Dear President Elect Trump
An open letter
By David E. Black
Date Published: 12/1/2016


Congratulations on your election as our 45th President. That was quite an amazing election victory, confounding media moguls, political pundits, the entire Democratic Party and most of the Republican Party. Count me among the Republicans in doubt. I did vote for you but, respectfully, it wasn’t easy. What is clear to me is that you believed you could win from the start. I respect self-confidence. More importantly, I feel that you sincerely believe in our country and you believe we can be better as a country. Now the work really starts.

I don’t need to tell you we are a deeply divided country and we’ve been deeply divided since 1994, the Newt Gingrich Contract with America election later compounded with the Bush-Gore election of 2000, with the exception of the year or so following 9/11. The Obama Administration have been years of great political division. I blame both Republicans and Democrats for the problems. After the first 2 years of the Obama Administration (2009–2010) with complete Democratic dominance controlling the Executive Branch, the Senate and the House bringing us the ACA (Obamacare)—largely unread by members of Congress, Dodd Frank and a huge stimulus package with arguable results, the voters clearly rejected the Democratic agenda and elected a split government. The past 6 years of the Obama Administration have been gridlock with little long-term successes and battles at every turn. It’s been a period of political baiting on social issues and little focus on the economic future of the country.

We are a country that doesn’t talk with each other anymore, we talk at each other. Example, Vice President Pence’s visit to “Hamilton.” I saw the message one of the actors read at the end of the performance. Absolutely nothing wrong with what he said, clearly and respectfully articulating the concerns and fears of many. The problem, he talked at the Vice President elect, not with him. Talking with him may have been challenging, but something worth pursuing. There are legitimate fears and concerns that need to be addressed on both sides, but until we can talk with each other, we will not be able to move forward as a country. Anything you and your team can do to talk with the other side, with those who have concerns, will help heal the nation.

The change voters sought in this election lies primarily in economic measures. Growth in personal income for most has been lacking since the Great Recession. People have a real desire for positive economic change, how that is defined depends on the perspective of the person making the statement—far right, far left or a more centrist perspective, but for the purposes of this correspondence, let’s call it positive change that impacts Americans in their bank accounts, change for the general good of the country. As President, you are America’s champion for positive economic change.

I must say, since your speech in the early hours of Wednesday following Election Day, I have appreciated your tone. I thought your meeting with President Obama seemed to be a sincere exchange and even the somewhat awkward press availability afterward you handled things well, calling him “a good man.” The country needs to heal; the country needs to move forward. I don’t agree with every policy of President Obama, but I would agree with you, I believe he is a good man as well. 

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