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
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
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
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.
A Few Thoughts on the Election of Donald Trump
Doug Wilson on the Election Aftermath