July 14, 2017


Forecast of weak economic growth raises big questions about Trump's populist agenda (Damian Paletta, Ana Swanson and Max Ehrenfreund, July 13, 2017, Washington Post)

Trump's combination of setbacks and delays on key policy initiatives highlight how the president is struggling to advance a populist vision of governing in a Republican Party that historically has not been receptive to such an approach.

With his budget and health care, Trump is falling in line with some of his party's most conservative voices, even if the policies threaten to harm many of the working-class voters who elected him.

On trade -- an issue where he could act unilaterally -- Trump is facing opposition from companies, foreign allies and numerous White House advisers who say restricting imports could hurt U.S. industry broadly far more than it helps steel companies.

The delay on steel imports follows a decision not to label China a currency manipulator as he advocated during the campaign, and a last-minute decision not to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he had often maligned.

"He certainly, as a president, has not been able to articulate a coherent agenda that responded to the concerns of the country, or the concerns of the people who elected him. A lot of them were low-income blue-collar whites, and his agenda is not addressing those concerns or those problems," said Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for Republican president George W. Bush. "House and Senate Republicans weren't in tune with what he was running on either, so that was always going to be a problem."

The success of his agenda required a Democrat Congress.  when Republicans down ticket carried him in with them it rendered him a nullity, if a bumptious one.
Posted by at July 14, 2017 10:11 AM