Since there still seems to be a lot of resistance to the idea that Trump and Congress will collaborate effectively (“What if Trump wants to expand Social Security and Medicare?” Um, 1)he won’t, and 2)if he does, nothing will happen because Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell don’t support it), the already-extensive cooperation between Trump and Congress is worth recapitulating:
Meanwhile, the Congressional party is working hand-in-glove with its presidential wing. Every Trump cabinet nominee, even those who are brutally unqualified (like Ben Carson) or laden with serious ethical problems (like Tom Price), seems likely to sail through a Senate that can only afford to lose two Republican votes. And Congress has allowed Trump to conceal his tax returns and maintain his business empire, two violations of norms that would permit massive self-enrichment by the president and his family. Republicans have instead directed the oversight machinery of Congress against Trump’s critics and former opponents.
Trump and his party are cooperating on a wide range of traditional Republican policies: regressive tax cuts, weakening of labor laws, environmental protections, and regulations on the finance industry, and an assault on the Affordable Care Act. Both Trump and the Congressional GOP have attacked Obamacare for providing too little coverage, and have refrained from writing detailed alternatives because their ideas would provide even less coverage. To the extent that Trump is giving his Congressional wing trouble on health care, it is because he spouts off without understanding the issue.
The differences between Trump and his Congressional allies are no wider than those that divided Barack Obama and his party in 2009, or George W. Bush and his party eight years before that, or Bill Clinton and his eight years prior. Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, the epitome of the libertarian, pro-business, Paul Ryan–esque Republican money wing, has praised Trump’s policies. “There just isn’t much daylight between us,” he told Politico recently.
It’s worth noting that trade is much more marginal to the conservative agenda than is commonly assumed. Remember that Bush put quotas on Chinese textiles, for example. Congressional Republicans are OK with some light protectionism as long as they get their upper-class tax cuts and weakening of labor rights.
I strongly recommend the rest of the post, which observes that “using populist rhetoric and ethnic nationalism to sell pro-elite policies” isn’t in tension with Jacksonianism — it’s what Jacksonianism was, although this has been obscured by some bad history that tried to draw a straight line between Jackson and FDR. Trump is just a particularly good illustration that the contemporary home of Jacksonianism is the Republican Party.
“There will be too much conflict between Trump and Congress for Congress to do much” is a nice story, but there’s no reason to believe that it’s true. And the idea that Trump will compel Congress to do anything that is in conflict with central Republican goals is nuts.