I’m coming to realize Donald Trump has a good chance of being elected President. He at least promises to make things better. Even though his ideas are mostly bad, a majority of voters may prefer him to the status quo.
If elected, he would face the opposition of Congress, the courts, the federal bureaucracy and the establishment press. But precedents set by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their predecessors give the President considerable power to wage war, selectively enforce the law and suspend Constitutional rights in the name of fighting terror.
President Trump would have unilateral authority to put the USA on nuclear alert, ban immigration from majority-Muslim countries and order the Justice Department to give priority to certain offenses, and certain targets.
The Iran nuclear agreement was an agreement to suspend United Nations sanctions against Iran, and that is a done deal. But President Trump would have authority to step up American sanctions against Iran, giving Iranian hard-liners an excuse to resume development of nuclear weapons capability.
Trump proposes tax cuts tilted toward the upper brackets, to which a Republican Congress probably would be sympathetic.
He proposes abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, which they might not go along with. But as President, he would have the power to render the EPA and FDA ineffective through policy and appointments.
He promises to pull the United States out of the odious pro-corporate Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, which he has the authority to do and which I would applaud. He also promises to renegotiate or rescind existing trade treaties and to raise tariffs on imports from China, Mexico and other countries.
His economic nationalism might be a step forward from subordinating U.S. interests to global corporations. But starting foreign trade wars will not, in and of itself, rebuild American industry. The United States needs a better balance of trade, not an end to trade.
Trump has said sensible things about foreign policy. He questions giving priority to overthrowing governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria to fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, which those governments suppressed. But he wants to restart the cold war with Iran, for no other reason that I can see except to please the government of Israel.
Similarly he is right about trying to improve relations with Russia. The problem is that he takes Vladimir Putin as a role model.
All this is based on the assumption that Trump meant what he has said during the campaign. It’s entirely possible that, once in office, he will do the opposite of everything he said during the campaign, and deny he ever said it.
The one thing I feel confident in saying, based on Trump’s life history, is that he would govern by means of intimidation, backed up by the power of the Presidency, and that he would be hyper-sensitive to criticism and opposition.
His administration would be one long on-going Constitutional crisis. He probably would be a one-term President. He might be impeached before his term was out.
President Trump’s First Term: His campaign tells us a lot about what kind of Commander-in-Chief he would be by Evan Osnos for The New Yorker.
Trump and the World: What Could Actually Go Wrong by Ian Bremmer for Politico.
Voters’ View of a Donald Trump Presidency: Big Risks and Reward by Patrick Healy and Dalia Sussman for The New York Times.
Trump picture via Today’s Info