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On to policy. It is important to distinguish Trump the Person from Trump the Policymaker. Trump the person believes that the current international trading system is rigged in favour of the rich, of what David Goodhart calls “the anywheres”, who couldn’t care less about Making America Great Again. This is the New York crowd that kept a thrusting Trump at arm’s length, and only now have found reason to invite him into their more tasteful, less gilt-covered apartments for dinner. Trump the campaigner promised to smash that system in favour of one that protects American interests.

Trump the President is a different matter. Yes, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Clinton had promised to do the same, in deference to the trade unions that contributed so much manpower and cash to her campaign, and no one ever accused her of protectionist tendencies. Yes, he has imposed temporary tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, but several of his predecessors used the same procedure to levy duties on imports, and no one accused them of wanting to bring down the entire trading system. Yes, he threatens to scupper the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), but meanwhile negotiations proceed and seem to be making progress. Besides, most experts contend that, since Congress ratified the agreement with legislation, Trump can’t take America out of the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico without congressional approval.

Trump the Person would like to nuke North Korea to prove that his nuke is bigger than Kim Jong-un’s, but Trump the policymaker has had his Secretary of State and Vice President make it known that the United States is prepared to meet and negotiate with North Korea if sanctions remain in place so that dragged-out negotiations do not provide Kim with the cover he needs to continue to develop a capability to reach North America with nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

Trump the Person promised to put an end to illegal immigration, to deport those who arrived here illegally, with special emphasis on Mexican nationals. Trump the President has offered the approximately 800,000 registered “Dreamers”, men and women brought here illegally at a very young age by their parents, legal status and a path to citizenship. And similar treatment for another million who failed to register for leave to remain under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme instituted by President Obama. Trump dare not admit it to his core supporters, who have suffered job losses, downward pressure on their wages and a crowding of their hospitals and other social services from which the “anywheres” have been immune, but this is the equivalent of an amnesty. In return, he quite sensibly requests congressional funding of his “beautiful wall” and other enhanced border-security measures, lest the amnesty encourage another wave of “undocumented immigrants”, to use the designation preferred by the wealthier elites whose lawns need mowing and pools need cleaning, and who are unaffected by the pressures non-English-speaking immigrants put on educational and other social services.
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