I’m not a good predictor of the future, but I’ll risk some predictions about the Trump administration.
I don’t think Donald Trump is a new Hitler, despite his manifest contempt for legal and Constitutional limitations. Rather I see a Trump administration as another step downward on a path the USA already is on.
In terms of policy, I don’t see a great difference between him and Vice-President Mike Pence, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Paul Ryan. The objection of mainstream Republicans to Trump was more an objection to his vulgarity and offensive behavior rather than to his policy positions.
Nor, for that matter, do I see any great difference between establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats on the issues that concern me most—war and peace, civil liberties and Wall Street dominance.
I do think the working-class and middle-class people who voted for Trump will be disappointed.
Specifically, I am willing to bet anybody a reasonable amount that the following will be true four years after Trump is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
- There will be fewer American manufacturing jobs.
- The annual trade deficit will be greater than it is now.
- The federal budget deficit will be greater than it is now.
- The upper 1 percent, upper 0.1 percent and upper 0.01 percent will have a greater share of the national income than they do now.
- The wages of American workers, measured in inflation-adjusted terms, will be less.
I think there will be fewer unauthorized immigrants in the United States than there are now, but this is part of a trend that has already begun.
Winners during a Trump administration will include:
- The Trump Organization.
- Creditors of The Trump Organization.
- Wall Street.
- The CIA, NSA and other intelligence organizations.
- The Pentagon
- Government contractors, especially military contractors.
- The fossil fuel industry
- The National Rifle Association
- Torturers and war criminals
- Abusive police officers.
Losers during a Trump administration will include:
- Public schools
- Higher education
- Protesters (except for armed right-wing militias)
- Dissident journalists
- Labor unions and wage-earners generally
- Climate scientists and researchers of all kinds
- Planned Parenthood and its clients
- Welfare recipients
The main good thing I hope to see in a Trump administration is a less confrontational policy toward Russia. My great fear of a Clinton administration was the increased and very real possibility of nuclear war. This possibility will not be zero under Trump, but I think it will be less than it would have been under Clinton.
Other good things I hope to see in a Trump administration is a refusal to sign bad trade treaties and an effort to renegotiate existing trade treaties. NAFTA, the TPP and the like are not free trade treaties; they are corporate wish lists enacted into international law. In today’s world, believers in democracy need to defend national sovereignty, because none of the international institutions are democratic.
The thing I worry about most with Donald Trump is his unpredictability. He lacks self-control and he lacks knowledge. The only objective reality he takes into account are public opinion polls and election results.
There’s no telling what he might do on impulse, and, with the powers accumulated in the Presidency in the past 20 or 30 years, his impulses could be dangerous.
It is possible that his administration might be better—or at least less bad—than I expect. But that’s not the way I bet.
On BS and the Oath of Office: The LOL “Nothing Matters” Presidency by Quinta Juresic for Lawfare. (Hat tip to Hal Bauer). A broadcast interview with Quinta Juresic. (Hat tip to David Damico)
‘There’s No Check on Trump Except Reality’: A Q&A With Wayne Barrett for The New Republic.
We Will See a Financial Meltdown Under President Trump by Charles P. Pierce for Esquire.
The Cabinet From Hell: Trumpism Meets Neoliberalism by Michael Corcoran for Truthout.
The Trump Administration: What I’m Watching For by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.
What Trump Could Do With Executive Power by Peter Van Buren for The American Conservative.
The Knowns and Unknowns of Trump’s Foreign Policy by James Kitfield for The Atlantic.