For the first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency, the media, the Left, and even some Republicans have become obsessed with the President’s tweets, fake news, and legislative dysfunction.
They eagerly use these diversions as a distraction. And while their efforts have taken a toll on Republicans’ ability to repeal Obamacare and move forward with the Trump agenda, the Trump administration has achieved several under-reported, yet, significant goals.
In his first six months in office, President Trump has already named 27 lower-court judges, in addition to naming Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. As Ronald A. Klain wrote in The Washington Post, this is “three times Obama’s total and more than double the totals of Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton — combined” for that time period. The effect this will have on the American judicial system over the next two-to-three generations cannot be overstated. These are lifetime appointments. If President Trump can continue to appoint conservative judges to U.S. courts, these judges will help shape American law for many years after Trump leaves office.
Another important and lasting change enacted by President Trump is his administration’s massive deregulation effort. During the campaign, President Trump pledged to repeal two federal regulations for every new one created, but his administration has remarkably revoked 16 for every one it has created. According to U.S. News and World Report, “the number of effective ‘economically significant’ regulations estimated to have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more has fallen to 58 – half of what it was in the fall of 2016.”
This aggressive deregulation plan is only going to continue. The Office of Management and Budget has created an email address to more effectively identify and respond to destructive federal regulations. But we should not stop there. Every Republican governor should implement a similar communication platform and create regulatory working groups to help seek out and destroy stupid regulations at the state level, as well. If we can quickly cut through decades of red tape at both the federal and state levels, the American economy will take off.
The Trump administration is also helping to strengthen the economy by implementing new programs.
At the Department of Energy, Secretary Rick Perry is building a breakthrough energy program that will lead to American energy dominance, boost liquid natural gas exports, and establish a sophisticated chemical industry in Appalachia and other parts of America’s forgotten coal country. This new industry will create hundreds of new jobs and bring multi-billion-dollar improvements to quality of life in these regions.
At the Department of Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke is rebuilding revenue streams that were nearly abandoned by President Obama. When President George W. Bush left office, oil and gas exploration revenues brought $17 billion a year to the Department of Interior. However, during the Obama years, this revenue stream dropped to only $2.5 billion, due to his administration’s refusal to use federal lands for anything productive. Zinke wants to put our national resources to use and plans to use part of the revenues generated to renew our national parks – which are the cornerstone of American environmental conservation.
There is no doubt that the Trump administration has made significant progress in its first six months – the liberal media just refuses to talk about it.
This is no accident. This is the Left’s strategy, and Republicans must combat it.
Part of the difficulty and confusion Republicans are facing stems from dealing with the efforts by those on the Left and in the media to fixate on everything except President Trump’s accomplishments. Republicans – at all levels of the government – must learn to see and work past the noise and stay focused on the real impact that is possible under a Trump presidency.
We need to develop a game plan that is simple, direct, and effective, and then use all our energy to communicate it well enough to the American people to drown out the constant attacks from the Democrats and the news media.
My suggestion is to start with serious tax cuts. This will allow Republicans to run as the party of prosperity, jobs, and growth in 2018.
If we can focus on completing conservative goals that build the economy, create jobs, and increase Americans’ take-home pay – without getting too fancy or complicated – we will be very successful in 2018, 2020, and beyond. Remember, the best year of economic growth under President Obama was worse than the worst year of economic growth under Bill Clinton.
However, if we fail to do this, and the Left continues to control the narrative, we run a real risk of surrendering the House and Senate to the Democrats next year – and dooming Americans to another period of failed Democratic economic policies.
Newt Gingrich is the author of 'Understanding Trump' and is a former Republican Speaker of the House.