Experts weigh in on how Trump presidency will change U.S.

A panel of professors from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota discussed their expectations and predictions for Donald Trump's presidency.

- A panel of professors from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota have weighed in on how a Donald Trump presidency will change the country. Their verdict: too much is unknown.

But, based on his campaign rhetoric there are strong indications of a new direction, especially on immigration.

“What he wants to do is quite clear,” said Professor Ryan Allen. “How he intends to do it is up for debate.”

During his presidential campaign Trump said he would deport illegal immigrants and end federal subsidies to cities that provide sanctuary to undocumented workers. 

“I would suggest to you that many of these policies he has put forward will require congressional approval,” said Allen.

Others will not, including the suspension of immigration from countries that support terrorism, something the soon-to-be president could achieve through an executive order.

But Allen warns, “Even with the power of the presidential magic wand, he will not be able to do what he wants.”

On banking reform, Trump could also have significant influence. During his campaign he promised to end the Dodd-Frank banking law that was passed at the height of the financial crisis that brought on The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.

Art Rolnick, a Humphrey School Senior Fellow and former Federal Reserve researcher said Dodd-Frank was the country’s attempt to regulate its way to a better banking system. In light of Trump’s election Rolnick said, “I suspect Dodd-Frank is going to be significantly amended.”

But, Rolnick says there are early indications the new administration may take a new approach to education. 

“They are very interested in our approach to early childhood education," Rolnick said. 

Rolnick calls it the Minnesota Model. The model uses public and private partnerships to target low income families to provide neonatal support, highly directed preschool and parental guidance. Programs such as the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis that have adopted this model have seen promising results.

In the last two legislative sessions, the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton have provided more state money to support early learning scholarships for low-income families. Governor Dayton’s goal is to eventually build a universal pre-school program across the state.

“I have been contacted by the transition team, we have been asked to present our approach and our results,” Rolnick said. “So, it’s possible that we will have a supporter in Washington in this Administration for high quality early education for our most vulnerable kids.”

On women’s issues, the future is also unclear. Professor Christina Ewig, the director of the Center on Women, says a Trump presidency with the power to appoint justices to the Supreme Court will most certainly have an impact on reproductive rights. But, in other areas she argues there could be positive change.

“Part of his campaign promises were six weeks of paid family leave and that would certainly be an improvement over 12 weeks unpaid that we currently have,” Ewig said.

Others on the Humphrey School panel were cautious about Trump’s foreign policy implications for the United States. The school’s dean, Eric Schwartz, was a career diplomat, including serving as Hillary Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State. Schwartz warns that the U.S. now exists in a changing world of shifting economic and political power with China growing to become the largest economy by 2030. 

“While the United States will remain the largest power, its margin of error is diminishing rapidly,” warned Schwartz.

Additionally, global policy professor Ragui Assaad argues that Trump’s stances on terrorism risk the further alienation of the United States in Muslim counties. 

“And that is exactly what ISIS and al-Qaeda would like to convince the Muslim world that the U.S. is at war with the whole of Islam and that is dramatically going energize their ability to recruit and radicalize," Assaad said. 

The panel noted the overall direction of the United States is a slow ship to move. Still, Professor Ewig noted that an all-Republican government will change the dynamic.

“We will see change and this ship, yes, it moves slowly in the United States, but we will see swifter change due to a lack of gridlock,” Ewig said.


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