Thursday, January 19, 2017

4 Predictions for the Trump Presidency

Not since incumbent President Harry S. Truman upset Thomas Dewey in the 1948 Presidential election has the American people, let alone the American press and pundits, been shocked by an election's results. Donald Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton is nothing short of astounding. From the beginning, the former Secretary of State was expected to waltz into the White House especially after the GOP chose a loose canon for their candidate. Yet it was not to be.

Donald J. Trump is the President-elect.

I have already offered a few initial thoughts on the election (you can read those here). I now want to consider a few predictions regarding the Trump administration. I confess I am not a prophet nor a son of a prophet, but I am confident some of these will come true.

1. The First 100 Days Could Be an Exciting Time for Conservatives Thanks to Obama

I have little confidence in politicians or elected officials - even outsiders like Donald Trump. The reason is rather simple. First, politics is a swamp (to use the term Trump used widely during the campaign). Secondly, the system is built to prevent change. Our founders developed a political system of checks and balances where one branch, theoretically at least, does not have more power than other, as a means to delay the increase of government. The problem with this is that it works against downsizing government. It has taken progressives a century to lead us where we are today, conservatives are foolish to believe Trump can clean out the swamp in 100 days. Thirdly, politicians and those in power are corrupt and there is, frankly, nothing in Trump's character or past that suggests to me he is a man of integrity or humility.

Nevertheless, there is one major advantage Trump has on day 1. Much of Obama's progressive agenda he implemented, especially after 2010 when Republicans won the House of Representatives, via executive order. Obama, one may remember, famously told Congress he didn't need them because he had a pen in one hand and a phone in another. As a result, President Obama achieve very little legislatively. Beyond Obamacare, which will be extremely difficult to dismantle, what really passed? Thus on day 1 Trump can override a number of key Obama agenda items from immigration, to health care, to foreign policy, to national security, etc. This could make the first day exciting for conservatives.

Beyond that Trump may have some leeway during the first 100 days. Some, though not much. It is very likely he will appoint a new Supreme Court justice during that time. It is very possible he can take the first steps in initiating some of his key campaign promises. If he does these things, these first hundred days could be magical for conservatives much in the same way the first one hundred days of the Obama administration where wonderful for progressives eight years ago.

2. Trump Derangement Syndrome Will Be Far Worse Than Bush Derangement Syndrome

The eight years of the Bush administration were frustrating as a conservative American for the simple reason that the left, and their supporters in a liberal press, were on edge constantly. They loathed Bush and blamed him, literally for everything. Furthermore, they demonized Bush in unpatriotic ways. I will never forget how the left praised a movie about the assassination of the sitting president.

If the "fallout" of the 2016 election has shown us everything, from outlandish headlines to riots in the streets from snowflake college students, it is that Trump Derangement Syndrome will be far worse than it was during the Bush administration. The reaction has been so outlandish that many #NeverTrumpers, I are one mind you, are beginning to become more sympathetic to Trump and are more excited about the possibilities in a Trump presidency. Once again the left is overplaying its hand.

The difference between Bush and Trump in this regard should be obvious. Bush refuse to sully the office of the president - a position I continue to respect him for. Even his post-presidency is one that is admirable. Trump, however, is not wired that way. He is combative and values loyalty over everything. He will be constantly waging war against the American press and any detractors including those in his own party. Remember that Trump won, he believes, largely without the support of many in the Republican party. He also knows that the press did all that it could to stop him (after he got the nomination mind you).

I anticipate that the next four years will be an ugly four years on both sides and after a promising first few days and weeks, little will actually get accomplished domestically.

3. The Return of the Body Counts

Daily life during the Bush administration was the press's daily updating of deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not entirely against this though clearly it these reports had an agenda. However, once President Obama was elected, these reports, though still readily available, are not are prominent as they once were. When was the last time the press pressed the President on foreign policy in general and Afghanistan in particular? Iraq is a mess largely due to his decision to pull troops prematurely.

From my research Afghanistan was far bloodier for American troops during the Obama administration than the Bush administration. Between 2001 and 2008, 464 soldiers died with 2008 being the bloodiest with 153 American military lives lost (the least bloodiest was 2001 with 7 and 2007 with 11). During the Obama administration, from 2009-2014, 1,679 American military lives were lost. The bloodiest year was 2010 with 496 which is more than the entire Bush campaign and yet the American people were not inundated with these numbers the way they were during President George W. Bush's administration.

Expect a return to the deluge of body counts the second President Trump decides to mobilize American troops overseas.

4. Trump Will Be Trump and this Will Hurt Republicans in the Midterms

Traditionally the party in power suffers in the midterm elections. Clinton suffered greatly in 2014 and Obama was "shellacked" (his word) in 2010. President Bush faired well in 2002 but was destroyed in 2006 when the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress. Expect the same to happen to Republicans in 2018.

Even more than that though, Trump's temperament will likely hurt him. If he spends more time warring against his own citizens and other politicians rather than moving the country forward, he will be decimated in the midterms and Republicans will blame him for it.

While now may be a glorious time to be a Republican, I believe it will quickly fade. That is the way of politics especially when you choose a man like Trump as your party's standard bearer.

For more:
A Few Thoughts on the Election of Donald Trump

Doug Wilson on the Election Aftermath
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