Hill Democrats have a challenge as they try to keep President Obama's legislative legacy intact
Some wonder if the White House will change Trump once he becomes president
What’s next for Obamacare? Will Donald Trump change as president? And which White House traditions might go out the window?
We asked some top political reporters what stories they’re watching closely in the new year.
Trump bids a blockbuster 2016 farewell
Here’s what they told us, in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast.
1) A different kind of White House
President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear he’s going to run the White House in his own way. Whether it was his frequent tweets, his unorthodox inner circle or his so-called outsider style of politics, Trump won the election by being himself.
But will the President-elect change once he enters the White House? That’s question has caught the eye of Matt Viser of the Boston Globe.
“He is a radical departure, as we know, from just about anything we’ve seen in modern politics,” explains Viser. “2017, to me, is going to be marked by change, and … him taking over these things, like a state dinner, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, press conferences, tweeting, his relationships with Congress. I think he is so unconventional, and he’s taking over an office that is steeped in tradition.
“So the question is, how much will he conform to these offices? And how much will he upend them?”
2) The next president and the press
While it’s tough to predict what a President Trump will look like, we do know the incoming administration has promised all kinds of White House protocol changes.
Reince Priebus, who’s been named Chief of Staff, and newly-named Press Secretary Sean Spicer haven’t been specific about the changes. But as NPR’s Domenico Montanaro reports, they are laser-focused on the customs involving press.
“Things like press conferences and assigned seating, which sounds kind of arcane, but actually started in 1981 as a way for administrations, both Republican and Democratic, to not show favoritism or an appearance of favoritism toward any specific reporter,” Montanaro reports. “But what’s gotten under the skin of some of the Trump transition officials is that they think that a lot of reporters do a lot of showboating in the White House.”
3) How hard will the Democrats fight?
When President Obama was sworn into office, some Republicans made it their mission to be a thorn in the White House’s side.
They wouldn’t be quieted and they wouldn’t be ignored. Now, the shoe’s on the other foot. In 2017, it’s Democrats who are the minorities in the House and Senate.
As Jackie Kucinich of the Daily Beast explains, they’ll be the group to watch beyond the White House.
“When Obama was elected, Republicans very quickly made themselves a force to be reckoned with and [they] could not be ignored. Can Democrats do the same in 2017? ” asks Kucinich. “Who’s going to emerge as the leader of that effort? They’re about to watch everything they hold near and dear either changed or dismantled entirely. How hard are they going to fight? And will they be effective in getting their way on anything?”
4) The Obamacare battle
Now that the country has elected a new president, all eyes are on the White House and one big policy question: What happens to Obamacare?
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty believes efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could become the story to watch in 2017. And she poses some questions that come along with that narrative.
“Do the Republicans have a plan? Will they be able to come up with a plan that can actually cover … (the) 20 million or so who’ve gotten benefits under it (Obamacare)?” she asks. ” And also, can the Democrats face up to the fact that there have been some problems in affordability, in sort of the scope of coverage of Obamacare as it stands?”
Look for answers in early 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said replacing Obamacare is one of Republicans’ first priorities for the new year.