A Republican and a Democrat agreed on little as they discussed what America might look like under the Donald Trump administration at a Friday forum of the Columbia Basin Badger Club.
Retired Republican Rep. Doc Hastings, who served in Congress for 20 years, said that just 10 days after the election, it’s too soon for firm Trump policies to be developed.
“We don’t know what kind of chief executive Trump will be,” Hastings said.
Hastings pointed out that Abraham Lincoln was elected as president after serving one term in Congress and one term in the Illinois Legislature, and faced more serious problems in the nation than Trump — Southern states declared their intention to secede from the union before Lincoln’s inauguration.
Jill Mullins-Cannon, a former Tri-City resident now working as an attorney with Justice & Equality Legal Services on Bainbridge Island, said she is concerned about whether democracy will survive a Trump presidency.
It’s up to citizens to make sure Trump does not take actions that harm future generations, she said.
“We’ve heard what (Trump’s) said,” Mullins-Cannon said. “We have to take him at his word. And we have to demand that he do better.”
There will be a number of choices that allow the consumer, the health consumer, to decide how they want their health care conducted.
Retired U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings
Hastings speculated that Congress will quickly move post-election to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare.
There’s an opportunity to replace the act with several bills that provide more freedom of choice and options for people, none of them mandatory, he said.
Voluntary medical savings accounts could be part of the mix. Hastings also would like to see insurance policy portability, allowing workers to keep insurance policies as they move among jobs.
He also would like health insurance to be purchased like car insurance, across state lines to provide more options.
“There will be a number of choices that allow the consumer, the health consumer, to decide how they want their health care conducted,” Hastings said.
Next up likely will be tax reform, he said.
With more Democrats up for election than Republicans in 2018, he expects bipartisan support for tax reform, he said.
Any time there has been tax reform over the last 50 to 60 years, economic growth has followed, and the growth could coincide with the election, he said.
These are the people who are going to be investigating whether or not when police pull you over you are doing anything wrong.
Jill Mullins-Cannon, attorney Justice & Equality Legal Services
Mullins-Cannon quoted founding father James Madison, who said, “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.”
She’s focused on limitations on voter rights — one of the most fundamental aspects of citizenship — with some states enacting oppressive voter laws and massive efforts to purge voter roles, she said.
She’s disturbed by the announcement that state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who campaigned for Trump, plans to introduce legislation to create a new felony crime of “economic terrorism.”
Protesters who block traffic could become felons, which would impact their voting rights, Mullins-Cannon said.
She’s not happy with the Trump’s choices for top posts in his administration, either.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s top strategist, was an executive at Breitbart News, which has been criticized as racist and anti-Semitic. Mullins-Cannon went a step further, calling Breitbart a white supremacist organization.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, was nominated as a judge in 1986, but there was pushback from a Republican-controlled Senate over alleged racist comments.
“These are the people who are going to be investigating whether or not when police pull you over you are doing anything wrong,” she said.
It’s not just a racial issue, but an issue for women, after past abuse of strip searches on traffic stops, she said.
The next Badger Club meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Shilo Inn in Richland to discuss the Columbia River Treaty. Purchase tickets at cbbc.clubexpress.com.