Here are some post-election reasons to be optimistic, even if, like me, you have had or still have your reservations about Donald Trump:
Trump the tax-cutter. If taxes are headed in a direction, it's downward, rather than upward, both at the corporate and the personal levels. That should be good for economic growth and for prosperity. Trump campaigned as a tax cutter, and part of Hillary Clinton's reason for losing is she had no corporate tax reduction proposal and no one believed her pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning $250,000 a year or less.
Trump the ISIS-fighter. Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS, and part of all his talk about a ban on Muslims entering America was a way of signaling that he would be tougher than Hillary Clinton against radical Islamic terrorism (a phrase, by the way, that he isn't afraid to use.) He opposes the Iran deal, unlike Hillary Clinton. Part of Hillary Clinton's reason for losing is putting Khizr Khan and his covered silent wife on the podium at the presidential convention and trying to win election as the candidate who is more tolerant of Muslims. Americans turn out to be less interested in tolerance of Muslims (though we aren't intolerant) than in defeating the terrorist threat, which the Obama administration in which Clinton served has not done.
Trump the open door on immigration. Trump's mother and wife are immigrants. People remember his talk about building a wall. But on August 6, 2015, in the Republican presidential debate on Fox News, he said, "I don't mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into the country legally." On August 23, 2015, on CBS, he said, "This will be a wall with a big, very beautiful door because we want the legals to come back into the country."
Trump the free trader: Trump has consistently stressed that he is for free trade, he just wants better deals. Take him at his word, for now, at least.
Trump the progressive on gay rights. Remember, an openly gay Silicon Valley investor, Peter Thiel, spoke at the Republican National Convention and is a prominent Trump backer. Take it even from the vehemently anti-Trump New York Times: "Donald Trump's More Accepting Views on Gay Issues Set Him Apart in G.O.P."
Trump the proof that money doesn't buy elections. Trump's victory is a potent argument against the speech restrictions known as campaign finance "reform." He won despite being outraised and outspent by the Clinton campaign by a vast margin, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.
He could be a good president. Certainly, his victory in itself is an impressive accomplishment. Displaying thrift (reminiscent of JFK's old joke about how his father was willing to buy him the presidency, but didn't want to pay for a landslide) and an ability to adjust to setbacks, he vanquished a formidable field of Republican opponents and then Hillary Clinton.
He took on the press and won. The Carlos Slim-owned New York Times threw everything they had at Trump, printing his tax return, publishing a Spanish-language editorial denouncing him, excavating unsubstantiated allegations against him. So did the Washington Post, which also published the news of his "locker-room talk." But the press isn't as powerful as it once was. Trump took to Twitter and ran successfully against the media that overwhelmingly endorsed Hillary.
Trump has some high quality people around him. Mike Pence is a solid conservative. Newt Gingrich, if in some ways erratic, has one of the most fecund center-right minds in Washington and one that may surprise liberals with fondness for things like federal science and medical research. Rudolph Giuliani, if a bully as a federal prosecutor in New York, was nonetheless a successful, pro-immigrant, tough on-crime, pro-Israel mayor of New York.
Conservative judges. A friend in the Trump camp relates the story of how Trump came up with his list of judges. He called Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. There weren't elaborate subcommittees or weeks of deliberations. He called Leonard Leo, and that was the list. Can you think of a better person to call?
ObamaCare's days are numbered. I'll have more to say about this elsewhere and soon. Republicans will need to find other ways to cover the uninsured or at least provide access to health care for them, either at the federal or state level or through market or charitable means. But the worst parts of the Affordable Care Act, and possibly the whole thing, will be gone.
Some stars in Congress. Newly elected John Faso of New York will be a GOP star in the upcoming Congress: steady, honest, pro-growth. So will newly elected congressman from Florida Brian Mast, a double-amputee combat veteran of the Army Special Forces who did graduate work at Harvard and is a phenomenal public speaker and friend of Israel. These guys are strong players.
Donald Trump has built a lot of golf courses. In thinking about him, one has to be realistic. Even the best golf pro doesn't hit a hole in one every time. Trump needs to be measured against par. Par was Hillary Clinton — the candidate that nearly all the newspapers (with the notable exceptions of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the New York Sun) endorsed, the candidate that the New York establishment led by Michael Bloomberg endorsed, the candidate who was vowing to "rein in Wall Street" while she and her husband were collecting millions of dollars in "speaking fees" from these same banks.
As my late grandmother (like Trump a New Yorker and the daughter of an immigrant) used to say, "It could be worse."