It is not every day the president-elect of the United States calls me. Last Tuesday, it was Donald Trump on the line. He thanked me for Newsmax's early and fair coverage of his presidential quest.
I congratulated our nation's soon to be 45th president.
I have known the president-elect for almost 20 years. This election victory clearly came as a surprise to him, only sensing victory the last three days of the campaign. We have talked frequently through the years. I have seen him up close and personal as few other journalists have.
This call was different.
He was remarkably relaxed and focused, as if his moment had arrived. Our private conversation lasted about 10 minutes, the details I cannot share here.
Suffice to say, I recently wrote in my blog this new president, as the first truly "citizen president," has a unique opportunity to re-shape the country and the world.
I also gave Newsmax readers a preview of how a President Trump and his new administration might operate. So far, so good.
Despite having been a businessman his whole life, Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.
If I were laying out several cornerstones of a Trump presidency, I would focus on these five:
Jobs and the economy. Trump understood most Americans have been living in economic malaise for almost a decade with no real wage growth. That's why he won. He needs to deliver on this to win re-election. If he does, he could come up short in many other areas, and still succeed.
Obamacare. Obama won the argument: Everyone in the country needs medical coverage. But his solution has been a near disaster. To cover 10 million uninsured, he upended the existing and working insurance system for 300 million people. Trump will keep some of the few, good parts of Obamacare. Idea: Just improve Medicaid, and use it to give all uninsured blanket coverage.
Military. America is losing its super power status in a multi-polar world. Our military edge, especially in strategic nuclear weapons, had made us pre-eminent. But Russia has rebuilt and modernized its nuclear arsenal, some argue well beyond parity with the U.S. A powerful article in The Wall Street Journal by Franklin Miller and Keith Payne — "Trump’s Nuclear Deterrence Challenge" — should be setting off alarm bells.
Inclusion. America is polarized and divided. The election showed that. Demographics still don't favor Republicans. Census data shows each year two million whites over age 50 die. Today, Trump has an incredible opportunity to make Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and other groups feel truly part of the American dream — and see the GOP as their friend.
Media diversity. The near monolithic media machine that opposed Trump in the recent election is antithetical to the vision of the Founding Fathers' concept of a free press. Trump understands the danger here better than most. To be clear, he should take steps to make sure huge conglomerates do not dominate and control the country's major media. It will not only help him as president, but a diverse press insures a free flow of information, so vital to our democracy.
There is no question President-elect Trump is on a learning curve. But he has handled new and different challenges before. Just look how he well did as a presidential candidate.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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