Whew! That was close. You got your people to the polls, and many Republicans stayed home or voted for you. Thank them, early and often. But millions of people did vote for Trump. We need to address their concerns so they’re not sitting ducks for the next demagogue. Here are ways to make that happen:
1 Keep your head down while President Obama passes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and gets Merrick Garland confirmed during the lame-duck session. The U.S. would rather have 12 leading Asian economies lined up with us against China rather than the other way around. You can keep Bernie’s people happy by passing national service (see below).
2 First thing: Pass an infrastructure construction bill. Ask Janet Yellen to raise interest rates to counter inflation and to gain sailing room for the next time the economy needs real stimulus. Ask John Kasich to design and to lead the infrastructure stimulus so you limit potential waste.
3 Convince Congress to pass the 2013 immigration bill, and sign it. You could negotiate something better with the new Congress, but it would take valuable time you need for other things.
4 Make three years of national service mandatory. Expand eligibility to police officers and a new Civilian Conservation Corps; focus the new CCC on projects such as tree planting and building new bike paths and sidewalks to counter global warming. Redefine affirmative action for the purposes of this legislation to include children from low-income families as well as racial preferences, and then sunset all preferences in 20 years. Graduates of national service get G.I. Bill-style free college and 10 years of enrollment in Obamacare. This brings the 20-somethings into college and the health risk pool. Ask them to gradually pay more of their health care each year until the subsidy disappears when they’re 35. Ask young retirees who didn’t serve in the military or the Peace Corps to volunteer as teachers and group leaders of national service.
5 Sit down with the new House speaker and Senate majority leader over a scotch and work out a framework for entitlement and tax reform that keeps the deficit going down. Even though it got zero coverage this election, every leader in Washington knows you need to melt the fiscal iceberg of baby boomer retirements before we get any closer.
6 Make sure the infrastructure and national service bills include provisions for building and staffing mental health and addiction recovery facilities. I lost a nephew a year ago to a heroin overdose, and we’ve all watched mass killings perpetrated by people with untreated mental illnesses. If you have extra time, you can try to pass gun-safety measures, but try not to stir up Trump voters’ Second Amendment anxieties. With more guns than people in the U.S., we’re better off enforcing current laws and tightening background checks than trying for gun control.
7 Keep up America’s leadership of trade reform and the post-World-War-II security structure. It’s still a dangerous world, and the best way to stay safe is to help other countries participate in the global economy while deterring the destabilizing ambitions of Russia and China.
8 Use the bully pulpit to promote marriage. Ask religious institutions and schools to offer more marriage and family education. Successful marriages are the best anti-poverty program going!
9 Find out who kept Obama’s administration scandal-free, and ask them to stay on. Give them your full support. Shutter the Clinton Foundation while you and Bill are in the White House.
10 Practice your yoga. We want you healthy during your second term. Good luck!
Steve Schewe, of Eden Prairie, is a business consultant. He blogs with his wife, Beryl Schewe, at www.habitsofresilience.com.