Q of the Week: What Should Trump Do Next?

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Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare flopped last week, but President Trump is ready to move to the next item on his agenda: tax reform. This week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers what they would like to see the Trump administration focus on now, and why. Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful responses.

Andrew Vernon suggested Trump save his political capital:

The president should focus on things that will make America more competitive and the federal bureaucracies more efficient, e.g. tax reform, infrastructure, regulatory overhaul, etc., instead of wasting what little political capital he had (and taxpayer money) on walls, misguided immigration policies, Twitter rants, attacking the media and judiciary …

Will Taylor is hoping Trump can keep things in perspective, and instigate incremental change:

President Trump should continue to work on tax reform with the understanding that the legislation will take time to develop. The president may not be able to accomplish this legislation this year. In the interim, the president should identify smaller pieces of legislation around which he can build some bipartisan support and his credibility.

But Daniel Scherrer sees appointing and cooperating with an independent investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia as a much higher priority:

Either he should clear his name, or spare the nation a drawn-out ordeal by getting out. There are real and growing concerns that the president of the United States is an agent of the Russian secret police … This issue is beyond politics. Nothing is more important than this.

Christina Kopp wants Trump to get back to his campaign-trail message and support paid family leave:

This is an issue that could find bipartisan support, as it addresses social and economic issues important to both Republicans and Democrats. But for paid family time to have a real and positive impact on American society as a whole, it would have to be available to women and men, biological and adoptive parents, blue-collar, service, and white-collar workers. I’m not sure Trump and this Congress are capable of passing such legislation. Still, here’s hoping!

Many readers suggested that infrastructure might be the best place to start. From Don Buchanan:

Before he starts cutting taxes for the rich, why not a bill for infrastructure repair and mass transit improvements? Then he will know whether the nation can afford more tax cuts for the well-off.

And Tom Lucas:

[Infrastructure is] a great opportunity to create jobs and improve communities.  It’s also an area that Democrats would be willing to work on with him, so there’s actually a chance of it happening.  Our roads and mass transit are in terrible condition, particularly in the Northeast, and are long overdue for an investment.

But Charlie Van Pelt doesn’t think Trump should give up on health care just yet:

He would show himself a true statesman and secure his place in history if he grasped the initiative (as he said he would during the campaign), and proactively worked across the aisle to “fix” the ACA. This would appeal to far more constituents than it would turn off, and require less heavy lifting to accomplish once goals are agreed upon. Trump would find serious consideration of his further goals much easier if he seriously and cooperatively addressed a solution to the ACA’s problems.

And J. Eric Humphreys suggested simply: “Honesty. It would be a refreshing change. Might even attract some moderates.”