opening up more federal lands for logging, oil and gas exploration and coal mining, and for turning over more permitting authority to the states. And he has urged the Senate to vote to reject an international climate accord signed last year in Paris.”
It looks as though both the climate and women are in trouble. The news is little better on the front of immigration policy – if one can call a mass deportation policy – because Trump has hired Kris Kobach to be part of his transition team. Kobach was the man who authored the Arizona bill SB 1070, which granted police officers the ability to arrest anyone they pulled over for traffic violations who lacked documentation of their citizenship with them in their car. The bill was shot down in court, but the author has now been elevated to a presence in the white house indirectly as the immigration policy specialist of Mr. Trump’s transition team.
All of the above is evidence that the future looks dreadful by many measures. But there is some reason for hope. Recently, in reference to who his administration will ultimately constitute, the President-elect cryptically stated that “only I know the finalists.”
Does this mean that all these incendiary and truly horrific names are merely for show and that he ultimately intends superior choices? I’m unsure, but I can say with confidence that even though I’m a white man, I am quite alarmed by what the incoming Trump presidency may look like. Not only because I’m concerned with the liberties of minorities and women (though said liberties are vitally important), but also out of concern for the health of our planet as someone who someday wants to be a father.
My plea to the Democratic leadership is that they consider areas where he may be more open-minded than other Republicans. Trump has been unfaithful to party dogma for all his life. Therefore, On climate science and women’s rights in particular I see a possibility for showing Trump the light, so to speak.
Whoever the Democrats elect as their minority leaders, said representatives should consider that they may have more in common with Trump than they think if they avoid the pitfall of making an enemy of him before they must. If they do make an enemy of him from the get-go, he may well find emotional refuge with Republican acolytes and sycophants, allowing Republicans to gather greater support from a man who has been pro-choice nearly all his life.
Trump’s presidency may be a disaster, to use language he often employs. I’m not naive enough to think this isn’t a possibility. However, if the Democrats appeal to his ego by showing him admiration and respect, he may take a surprising liking to them. They may be able cordially and civilly push the issues they care for most and find themselves surprised by how receptive Donald Trump can be. As he has said many a time, “I’m a deal maker.”