Domestic considerations drive American politics

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus congratulates President-elect Donald Trump as Vice President-elect Mike Pence looks on.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (R) congratulates President-elect Trump on his victory. Mr. Priebus will serve as White House chief of staff (source: dpa)
  • Donald Trump’s winning strategy centered around voters who feel “forgotten”
  • His methods split the Republicans, but also weakened the Democrats
  • To achieve his policy goals, he will have to compromise with both sides
  • Domestic pressures will provide the impetus for Mr. Trump’s foreign policy
The 2016 United States presidential election confirmed what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s review of the cycles in American politics concluded nearly 40 years ago: it perpetually shifts between establishment and reform, conservatism and innovation, public purpose and private interest. As Schlesinger noted, the two “jostling strains” join to define America’s political tradition. The cycles are primarily internal. Each new phase must flow out of the conditions and contradictions of one that preceded it, and then prepare the ground for the next recurrence. Taking this view gives a sense of normalcy to the highly abnormal campaign the world has just witnessed.

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