Donald Trump Not Clear On What A President Can Actually Do
Last night, Donald Trump sat down with “60 Minutes” to attempt to discuss what it is, exactly, that he would do were he president. Shudder.
I will, however, start with the good. Surprisingly, there is a thing Donald Trump has a non-terrible opinion about — he said he was for ending NAFTA and replacing free trade with fair trade. Mind you, I don’t think that Donald Trump and I have the same idea of what “fair trade” means, in that I don’t think Trump is especially concerned about child slavery and labor rights in other countries. I think he means fair for us. Still, less horrible than other opinions he could have on this issue!
However, Trump’s plan for getting out of NAFTA — by just flat out not going along with it — is maybe not the way to go. In 2008, Hillary Clinton suggested that we could opt out of the pact if other countries involved refused to strengthen their labor laws, which seems like an actual plan rather than a pipe dream. Our best bet for withdrawing from NAFTA legally is to cite concerns about human rights abuses resulting from the agreement and to suggest that said abuses void the agreement.
But this, as “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley repeatedly pointed out, is the problem with all of Trump’s plans. They all seem to require the assistance of either magic or the President having power over things the President just doesn’t have power over.
Trump wants to expand our military while simultaneously decreasing the amount of stuff it actually does, build a giant (“beautiful”) wall between America and Mexico, deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants, make everyone in America totally rich, get rid of Obamacare and somehow cover everyone in the country without enacting single payer or any kind of national health care system, and also cut taxes.
His military strategy mostly seems to be hinged entirely on people in other countries “respecting” our military more, by virtue of him being in charge of it. He says all the things he wants are going to be magically funded by him having made America super rich. By magic. Bibbidi bobbedi boo!
Trump also seems to not care that certain things have to be approved by Congress and SCOTUS. He seems to think the President can just like, walk in and do whatever the hell he wants. Which isn’t how things work in a country with a system of checks and balances. When asked what he would do if Congress or SCOTUS said he couldn’t do something, Trump didn’t seem to know. He seemed truly puzzled by the idea that, as President, you can’t just ignore them and do what you want anyway.
The saddest part of the interview was that Trump seemed to believe that most of our international problems would be solved by other countries “respecting” him. Which is not actually how things work, and also other countries are probably not going to “respect” us if we have a bad late nite punchline/reality TV star as our President. That is absurd and, actually, they would probably all laugh at us.
I wish I could say that this disinterest in formulating actual plans that don’t involve magic and money appearing out of nowhere would hurt his campaign, but I also think a lot of people on the Right think that this is how things should be done anyway. I think they sort of want a blowhard kind of dude to just walk around swinging his testicles hither and yon demanding to get whatever he wants. Which, unless one is a fascist dictator threatening to nuke the planet, is actually not a very good way to lead a country.