With the dust beginning to settle after perhaps the biggest election upset in history, people are now looking to see how Trump will lead the GOP in the next four years.
The question many Republicans are wondering about Trump – how will he lead the Grand Old Party? Besides having an unorthodox demeanor on the campaign trail, many Republicans had a hard time accepting Trump because he holds positions that are at odds with conservative doctrine.
These issues mostly pertain to trade. Trump is very much against free trade deals whereas Republican leaders support such measures. The president-elect also comes across as quite union friendly – an anomaly within a party that seeks to enact right-to-work legislation across the country. White working class voters loved Trump's rhetoric against NAFTA and other trade deals that have been blamed for depleting union jobs.When most every Republican was defending North Carolina’s bathroom bill, Trump brushed the issue aside when asked and even added that Caitlyn Jenner was welcome to use the girls’ room at Trump hotels.
The most interesting factor when trying to forecast Trump’s White House agenda – a lot of his policies are a blank slate. We don’t know exactly how Trump will navigate through a litany of issues because he hasn’t really talked about them. Trump seems very determined when speaking on the need to renegotiate trade deals and other such foreign diplomacy, but that vigor is less noticeable on a host of other issues.
Trump was criticized on the campaign trail for having a shallow understanding of policy. During an interview with MSNBC, he has even admitted that he hadn’t “thought through” the issue of abortion. He has even been described as “uninterested” on many subjects. The New York Times reported that Trump’s team offered the vice presidency to Gov. John Kasich with the caveat that Kasich would have the “greatest authority” over foreign policy decisions than any VP in history. The offer demonstrates the president-elect’s serious lack of interest in leading foreign policy matters. There is no consensus if such an offer was made to Gov. Pence.
This is perhaps why more pundits than ever are eager than ever to see who Trump will name to his cabinet. The thinking being the men and women who surround Trump will be the real brains behind his White House agenda. This is superb news for the few politicians who stuck by Trump during the roughest of times during the election. Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Sen. Jeff Sessions, and others are expected to be offered top posts.
On Thursday, Trump is meeting with President Obama to begin the transition of power. He will then meet with Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell on Capitol Hill to discuss his upcoming agenda.
For all the bad blood between Trump and Ryan during the campaign, one thing has brought them together the most – the desire to repeal and replace Obamacare. The question will be how the two Republican leaders will differ in their ideas of a viable replacement for the failed healthcare marketplace. Ryan, McConnell, and Trump have also all been very critical of Obama’s Iran Deal - another hot issue to watch and see how they approach a possible renegotiation.
The Republican Party has been described as free-market, socially conservative, and strong on military engagement. How will this jive with a Republican president that is a protectionist, seemingly uninterested about social issues, and has repeatedly assailed George Bush’s intervention in Iraq?
It's been a long time since a populist occupied the White House. Many are wondering if the Republican Party will change Donald Trump or if Donald Trump will change the Republican Party.