If Donald Trump wants to fulfill his promise to Make America Great Again as well as reunify the country, he's going to need to make some very bold moves in different directions than he has yet.
Right now, he has surrounded himself with loyalists, many from the far right, and is not yet making decisions that could bridge divides and make him more acceptable as a President for the many who are deeply opposed to him.
Here are six bold things he could do immediately that would begin to shift things in a better direction. If you agree with any of these, please tweet this article to him at @realdonaldtrump to increase the chance that he receives these suggestions.
- Appoint Bernie Sanders as Secretary of Labor. Right now, many on the left have no one in Trump's prospective administration they trust or respect. Trump often said admiring things about Bernie, and Bernie is clearly a trusted champion for the working class. Appointing him to the Cabinet as Secretary of Labor, if he were willing to take the position, would be a bold move signifying that Trump wants to build a cabinet that has representative voices from many constituencies.
- Go on a Listening Tour to Blue States - Trump's team is apparently planning a tour of states he won as a kind of victory lap. While that may feel energizing, the far better move would be to go to states he lost and really listen to voices of people who didn't vote for him. That's how he starts to build some trust.
- Rescind the Appointment of Steve Bannon - The left will not even begin to unify so long as Steve Bannon is at the right hand of the President. That is simply an unacceptable choice for most of the left, as evidenced by the backlash with members of Congress.
- Appoint a Leader Respected by the Environmental Movement to the EPA - On the left, the preservation of the environment is a top priority and this would help assuage many concerns.
- Take a Stand at Standing Rock - The #1 cause for progressives these days is to defend the sovereign rights of the Dakota people when faced with the Dakota Access Pipeline. If Trump were to say that he would stop or re-route the pipeline as President, that would assure progressives that he is willing to address some of their concerns.
- Create an Advisory Position for Hillary Clinton - While this might be hardest to sell on the right, the truth is that a majority of American voters wanted her as the President and she understands a great deal about how things work particularly in the arena of foreign relations. Just as Obama reached out to his former rival for Secretary of State, so might Trump make a bold move to tap her wisdom, which would help to balance some of the other voices in his cabinet. It would also be a signal to other countries of some moderation of foreign policy, assuaging fears of key allies.
More than anything, it's vital that Donald Trump now surrounds himself with a diversity of voices and opinions that represents America. After having lost the popular vote and entering the Presidency with sky-high unfavorables, he cannot afford to only appoint people who represent the views of the people who elected him if he hopes to be a unifying leader.
The truth is that Trump spent a good portion of his adult life as a registered Democrat. He's more flexible than ideological on many positions. To govern as a unifier means demonstrating the respect and consideration he has shown in the past for more liberal positions.
By making some bold, out-of the box moves that signal consideration of key concerns on the Democratic side, he could emulate Lincoln, the most respected Republican President in history, who turned his former opponents into a successful team of rivals.