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Certainty in the Trumped-Up Era


You may have noticed during the presidential primaries and candidates’ debates that President-elect Trump rarely mentioned Congress. He seemed to be operating under the premise that the presidency reigns supreme over all of government and that there would be few impediments to getting what he wanted.

During the financial crises of 2008, 2009 and as we slowly regained our national footing, the feeling of uncertainty waned as the economy grew and regained stability. And no surprise, as uncertainty diminished, charitable giving improved.

Trump’s campaign strategy appealed to the electorate’s strong desire for disruption and change in Washington…a desire so strong that his supporters overlooked many of his documented psychological and humanistic flaws. While the Trump campaign captured the brass ring through blustery messaging, impossible promises, and divide and conquer tactics, the realities of governing require executing on policy.

By its very nature, governing brings a number of certainties. These certainties give me a modicum of optimism, which give me a bit of hope and comfort.

We can be certain the real Republicans and Democrats in Congress will not take kindly to many of Trump’s irrational and unconstitutional policy promises.

We can be certain that Republicans and Democrats in Congress know that mid-term elections, like the one in 2018, typically do not reward the party residing in the White House, especially if the previous two years of governing fall short of campaign promises or people realize how draconian some of his policies are.

We can be certain of stock market cycles, with wide swings, in response to administration acrimony, foreign policy blunders and fractures in domestic and international coalitions.

We can be certain that Trump supporters, who believed what he was saying, will be impatient and angry about the policy and legislative paralysis that is ahead. His other supporters probably do not expect much but thought they would give him a try because they didn’t trust Hillary.

We can be certain there will be less money from the federal government for a host of human services, scientific pursuits, public health, environmental protection, LGBTQ and women’s rights … because pressure to reduce discretionary spending in the federal budget, driven by unsustainable tax cuts for corporation and high earners, will be intense. In turn, coming budget cuts will hurt the causes many nonprofit stakeholder organizations support.

We can be certain that rapidly evolving structural changes in the healthcare system will be disrupted. Few remember what the “system” was like before the Affordable Care Act, when healthcare premiums were rising 15% – 20% a year and tens of millions of people were not protected from health-related catastrophes. Perhaps if we just rename Obama Care to Trump Care, all will be fine.

Finally, we can be certain that the nation will continue to show its strength, resolve, resilience, and brilliance through the nonprofit sector, and we will have the opportunity to shine a bright light on our nation’s pathways to success.

Hang in there.


  1. Judy Harrington

    Thank you, Larry.

    As my darling dad always said when things seemed bleak…it’s darkest before dawn.


  2. Susan Axelrod

    Larry, as much as I try to be optimistic and uplift my clients and have a positive outlook, I am struggling at this time.
    I appreciate your sentiments in this article, but as witnessed by the election results, we can be certain of almost nothing.
    I can agree wholeheartedly on the last certainty you offer. Thank you for that reminder. All the very best, Susan

  3. Cheryl Cartwright

    I have not heard a better summation of the flu-like “Trumpitis” being suffered by the nation ( like when having the flu we sometimes go off-track and even hallucinate but once it passes we are up and running and ready to be better than ever !)
    How will it be cured with no doctors, no meds … just good old American know-how, vigilance and resolve to find the truth beyond the lies and stay true to the nation’s fundamental values !
    Thanks Larry for your insights, I will now be able to sleep at night again ! And I am Canadian haha !

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