by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
His style is not Washingtonian, but is born out of the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan real estate. Trump’s blustering way of doing business is as brutal as it is nontraditional: Do not initiate attacks, but hit back twice as hard — and low — once targeted. Go off topic and embrace obstreperousness to unsettle an opponent. And initially demand triple of what is eventually acceptable to settle a deal.
Trump’s inaugural address was short, tough, and nationalistic, reflecting his don’t-tread-on-me pledges to his supporters to fight both Washington and the world abroad to restore the primacy of the middle classes.
Trump aims through economic growth — hoping for 4 percent GDP growth rates through deregulation, tax reform, energy production, and old-fashioned Main Street economic boosterism — to win a sizable chunk of the minority vote and thus chip away at the Democrats’ base. He counts on good-paying jobs and higher family income mattering more to the inner-city than the Reverend Al Sharpton’s rhetoric or the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter.
The world has been flipped upside down abroad as well.
Weeks ago, analysts were offering Dr. Strangelove doomsday warnings of a no-fly zone in Syria imposed by a likely President Hillary Clinton on another nuclear power’s air force. But now, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is talking about joining American planes to destroy ISIS.
Who is friend, foe, or neutral?
Could Trump coax Putin away from his Iranian and Syrian support, or will Trump appease his newfound friend’s aggressions? No one quite knows.
An American president now talks to Taiwan, doubles down on support for Israel, questions the reason to remain loyal to both the United Nations and European Union, and forces changes in NATO.