On economic policy, Wilbur Ross is a known quantity and promises to be among the most influential Commerce Department heads in history. I expect whoever Trump picks as Trade Representative to be a similarly forceful character. But the big question is what Steve Mnuchin wants, or believes, which is something nobody really knows. If the answer is “nothing much” — which is very possible — then we can expect a Trump administration to rubber-stamp whatever Paul Ryan delivers him.
.. Appointing Betsy DeVos to Education is an indication that Trump has no particular plans for that department, and is happy for it to become a conservative ideological playground, whereas appointing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is an indication that he intends to follow through as much as possible on a purely law-and-order approach to questions of policing, immigration enforcement, etc.
Verbruggen describes this as Trump choosing by issue whether to tack in a movement-conservative or populist direction; I’d say he’s picked people who matter for departments he cares about, and for departments he doesn’t care about he’s chosen people who don’t matter.
.. The big domestic policy question mark is whether Trump intends to keep his respective promises to repeal Obamacare and to protect Medicare and Social Security from cuts. Paul Ryan wants to help him keep the first promise and break the second.