President-Elect Donald Trump may be asking the same question Robert Redford's character does after winning his race at the end of the classic 1972 film "The Candidate": "What do we do now?"
Trump, a political newcomer can rely on the business skills that enabled him to successfully navigate the tortuous world of politics. He might also tap the expertise of conservative policy analysts who are already sharing their thoughts on what Trump’s priorities should be, and what they anticipate from a Trump presidency.
“I think one big (issue) would be unifying the country,” David From, Illinois state director for Americans for Prosperity, told AMI Newswire. “Obviously, this (was) a divisive election so unifying the country is imperative.”
One of the main takeaways, From said, is that many Americans feel left behind and strong economic growth is the best way to address their concerns.
From said that some of Trump's proposals, like reforming the tax code and eliminating red tape and regulation that put a strain on businesses can go a long way toward expanding wealth and opportunity.
One of the first regulations on the chopping block should be the Affordable Care Act (ACA), From said.
“It’s a program that costs far too much and puts terrible strain on employers and individuals, and it’s really a bad policy that needs to be done away with. So I think that should be one of his first proprieties,” he said.
Enacted by President Barack Obama in 2010, the ACA promised to provide affordable healthcare to all enrollees. Instead, health insurance premiums have spiked since then, and many insurance companies have exited the Obamacare exchanges all together following significant financial losses and increased concerned with the high medical costs and low enrollment in the marketplace.
“I think the American people are generally in agreement on (repealing Obamacare),” From said. “A lot of polling shows that Obamacare is very unpopular.”
With a Republican president, House and Senate, chances are Obamacare’s days are numbered.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, approximately 22 million would be left without health insurance coverage if Obamacare is repealed but not replaced.
Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said he anticipates Trump will follow through with his promise of economic liberalization and implementing a regulatory moratorium.
“I think that’s a good idea, and I expect that will be one of the first things you see a new President-Elect Trump do,” Crews said. “He wouldn’t be unique in doing that – Obama has done it; both George Bushes have done it. It’s a chance to review the regulations that are on the books and kind of coming down the pipeline, essentially."
Trump might start, as he promised in the campaign, by reviewing President Obama's unilateral executive actions. According to the Federal Register, as of Aug. 26, President Obama has signed 249 executive orders during his presidency. In comparison, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton signed 291 and 364 executive orders, respectively.
Obama, however, has signed far more presidential memoranda than than any other president in history. In his first seven years he issued 219 of them; Bush, by contrast issued 131 during his entire eight years.
The presidential memorandum carries the same weight as an executive order and neither require congressional action to execute.
“Most of what Obama has done, rather than (signing) executive orders, has been memoranda and notices and fact sheets,” Crews said. “In other words, not regulations written down, and not even executive orders written down in the normal way, but he has put out statements of policy.”
Crews said Trump has talked about the immigration orders and expects the president-elect may take action against some other executive orders and memoranda as well.
Jason Bedrick, policy analyst for the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, said although he does not have general advise for the incoming president,Trump has promised to expand school choice, which is admirable, but he should go about it the right way.
Firstly, Bedrick advises Trump to avoid a nationwide federal voucher program.
“Besides the fact that the federal government has no constitutional authority to enact one, choice advocates are already winning on a state-by-state basis,” Bedrick said. “The dangers of federal regulations outweigh the benefits of expanding school choice nationwide. School choice policies are best left to the states.”
Instead, Trump should adopt an education savings account (ESA) program in Washington, D.C., Bedrick said.
“The federal government does have constitutional authority in D.C., where it currently operates the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP),” he said. “The OSP should be expanded into a universal ESA that empowers all D.C. families to spend the funds on a wide variety of educational expenses in addition to private school tuition, including tutors, textbooks, online courses, curricular materials, and more, as well as save unused funds for later expenses, such as college.”
The Trump administration should explore similar options in areas where the federal government has jurisdiction, such as on Native American lands and military bases, Bedrick added.
The third thing Bedrick advises is reducing the federal role in the classroom.
“Unlike his predecessor, President Trump should curtail federal involvement in district school classrooms nationwide by phasing out intrusive programs and mandates, thereby giving states and local communities more freedom to determine what works best for them,” Bedrick concluded.