Consider what we’ve seen in economic policy during the Trump administration: A huge corporate tax cut; efforts across the executive branch to gut regulations on business; a push to reverse the Affordable Care Act that has never ceased, even in the face of a pandemic and mass unemployment that threatens to leave millions uninsured; and hostility to food stamps and a refusal to consider expanding the program, despite the severest economic downturn since the 1930s. This is a “workers party”? Only if you think workers benefit from government doing everything possible to maximize profits for big business while doing nothing to steer business decisions — and also that government must go out of its way to ensure that the safety net doesn’t encourage those workers to become the parasitic layabouts they’d otherwise be predisposed to be.
So much for populism.
On the foreign policy front, things may be even worse. Trump promised to end the interminable wars that began in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to make a fundamental change in our dealings with the world. The idea was that unlike neoconservatives and liberal internationalists who often favor military interventionism around the world, Trump would put “America first,” by which he appeared to mean placing American interests at the center of policymaking. This would mark a shift from administrations of both parties taking their cues from supposed moral and geopolitical imperatives to use American military might to topple dictators and “spread democracy” — goals that had frequently ended up spreading chaos instead, and getting American soldiers bogged down in indecisive conflicts from North Africa to South Asia over the past two decades.
And what have we actually gotten from the Trump administration in foreign policy?