Why I’m Not Afraid of Donald Trump as President (and Why I Also Kind of Am)

I don’t want Donald Trump to be President, and I plan to use my vote to prevent it from happening. But if it happens anyway, I’m not planning on grabbing my passport and running off to Europe or becoming an off-the-grid mole person or something. Because Trump becoming President doesn’t necessarily equal Trump’s agenda becoming policy — turning ideas into law takes the ability to play well with others (at least for a little while), and that’s one skill set Trump doesn’t seem to possess.


Most of us studied basic civics in school, but this stuff tends to get jumbled up as we watch movies, which tend to skip over the boring parts of the governmental process, and news, which tends to focus more on the talking points of the day than the foundation of our system of government. As it turns out, the boring, foundational stuff is pretty important. It means that the executive branch (the President and team) needs support from the legislative branch (Congress) and the judicial branch (the courts) to really make things happen. A President can push an agenda, but a President can’t get things done without working with other people.


Trump is great at attacking people, and he’s great at rallying supporters — but he seems to be a disaster when it comes to interacting with peers. What’s going to happen when he can’t point a finger at Congress and threaten to fire them? My guess is nothing. There’s a good chance he’ll be a lame duck for his entire term, unable to get things done. A loud and blustering and embarrassing duck? Sure. A kind of entertaining duck? Probably. But not an effective one.


So when it comes to legislative policy, I think a Trump presidency could be rather benign; his bulldozer attitude just isn’t the right tool for political change. But of course, having a President whose hands are effectively tied IS something to be afraid of. Our economy is on shaky ground, violence is simmering all across the country, and terrorists like Isis are becoming stronger by the day. In many ways, it seems we could be nearing a dangerous tipping point, and when the balance shifts, we’ll need someone who can do more than stomp loudly and threaten to hit someone with a stick. We need a leader who can bring legislators together, and I think all of us, even those of us who may be thinking about voting for the guy, know that isn’t Trump. Bluster isn’t all that effective when it comes to fighting terrorism, and national security demands more than a snappy sound bite — and that’s why making American great again requires a better leader than Trump.


Carrie Rollwagen is the book columnist for Southern Living and a book reviewer at BookPage. She is Communications Director at Infomedia, author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook Snapchat and Twitter @crollwagen.

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