On the heels of his major setback on healthcare President Trump’s approval ratings have now dropped to 36 percent in the latest Gallup Poll. Democrats, aided by most media outlets as usual, are piling on. Charles Krauthammer says his presidency is “damaged.” Mika Brzezinski says “this presidency is fake and failed.” Chuck Schumer says Trump has demonstrated a “basic lack of competence.”
While Mr. Trump has enjoyed many early episodes of success, it is undeniable that the healthcare debacle is a major setback. Why the Republicans failed to find consensus on “repeal and replace” over the past seven years is a mystery. But Trump can turn things around. Trump can be a huge success. But he must do three things – now.
Here’s the deal. At the end of the day, Trump’s presidency will be measured by those who matter most – voters – based on just two things. Those two things are not national defense, the war against ISIS, the budget deficit, national debt, immigration, or the wall. Trump’s success or failure will be determined by just two things . . .
That’s it. If wages go up and jobs are created, Trump wins. If wages continue to stagnate or decline, and job creation is anemic, Trump loses. It matters not what the Dow does, how the war ends or doesn’t end, what happens to Obamacare, or how well he builds the wall.
George H.W. Bush failed to understand “It’s the economy, stupid!” And it cost him re-election. It is still the economy. That’s what Americans care about more than anything else. And more specifically, they care about their personal economy. Do they have a good job at a rising wage? That’s it.
President Trump will fail if he allows himself to get distracted from these two issues – wages and jobs. So what are the three things he must do – now?
1. Form a jobs task force.
Economist Daniel J. Arbess wrote for Fortune: “President Trump should commission a public/private task force on the future of employment – with an emphasis on innovative ideas – including a broad range of thinkers.” Because America’s innovators have already shown willingness to meet with Trump, regardless of their political leanings, the president can bring in some big names and adopt some big ideas. He must empower this blue-ribbon group to make sweeping recommendations.
2. Invest in infrastructure.
The one thing Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed on during the past election cycle was the need for infrastructure. The Brookings Institution notes that infrastructure jobs “offer more equitable wages, require less formal education for entry, and are projected to grow over the next decade.” Trump’s campaign site promised “thousands of new jobs in construction, steel manufacturing, and other sectors to build the transportation, water, telecommunications, and energy infrastructure needed to enable new economic development.” If the president makes good on this promise, he will be seen as a uniter (infrastructure appeals to Democrats), while creating jobs at the same time.
3. Embrace green energy.
While this sounds like a non-Republican idea, it actually fits with the president’s stated goals. His own energy plan, during the election, stated, “Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of America.” The statement went on to promote renewable energy, as well. Tom Randall, writing for Bloomberg, said, “Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015, and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.” By embracing green energy, Trump would create new jobs, while staking out the middle ground of American politics that has not been seen since the days of Ronald Reagan. Not bad company.