Trump's Address to Congress Portends Looming Budget Battles
President Donald Trump's first address to Congress on Tuesday night elevated the tone of his controversial presidency. But it also put both parties in Congress in an awkward position.
Democrats are temperamentally inclined to oppose his every move -- even though his plans to invest massively in American infrastructure reflect the kind of "nation-building at home" they like. Republicans support his call for increased defense spending in a dangerous world -- but are predisposed to worry about domestic spending that grows the national debt. These factors mean that Trump's budget and the governing vision that underlies it may not survive impact with reality on Capitol Hill, affecting not only domestic but also foreign policy.
Trump's unorthodox positions as a candidate, and his history of support for both Democratic and Republican policy platforms, should in some ways position him to be a "post-partisan" president. He ran for office as neither an ideological conservative nor a convicted liberal, but as an outsider executive who could bring his business acumen to Washington to restore economic growth and create jobs.
Democrats do not like to admit it, but he won a significant chunk of their former base: according to The Washington Post, of the 700 counties that voted for President Barack Obama twice, one-third of them switched their support to Trump in the 2016 election. Trump's challenger Hillary Clinton barely visited states like Michigan and Wisconsin, full of blue-collar Democrats, out of false confidence that she could hold these Obama voters. Many of the positions Trump articulated on Tuesday night -- on bringing back jobs that moved offshore, making it easier for companies to invest in America, making trade "fair" rather than simply "free," and enhancing paid vacation and other employment benefits -- target the historically Democratic working-class voters in the Midwest who flocked to his banner.