Trump voters will soon receive a very harsh lesson in the realities of American politics, and learn the meaning of the old saying: “be careful what you wish for you, you just might get it.”
They have elected an incompetent buffoon President of the United States. Yet that is not why they will soon regret their votes; disturbingly the very qualities that make Trump a loathsome clown are what attract many voters.
No the Trump voters will recoil in horror; when they realize that their strongman is the weakest and most ineffective president since Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), or Andrew Johnson (1865-1869). Instead of powerful leadership they will get divided government, and a weak one term-president.
The Trump Agenda is dead on Arrival
Trump’s weakness, ineffectiveness and incompetence will become apparent if he tries to implement almost any of his campaign promises. Instead of “Making America Great Again,” any attempt to deliver on those promises will ignite a political battle that will destroy the Republican Party and sow chaos in Congress.
Here are the biggest Trump promises and the probable result:
- Restrict trade with 45% tariffs on Chinese goods and 35% tariffs on Mexico items and withdraw from trade deals. The Constitution gives Congress authority to regulate trade, so it would be a fairly simple matter for a coalition of moderate Democrats and conservative Republicans to kill any trade policy. A bizarre and likely scenario will be Trump turning to leftists; like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), for help in getting his trade deals passed. Whether they will have enough votes to achieve that is anyone’s guess.
- Reform the tax code. Democrats; and special interests that profit from the current tax regime, have enough votes to easily kill that.
- Reform the regulatory environment by cutting regulations in half. Democrats; lawyers, and special interests that profit from the status quo have more than enough influence to kill that too.
- Build a wall on the Mexican border, Congress would have to appropriate the money. Democrats, conservative Republicans and corporate interests have enough power to easily block that.
- Greatly increase spending on infrastructure. Conservative Republicans who want to keep spending as a low as possible have enough votes to easily block that; they will be joined by Democrats trying to sabotage Trump.
- Repeal Obamacare. Democrats probably have enough votes to block that; or at least preserve the parts of the program with popular support like Medicaid expansion. Instead Republicans will kill the exchanges; which are a failure and collapsing anyway. Democrats will let them do that because the exchanges are an embarrassment to them.
- Reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act that breaks up big monster banks like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM). The big banks have enough influence on Capitol Hill to block that, so it will also be dead on arrival.
- Block Muslim immigration and deport large numbers of illegal immigrants. The courts can block those measures, particularly any blatant violations of the Constitution.
- Change environmental regulations to help the coal industry. Yes Trump can do that but it faces legal challenges from environmental groups. Even if it succeeds this “action” might not create a single job because the low price of natural gas makes coal uncompetitive.
- Jail crooked Hillary. It is possible Trump might get the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton, but courts would probably quickly throw the case out.
The decisive factor here will be Trump’s reaction to this. If he gets bored and goes off and plays golf for four years, there will be little change in status quo.
How Trump Can Destroy the Republican Majority
The damage would be done if Trump puts up a fight, particularly if he targets individual members of Congress such as committee chairmen. Many of them are in a good position to strike back; they can vote against all of Trump’s nominees; cut the budget for his pet programs, and launch investigations of his business dealings.
A truly destructive scenario would be Trump at war with Congressional Republicans. The only winner from that battle would be Democrats; who might be able to get a majority both the Senate and the House in the 2018 Congressional election.
That would lead to a bizarre scenario in which President starts cutting deals with Congressional Democrats to get stuff done. Remember this is Donald J. Trump deal maker extraordinaire; he’ll jump at the chance to get his name in the history books with compromises on big-ticket spending like single-payer healthcare or massive infrastructure spending.
The result of that would be conservative pundits; and talk-radio hosts, screaming for Trump’s impeachment. Things will get worse if a popular movement like the Tea Party appears and starts targeting Trump. The never-Trump crowd is still out there, biding its’ time; and waiting for an opening to destroy Donald – that may come in 2019.
Why the Rustbelt will turn Against Trump
Meanwhile out in the Rustbelt, Trump’s popularity will quickly plummet as soon as the futility of his economic policy becomes apparent.
Jobs will keep disappearing, businesses will keep closing, the retail and banking apocalypses will spread, manufacturing will keep declining and income inequality will grow. Things will get worse on Main Street; because Trump’s policies fail to address any of the underlying causes of our economic failure. Some of his policies; such as trade restrictions, might make things worse by hastening technological unemployment and killing export markets.
A year from now the trash cans at union halls and VFW posts across the heartland will be filling up with “Make America Great Again;” hats and copies of Trump books. Anger and class hatred will grow to a fever pitch likely stoked by news coverage of the Billionaire President’s lavish lifestyle.
Many of Donald’s working class-supporters will turn to the Left, as figures like Bernie Sanders; Michael Moore and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), find large receptive audiences in Trump country. Donald and Melania will make an easy target for such attacks with their “Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous.”
Why Trump will be a Weak One-Term President
All this means that instead of a strong leader, Donald Trump will be a very weak one-term president.
The most likely scenario is that Trump will become the first sitting President since Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969) to withdraw from the reelection contest after losing primaries. This will occur because there is a strong possibility that in 2020 the American people will see President Trump in a nasty primary battle with his archival U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz hates Trump and he’s itching for a rematch. Especially one in which Donald’s personality cult; and his legions of rabid supporters, will only be seen in TV file footage. Such an ugly battle will invigorate the never-Trump movement and drive many voters out of the Republican Party.
That will clear the way for an easy Democratic victory over whatever lackluster standard bearer; probably U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) or Vice President Pence, the GOP can dig up. The only people who stand to gain from the weak one-term presidency of Donald J. Trump are Democrats.