by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
An element of Mr. Trump’s appeal is his willingness to indulge Washington’s favorite game show, “Let’s Keep Score,” daily reminding friends and foes alike of campaign promises made and kept during his first 16 months in office. As counterintuitive as this record-keeping exercise may be for a politician, it is no more surprising than the president’s happy-warrior approach to challenging so many of Washington’s most deeply embedded assumptions.
Indeed, how many of these widely accepted (sometimes downright cherished) assumptions can one man challenge (disrupt) in such a brief period of time? The answer is plenty. He does it by questioning what often goes unquestioned in Washington, D.C. He simply asks “Why?” Why help fund a Shiite crescent in the Middle East? Why send tax dollars to a terrorist-friendly PLO? Why support anti-American programs at the U.N.? Why a “One China” policy? Why placate deadbeat NATO partners? Why pay premium prices for the F-35 and a new Air Force One? Why force nuns to provide birth-control coverage? Why tolerate sanctuary cities and a porous border?
Similarly, Mr. Trump asks, “Why not?” Why not support nascent democratic movements in Iran? Why not revisit aging trade deals? Why not activate the Congressional Review Act? Why not count everyone in the census? Why not energy independence? Why not move the embassy to Jerusalem? Why not say “Merry Christmas”?
I could go on, but you get the point. Serial challenges to the status quo set off alarm bells throughout official Washington. Establishments hate such behavior.