I’m Bearish on the Trump Agenda

I thought it might be helpful to document my big picture reaction to Donald Trump over the last year.

During the campaign: “Trump will never win.”
Election night: “OMG — Trump won.”
Transition: “Trump won’t really do all the crazy stuff he talked about.”
Travel Ban: “OMG — Trump really is going to do all the crazy stuff he talked about.”

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve settled into the idea that Trump could do some damage, but he is going to be limited by the fierceness of the resistance, his own incompetence, the divisions within the GOP and the institutional forces that resist change.

We’re witnessing how those obstacles are already getting in the way of his travel ban, Obamacare repeal efforts, plans for tax reform and building the wall.

Another great example was his announcement recently of attempts to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan. I’ve already pointed out how the document he signed was merely the beginning of an attempt to re-write the rules curbing carbon emissions and that any real attempt to do so will face tremendous uphill challenges in the courts. But I love the response of these renewable energy entrepreneurs.

So is Washington trying to kill the renewable energy revolution? Jeff Tannenbaum and Jigar Shah don’t believe that’s possible. They were both involved with a company called sPower, which has built and operates 150 utility-scale solar and wind power projects across the U.S. and the U.K. It was sold in February to giant utility AES Corporation for $1.6 billion—one of the biggest deals ever in the green energy industry.

Tannenbaum and Shah say that deal is just one of many that prove the shift away from fossil fuels is inevitable, whatever the political climate and no matter who is in the White House…

Shah is frustrated with what he sees as the media’s doomsday coverage of the attack on clean energy by the Trump administration. “This is fake drama,” he said, referring to Trump’s executive order. “We’ve already won the battle.”

To be honest, fake drama is something liberals are good at. Celebrating victories…not so much.

That is not to say that we should claim victory and go home. Nor is it an attempt to say, “Don’t worry, everything will be OK.” This president can do tremendous damage and there are battles to be fought both now and in the days, weeks, months ahead.

But we’re beginning to see why Obama always talked about how change in this country was like steering an ocean liner. He crafted his agenda to turn the ship a few degrees so that over time, we’d be heading in a different direction.

Donald Trump isn’t smart or focused enough to engage in that kind of long-term thinking. He is simply flailing and failing. That’s why my current status is to be bearish on the Trump agenda.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.