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ISU Prof: Trump Political Capital May Go Quickly

Office of U. S. Rep. Paul Ryan

Entering the office with extremely low public approval ratings, soon-to-be President Donald Trump will likely start burning his political capital quickly. That's according to Kerri Milita, associate professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.

During Sound Ideas, Milita said Trump's best chances to get things done are during the first 100 days of his presidency.

"He'll try to get one or two key issues through quickly.  I think this is when Paul Ryan leading the House almost benefits from this because he becomes moreso the defacto leader of the party rather than Trump, right out of the gate," Milita said.

Depolarization is a problem for Republicans leading Congress, according to Milita. She said the GOP is fracturing much more quickly than the Democrats.

"It doesn't bode to well for the Republican agenda, ambitious though it may be, given their in-fighting that's been happening," Milita said.

With a vacancy remaining on the U. S. Supreme Court, Milita said Trump should be able to get a nominee approved. But she said that could be because Trump will likely have little to do with selecting that individual.

"I think the person who is selected will be a pick of one of Trump's allies. I'm not sure Trump is that invested in legal and judiciary policy himself. I think he might be leaning on (incoming Vice President) Mike Pence or even Ryan. That's kind of a quid pro quo they're going to do in the first 100 days," Milita said.

On tax reform, Milita said this could be Trump's best bet to make something happen, legislatively.

"The president-elect and Republican majority both agree on supply-side tax cuts. It's just restoring the Bush tax cuts whereas they had expired during the Obama administration. I think both sides very much agree on that," Milita added.

She said talk of privatization of Medicare and Social Security are likely to return.

"This is something that's very near and dear to Speaker Ryan's heart and the core Republican constituency is in favor of private-sector interventions, taking that away from government. And not just in health care, but in other areas such as education--having charter schools over public schools," Milita said.

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