By Emerson Lynn
Monday, Dec. 19, Vermont’s electors met in Montpelier to do what is expected of them, which is to commit themselves to the losing candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Of all states, Vermont gave her the highest percentage support, which means, obviously, that we gave President-elect Donald Trump the least.
Because Mr. Trump is such a political unknown, and because he seems to nurse grudges, and because he is building an administration that seems to be locked in step with his character, it is fair to wonder how Vermont will fare with him as president.
It’s a given that we will not be part of his victory tour. With Sen. Patrick Leahy being the most senior member of the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Bernard Sanders likely to be Mr. Trump’s most vocal critic, the harmony between their staffs and that of the new Trump administration will certainly be less than what they have known for the last umpteen years.
(It’s probably a good thing that Vermonters overwhelmingly elected Republican Phil Scott as their next governor, although Mr. Scott was less than charitable to Mr. Trump’s boorish ways on the campaign trail.) As bitter as many Vermonters are about Mr. Trump’s shocking victory, it will be interesting to see how our thoughts evolve as Mr. Trump pushes forward.
His November victory has already sent the stock market skyward; the Standard & Poor’s index is up over 11 percent this year, far above what most predicted and businesses are reportedly more optimistic for the year ahead, small business in particular.
If good jobs become more plentiful and if people’s retirement accounts keep pushing beyond historical norms, the judgments will soften. Prosperity hides a lot of sins. This is perhaps the biggest fear for Democrats; if Mr. Trump continues to preside over a roaring economy (which he inherited from the preceding Obama administration) they will have lost a key part of their argument and a key part of their constituency.
If that roaring economy depends on promised cuts in corporate tax rates, and on an administration that has pledged to cut back on government regulation, then the pieces are in place to accomplish just that. The people Mr. Trump has nominated to be part of his cabinet are virtually all government outsiders and people practiced in the art of fighting the bureaucracy. Congress is controlled by the Republicans and most of them, awed by his unexpected victory, have quickly become devotees of Mr. Trump and are marching to his tune.
None of us know how all this will turn out. We’re in “unpresidented” territory. But we’ve misjudged Mr. Trump’s chances from the first moment he tweeted his interest in the job. It’s probably wise to keep an open mind as to what may evolve.
That does not change our monumental concerns, most of which are based on his narcissistic behavior and autocratic style. Will he become more humbled as he assumes the presidency? We fervently hope so.
Emerson Lynn is the publisher of St. Albans Messenger, a sister publication of the Mountain Times.