I have been a “Never Trump” conservative/libertarian throughout the entire 2016 election. Unfortunately, forces on both the left and right have allowed Donald Trump to win the election in a shocking landslide.
President-elect Trump is a true wild card: he wields a mind full of vulgarity and empty of substance. A number of his policy proposals carry the stench of populism that is distinctly anti-conservative. In short, I am highly skeptical of President-elect Trump. But, maybe foolishly, I do hold out hope that he may be able to overcome his various defects and govern successfully as a conservative. Here’s how:
Trump’s most important task is to nominate and push through confirmation of conservative Supreme Court justices. This is non-negotiable. The list of potential nominees Trump has released is promising, but I remain skeptical about his commitment to follow through if political pressures begin to mount against him. If Trump nominates moderate or leftist justices, his presidency will be a failure.
Trump needs to repeal the failing Affordable Care Act, better know as Obamacare, and not replace it. Trump has floated the idea of replacing it with a “single-payer” system. This would be disastrous, as well as anti-conservative.
Trump should lead the charge to balance the budget. Conservatives have been unsuccessful in reigning in government spending. This is their shot. With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans can balance the budget by cutting government programs, especially welfare. This is easier said than done, but is necessary for the future of the country.
Lower individual and business tax rates are a necessity. High taxes violate property rights and hurt businesses. There is no reason for Trump to fail here.
Trump needs to stop playing political footsie with Vladimir Putin. He needs to prevent Russian aggression in the Baltic states. Trump needs to commit to preventing Russian interference in the Baltics and reaffirm the United States commitment to NATO. If Trump’s rhetoric about Putin in the election is any indication of how his foreign policy will be handled, the next four years will be ruinous.
If President-elect Trump can accomplish even half the things on this list, he will be one of the greatest conservative presidents in modern political history. If not, the right faces destruction. As scary as it sounds, the future of conservatism is in Trump’s hands now.
Zach Gluckow is a freshman majoring in philosophy and political science.
Feature photo courtesy Flickr user Michael Vadon.