I was wrong

January 23, 2018

Like Mollie Hemingway, I didn’t expect Donald Trump to govern so conservatively.

Trump was not my first or even second choice for president, but a full two years ago I predicted he would win. I also predicted he’d be a progressive president, which explained why I was not among his supporters and why I am so pleased now.

Expecting Progressive Trump was a reasonable assumption. Trump supported the 2009 stimulus, the auto bailouts and the bank bailouts. He’d recently left the Democratic Party and had raised a ton of money for the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer. He’d supportedsingle-payer health coverage, tax increases and even Planned Parenthood.

He was a New York liberal who had conquered the Republican Party in part by promising a good Supreme Court nomination. That was the most I allowed myself to hope for when he won.

I still wouldn’t hold him up as any kind of a role model. However, President Trump has been fortunate in his enemies: no matter how outrageous or vulgar he has been, his opponents have seemed determined to make him look statesmanlike in comparison.

One thing that has pleased and surprised me is how he has shown deference to the constitutional role of Congress. For example, in the DACA issue, I support lenience for illegal aliens whose parents brought them here when they were children, but it needs to be done by legislation, not executive fiat. All my life there’s been a steady transfer of power from Congress to the Presidency, even under conservative presidents like Reagan. Trump’s administration so far seems to be moving in the other direction.

A lot will happen in the next three years, but so far this presidency has been a success.