Will 2017 be “more of the same”?

Donald Trump 2017

Republican and more conservative pundits are predicting great things for 2017 now that President-elect Trump is set to take office with Republican majorities behind him in Congress.

The propagandists from Camp Trump are predicting a political tsunami ready to hit Washington come January 20th. But, is this reality? Will Washington’s putrid swamp finally get drained now that a supposed “outsider” will be indwelling the Oval Office for the next four years?

Let’s look at a few prognostications, shall we, and examine some real possibilities for 2017. Will 2017 be radically different in America?

First, let’s look to government itself. We have just seen the House Republican Caucus attempt to hide their behavior from the American people by secretly voting to gut the independence of the watchdog group created to keep them in line.

Because of public backlash, they have reversed course, but it points to the ongoing institutional arrogance still entrenched in Washington.

I think we can look forward to a year of mostly “wheeling and dealing” with Trump coming from both sides of the aisle as those in office seek to maintain their position, perks, power, money, and influence. Just how much Trump will compromise to win legislative policy “victories” remains to be seen.

But, we have already seen “The Donald” walk back several of his campaign promises even before he gets inaugurated:

• Hillary investigation? Not going to happen.
• Build the wall? Maybe bits and pieces.
• Deport illegal aliens? Except for the millions of “dreamers” that we have to keep here.
• “Same-sex” marriage and the “gaystapo”agenda? It’s “settled law”, isn’t it?
• Overturn Roe v. Wade? Nope. Just let the states decide. (This tells us what kind of SCOTUS appointment Trump is planning – a mainstream RINO just like previous failed Republican appointments like Anthony Kennedy.)

What about American foreign policy in the era of Trump? This too could be convoluted. Trump has simultaneously talked about rebuilding the military and “sabre-rattled” against would be world tyrants like North Korea, but this stands in logical opposition to his also stated nationalism/isolationism which would withdraw America from the world stage to some extent.

So, which will it be? Are we going to remain the world’s only superpower (albeit weakened by 8 years of Obamism), or are we set to allow Putin’s Russia to reconstitute a new Cold War and fascist expansionism in Eastern Europe and the Middle East?

Yes, Trump has talked tough against radical Islamic terrorism, as he should. But, if in the process of excising this plague from the planet, Trump’s plans clash with Putin’s or the economic interests of some of his multi-national companies in foreign nations, just how far is Trump willing to go to really eliminate this threat to modern humanity?

He made the right move in nominating Gen. Mattis to Sec. Def., but his choice for Sec. State in Tillerson is highly questionable. Who will have Trump’s ear in cabinet meetings – the hard-nosed patriot, or the wealthy internationalist? Time will tell, I guess. But, by the end of 2017 we should have a pretty good idea which way Trump will be attempting to move America.

Another issue that will continue to plague Trump during this year is his temperament and maturity for the job. Often petulant and childish during the campaign, will he put those tactics aside now to actually govern? Given his insecure New Year’s tweet, it seems like he hasn’t outgrown his adolescent need to have the last word.

What about the American people? Will they all get firmly behind the Trump agenda in 2017? Given the actual numbers from the election (which others and I have reported about on a few occasions), Trump is taking the reins of a divided nation.

Even if we eliminate all of the Democrat “illegal alien” and “dead” voting numbers, we must realize that a huge number of Americans preferred someone as jaded, tainted, and corrupt as Hillary Clinton over the likes of Trump.

If we add in the numbers of votes Trump got from uneasy Republican voters who reluctantly preferred him as “the lesser of two evils”, we see that his base of support is not so wide as his “talking heads” on Faux News and Breitbart would have us believe. If Trump doesn’t keep his promises to conservatives, evangelicals, and blue collar white voters, he will go down in flames faster than Jimmy Carter.

And, what about the Democrat Party? Are they as dead as Dickens proclaimed Jacob Marley to be? Or, will we see a visit from Marley’s Ghost in 2017 just as Scrooge did?

Despite what some conservative pundits would like us to believe, the Democrats have not “taken their ball and gone home.” Liberals never quit; they just regroup, re-invent themselves, and re-package their socialist message into whatever it needs to morph into to deceive the masses.

