Is it strange that the daughter of a populist, nationalist President appears to be a complete liberal, pushing open borders and refugee acceptance?
Well, actually, yes. It is strange.
If Ivanka Trump had been the daughter of anyone else, or if her father weren’t so famous though, it wouldn’t be strange at all. Ivanka fits all the celebrity moulds you can think of. She is rich, has no contact with normal society, probably can’t empathise with a normal person in the street’s reaction to the conversational topics she is most excited about, and generally represents a totally alien point of view to people who voted for her father.
What makes this strange is that President Trump can’t be unaware that his daughter has those values, or that her message is being spread through the media like flames through dry haystacks.
President Trump cannot be unaware that her vocal position, so starkly counter to the promises he made to get elected, is creating a massive rift in his White House as far as the casual viewer is concerned.
It isn’t strange that a wealthy, high-class woman with no populist roots in her history would decide to be really caring and inclusive and stuff. That’s very popular with left-aligned women right now.
What makes this strange is that President Trump has so far done nothing about it. Or at least, that would be strange if you expected him to do anything else.
Take for a moment the possibility that Trump doesn’t really have to do what his daughter tells him to do. Infantilising the man who just won the Presidential Election and is currently holding Russia and China over a barrel in North Korea and Syria while simultaneously working on healthcare reform, education reform, and tax reform all at once is a rough choice. Most of us have trouble just getting up in the morning.
What makes this strange is that she’s allowed to appear that way, then.
This has been conflated with a number of odd policy decisions that President Trump has made in recent weeks which have led to some consternation and accusation amongst his followers. Allowing DREAMERS, firing missiles into Syria, nearly getting into a war with the Russians, attempting to intimidate North Korea directly—these all more or less run counter to his election platform. It has created the worry that Trump is submitting to the institutional and non-elected members of the government which tend to be rather more permanent and interested in the status quo than those elected on populist platforms.
Mostly, though, it blames Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner for having too much influence in the State Department.
So taken another step into the speculative, the question isn’t even whether or not Ivanka should be allowed to speak her mind. It’s more along the lines of: “Should a family member be making or influencing decisions?”
The question, then, is dynastic in nature. With the Clintons on one side trying to push every resource available into making Chelsea Clinton a viable candidate for office in the future with her mother’s comprehensive failure to sway the American voter, Trump appears to be doing something similar with his daughter.
We have to stop there, though, and think it through. We don’t have any idea what is happening in the White House, and we certainly don’t have access to the strategic picture painted by economic forecasts, intelligence services, and other extensions of the US Government. Is Ivanka pushing anything at all? All we have is hearsay.
Her major function right now, though, appears to be pulling attention away from things that are actually important. It’s the sort of sensationalist punditry that can be incredibly damaging in the short term to a person’s public image. Trump has a number of years in office, and his approval ratings are recovering after his first hundred days.
If asking for patience seems like a weak response to the information at hand, you should try and remember that we actually have no concrete information at hand, except that a mixed bag of policies appear to be spooling out of President Trump’s pen. Yes, he did shoot missiles at Syria, but he is also initiating, apparently, a withdrawal from NAFTA as promised. The wall remains a contentious issue, and my assumption is that the Democrats want something in return for allowing it to be funded.
So short of some phenomenal breakthrough piece of journalism which exposes the inner workings of the current West Wing, all of these questions will be answered with the aid of hindsight at some point.
I’d personally like to tell everyone to calm down. Geopolitics is often a long, endurance- and attrition-based campaign between vast numbers of conflicting economic and demographic trends, and the current era is no different.
Ivanka Trump has her opinions. So does everyone else in and outside your life. All must be respected and carefully thought through, and even discussed with other interested people.
However, if there’s going to be a bit of breakthrough journalism, I’d recommend keeping an eye on @JackPosobiec and @stranahan on Twitter so you can see it first. They are two of the best currently in Washington.