Thursday, 17 November 2016

Trump Won. But Did He?

Can Donald Trump keep the promises he made to the people who voted for him? What will happen if he doesn’t?

Cartoon of Donald Trump, by Wendy Cockcroft

The last time the USA experienced an electoral upset was when Barack Obama took the White House under the banner “Hope and change.” What we got was “Congressional gridlock and more of the same.” The gains made in social justice and the recovering economy are likely to be reversed by the alt-right members of the cabinet Trump is trying to put together — assuming he will be able to. He’s discovering the hard way that you actually can’t govern a country the way you run a business and that he is bound by rules and procedures he can’t just ignore or bulldoze over. I predict he’ll crash and burn, handing both Houses over to the Democrats during the mid-term elections in two years’ time — if he can last that long, given the court cases pending against him. Let’s take a look at the state of play.

He’s struggling to put a cabinet together

One of the main reasons he’s stuffed his transition team with loyalists and family is because they’re the only people who will work with him — and with whom he will work. The trouble is they’re alt-right nutbuckets — or just plain dodgy. So much for draining the swamp. Even his pick for intelligence is considered to be a neocon hawk.

Trump's trouble with reality

Being a reality TV star requires that you are constantly in the public eye, which means getting those ratings up and keeping them there. When your talent is limited to dodgy dealings and bluster, the only way to remain in the headlines is to be professionally outrageous, which he is. What I'm saying is, he's no more qualified to lead the USA than Kim Kardashian is. A man who can't be bothered to learn how the running of a governmental administration actually works — who has never done any governing or held public office before — and who had no plan for how he would carry on in office because he never expected to actually win is now privy to the deepest secrets and has powers that most of us can only dream of. Imagine the damage a thin-skinned media-hungry conspiracy theorist with his finger on the nuclear button could do. The idea that his inexperience and outsider status made him perfect for the job is quickly being exposed as the nonsense it is. Keeping the press out doesn't help; they speculate when they can't spectate.

His policy promises are unraveling

Trump is already walking back on his pledges. On trade, that's not quite what he meant, you see. What it is, the 45% tariff is just a threat for leverage with China, that's all. With regard to that wall between the US and Mexico, it's a fence (in certain places), and there already is one. His deportation pledge is unlikely to happen as he's not planning to "erect a deportation force." While he had slammed the Clintons over and over again, he told the programme 60 Minutes on Friday 11th November,

"I don't want to hurt them. They're good people." 

Seriously. The racists, the nativists, the xenophobes, and the sexists will be outraged. They can only give him a pass for so long. No one on the alt-right who heard him say that could possibly be willing to tolerate any more of the 180 degree turns Trump is likely to do, could they? Would the failure to repeal "Obamacare" do it?

Reality pops the bubble

The essential stupidity of racism is revealed in the article on Fox, of all websites, about the importance of the Mexican oil industry to US business. So even if they're the sleazy taco-chomping wetbacks who can't even speak English good* that the racists insist they are, that wall would be bad policy. The cringe-inducing numb-nutter-ery of trickle-down economics is debated in a USA Today post about how the economy grew (or didn't) during different administrations after taxes on the rich were dropped. What the article doesn't address properly is where the investment money was (or wasn't) being invested, or even whether or not money was being invested in job creation by the even richer rich during those times. I'd be surprised if the regressive regime that people on both sides of the aisle are afraid of actually managed to stick a rocket under the economy that lifts it. It's easier to imagine the KABOOM! of it being blown to smithereens thereby, followed by a car-crash impeachment process in which everyone he's ever slagged off exacts revenge for your entertainment. It gets even better when you see Obama's arch-enemy John "Obstruction" Boehner advocating a "socialist" Obama-era policy. To be fair to Trump, he has been pushing that himself — to benefit the rich.

His policies are harmful to Americans

Policy wonk Paul Ryan is already planning to kill Medicare and the GOP wants to leave Americans to the mercy of the market — and religious extremists who work as care providers. The idea is you save up a health fund like you would a college fund. That'd make sense if Americans could choose what illnesses or injuries they get, but they can't. No one can.

Speaking of the free market, Trump might not be as anti-trust as he promised to be after all. If that's true, watch out for "economies of scale" being used to excuse the reaming of the American public by the likes of AT&T in the next few years. The Dems would have done it too, to be fair to Trump. Hillary made the right noises but she's in bed with the oligarchs.

If that's not bad enough Trump apparently plans to force Muslims to register on a database whether they've broken the law or not (good luck implementing that, Islam isn't an ethnic group) while the ban on them entering the country is still an option (or not).

The world is having none of Trump's nonsense

China has been swinging at Trump, dragging his social media skeletons out of the cupboard to waggle at him.

“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it [global warming talks] was initiated by the IPCC with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” [China’s Vice Foreign Minister] Liu [Zhenmin] told reporters during an hour-long briefing. - China Tells Trump That Climate Change Is No Hoax It Invented, by Jessica Shankleman for Bloomberg

This is mortifying for a country that likes to lead the way in the world. America does not sit front and centre as the global superpower any more. That's over. Isolationism and the embrace of the strongmen of the world has alienated its Western allies, and that's going to hurt all of us down the line. It creates a vacuum. With China and India set to take over as the leading economies, sluggish, drunken Russia and ignorant, bullying America are unlikely to be able to take full advantage of the burgeoning markets. This is Europe's chance to step into the light, but that will only happen if we can stop quarrelling long enough to make a deal that works for all of us.

Now what?

Many Americans are furious that Trump has won and many have vowed to oppose him. The country is divided between Progressives and Conservatives like never before. Normalising alt-right views to bring them into the mainstream creates extremes on both sides as each tries to counter and defend against the other. It's in this heady mix of anger, fear, and loathing that the alt-right find themselves on top of the hill, with the reins of power in their clutches. It's what they do with that power while they hold it that will decide whether America implodes and ends up a failed state or not. They keep forgetting that Trump is the GOP in its raw, untreated state, he's not an outlier at all. When he opens his mouth and something nasty comes out, that's what the others are thinking, they just wish he'd put it more delicately.

How long before the disgruntled base turns on Trump?

The racists whose hatred put Trump into office are likely to find that he breaks all his promises to them sooner or later. They will forgive him up to a point, but what's the deal-breaker? TrumpCare? TrumpTrade? Trumponomics? Being BFFs with Vlad "the lad" Putin? Increasing diversity in the population? Being laughed at all over the world when you're supposed to be superior? Losing America the global top spot? The dismantling of the Constitution by Pence in the name of religion? The increase in surveillance and the growth of government to "combat terrorism?" Changing the rules to make nepotism legal?

Watch this space

This is all moot if Trump croaks it during his term, is impeached over his business dealings or ends up in jail before he even takes office. The mid-term elections are due in two years; those Americans with buyers' regret can put the Democrats back in if they're not happy with the new regime. I've already predicted that the Trump administration will limp to that stage and he'll lame duck his way through the rest of his term, but that's assuming he's the moronic prat I think he is. He's welcome to surprise me. I hope he does.

*It's okay, I don't need you to correct my grammar, I'm taking the mickey out of racists.

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