A populist-conservative melting pot

Trump was not exactly a model of clarity during the campaign. He was certainly consistent on his core issues—primarily immigration and trade—but he kept everyone guessing as to what his other priorities would be. At last, though, his cabinet and staff selections are giving us some major hints as to what he’ll try to accomplish.

My TAC colleague Daniel Larison has closely monitored Trump’s foreign-policy picks, wondering if Trump’s “bomb the sh** out of ’em” hawkishness or his “stay out of Syria and other countries that hate us” non-interventionism will win out in the end. There’s a similar question on the domestic front: will Trump govern as a populist or a boring old mainstream conservative?

The answer appears to be both. The populists will win on some issues and the conservatives will win on others, creating a fascinating mix of the two approaches that might or might not work on any number of levels. Trump may keep everyone happy at once, or he may stoke feuds within his own administration, alienate the GOP Congress, and fall out with the working-class voters who were so crucial to his election.