Right now, the Democrats are preparing to engage in a secretive civil war within. We can see the factions forming as the new year begins.

First of all, Obama is not done in American politics, at least in his mind. He will not be like previous ex-Presidents – fading into private life, building his library, writing his memoirs, and being paraded out once in a while for high profile funerals. He will continue the only life he knows – community organizing and racial agitation.

I guarantee you that Barack Obama wants the Democrat Party to remain “in his image” for many years to come. He and his sycophants will be doing all they can to keep his phony “hope and change” alive in the Party and on the MSM networks.

Secondly, anyone who thinks the Clintons are done in politics is a fool. If Bill and Hill’s hearts are still beating, they will continue to look for opportunities to personally enhance their image, influence, and bank accounts – just as they have done their entire lives. Bill’s ego needs and Hillary’s lust for power will never go away as long as they are both on the green side of the grass.

They may dip below the political radar again for a few years to regroup, but look for some new effort, some new cause, and some new iteration of the Clinton Foundation to arise from Hillary’s self-inflicted ashes.

Third, the rest of the minions, radicals, and fanatics in the Democrat Party will all look to have a place at America’s table, no matter who is residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Each group has had some taste of success during both the Clinton and Obama eras (And, to a lesser extent, during the Pelosi Speakership years). Don’t look for them to retreat back to places like Berkley, NYU, and California. They still all firmly believe America belongs to them and all of the rest of us exist to fund their grand socialist, environmentalist, radical pro-abort, radical pro-LGBT, and racial “justice” agendas.

Nope. Trump and his people will be sorely tested this coming year by the left – emboldened by Hillary’s almost 3 million popular vote win in losing the election. If we thought Al Gore’s half million popular vote win loss to W in 2000 hampered Bush’s first term, just wait until the Democrats get to play victim all over again on a broader scale in 2017.

What remains to be seen is just how deep Trump’s convictions go. The left won’t give a wit about Trump’s 3 a.m. Twitter rants. They thrive on conflict and insults. Only weak-kneed Republicans (RINOs) back down when they are called names.

I’m not saying President-elect Trump can’t have a good 2017, but it will take a huge depth of character to whither the coming wave of opposition racing at him from home and abroad. If he stands firm on his new-found conservative principles (or if he just listens to the conservative voices in his circle of influence), he will prevail and America will be the winners.

But, if Trump’s goals are cheap media image victories that are meaningless in the long run, all of America will lose; as will Trump eventually.

2017 finds the world and America both dangerous and unpredictable places. Solid leadership stability is essential to moving forward and averting disaster. Does Trump really have what it takes?

As an NHL hockey commentator once famously said, “Adversity reveals character, it doesn’t create it.”

We will all see President-elect Trump’s real character in 2017, of that prediction we can be sure.

Russ Hepler

Russ Hepler is a pastor, teacher, political activist, author, and conference speaker with over 30 years of experience. He holds a B.A. from Messiah College and an M.A.R. from Evangelical School of Theology. He has been an issues’ advocate, a campaign volunteer for local, state, and federal candidates, Regional Field Director for PA Christian Coalition, president of a county chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, local Republican Committeeman, and an elected member of a town council. He is also a former and current homeschooler and taught in a Christian school (middle school History and Bible) for a number of years. He was formerly a blog writer for The Federalist Papers Project with over 900 articles published. He has been a guest on the American Family Radio program Today’s Issues with Tim Wildmon and on the Bill Martinez Live radio show. One of his sermons – Father’s Day – Where Have All the Heroes Gone? – was featured on the American Pastors’ Network. His first book – Yes! We Can Turn This Nation Around! A Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement – was published in 2012. It has recently been updated and expanded for 2016 – Yes! We STILL Can Turn This Nation Around! An Updated and Expanded Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement. Both works are available at Amazon.com. He and his wife, Sherry, have founded Transformation 1202 Ministries to educate, encourage, and challenge people of faith to get involved in the political and cultural issues of our day. The ministry has a website, a blog, and a Facebook page: Turn This Nation Around.

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