The Good News

November 8, 2016

President Trump. Seriously. President Trump. What possible good news could there be?

Well, we've just proven without a shadow of a doubt that our political system is completely broken. The first step is admitting that you have a problem.

More good news, a Trump Presidency will be an unmitigated disaster. You thought you'd seen scandals? Get ready. Sex scandals, law suits, he still never released his tax returns (what was in there?), his fake University, his total lack of experience, etc.

Where's the good news you ask?

Back in 2008 we elected Barack Obama, but 2 years later, the Republicans had a big win in the mid-term election, and that was after Obama was an imaginary disaster in talk-radio land, not an actual disaster. After the 2010 census, the Republicans had a lot of power which they used to gerrymander the hell out of congressional districts, giving them an enormous advantage in the house. In 2012, in all of the congressional races across the country, the Democrats received 1.4 million more votes than the Republicans, but the result was a House that was 234-201 in favor of the GOP.  We have another census in 2020. The party that wins big in 2020 will be able to rig the house for the next decade.

If you think Donald Trump's presidency will be a disaster, then in 2020, we can expect him to be destroyed in a landslide.

You might be thinking that you've heard a prediction of an anti-Trump landslide before. We're gonna hear a lot of post-mortems in the next few days, but I think the narrative will be that Trump won because people wanted "change," that they were tired of Democrats being in power for 8 years, and that this was a protest vote against the status-quo. A huge part of that is a dissatisfaction with the economy, the dying middle class, the lack of good jobs, the concentration of wealth at the top that's depressing the rest of the 99%. The country seems to have bought into the idea that Trump would be able to turn around this economy.

But here's the thing: all of those factors will go against him in a re-election bid. You lose the protest vote when you're the incumbent. If you vote Trump to mess with the status quo in 2016, you won't vote for him for the same reason in 2020 when he's been President for four years. And if you think he'll turn around the economy, you've got another thing coming. Trump's policies, if you can call them that, are not going to fix the economy, bring back jobs, or improve the the middle class. If you want a candidate that has policies to do that, you should have supported Bernie Sanders. Trump is in favor of enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, which will further concentrate wealth at the top, exacerbating one of the main root causes of our current predicament. He's come out in favor of getting rid of the minimum wage. Think that'll improve the economy? Maybe you think his great trade deals will bring back manufacturing jobs, but that seems incredibly unlikely, and if anything his policies are more likely to cause trade wars or retaliatory tariffs that will hurt American business (if any of his campaign bluster actually translates into any real action). If anything, a Trump presidency is likely to be very bad for the middle class. If they follow through with repealing Obamacare, a whole lot of people with existing health conditions are going to lose their insurance, we're gonna go back to a system that bankrupts people for getting sick while insurance companies profit. How well do you think that'll go over?

So the people that voted for Trump because he's an outsider, Republicans haven't been in power, and they think he'll be able to improve the economy -- come 2020 they will be looking at a Trump that's no longer an outsider, no longer the outsider party, and a worsening economy, on top of all of the scandals that will plague him.

If you voted for him because he's gonna build a wall, defeat ISIS in 100 days, put an immediate end to terrorism, and deport millions of Mexicans, then you're in for a surprise. The wall's not going to happen, if he even tries to do it it'll be an enormous boondoggle, he's already backtracked on immigration, and I kind of doubt he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS that's super secret. It's one thing to talk bigly about how you'll fix everything when you're not in power, but when you've been in power for four years you can't then run on how everything sucks and you've got the magic we need to fix it.

If you think Trump is going to bring about some massive change in Washington that's indicated by the slogan "drain the swamp," then you haven't paid attention to his party or his campaign. Aside from having a Reality-TV crazy person in the White House, how will the policies of a Trump administration differ from that of the presidency of say Dick Cheney? Unlike Obama, Trump won't have a congress and senate in lock-step trying to stop him from accomplishing anything, so he'll be able to push through a lot of change, but only change the GOP wants like getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it with... Get ready for tax cuts for the rich and gutting of regulations that keep corporations from doing whatever they feel like. Think that'll fix the economy? That's what we can look forward to in a Trump Presidency:Bush-era conservatism, attacks on gay rights and abortion rights, and tax cuts for the rich. Think those disaffected middle-class workers in Michigan are going to enjoy the benefits of lower Capital Gains taxes and eliminating the estate tax?

We should also assume that the Democratic Party will learn a hard lesson, don't rig the primary, and don't try to force an unpopular flawed candidate on the American people. Look for the Dems to come back with Bernie as kingmaker, assuming he's not going to run himself. We saw what enthusiasm there was for Sanders, and now we've seen what an enthusiasm gap looks like in November. If the Dems can harness the Bernie enthusiasm for another candidate (I'm assuming Bernie is too old to run in 2020), maybe Elizabeth Warren or Tulsi Gabbard, and build on that movement, they can close this enthusiasm gap that just got Trump elected. Then add on that in four years you won't see the huge turnout for Trump that came about because he was the outsider, protest candidate for the party that's not in power, and that the Trump presidency will be plagued by numerous scandals, we're looking at quite a landslide in 2020. Oh and remember, it's four more years of old people dying and the entrance of the current 14-17 year olds getting the vote to take their spot (and then some), a demographic that's very left-leaning, pro-gay-rights, et al.

Imagine if Hillary had squeaked out a win tonight, maybe one more major Trump gaffe at the eleventh hour put her over the top. We saw that she was such a flawed candidate that she couldn't defeat Trump, there's no doubt in my mind that she would have lost this election to just about any Republican they would have nominated. So had she squeaked out a win, she would be almost sure to lose in 2020. Not just because the Republicans would be likely to have a stronger candidate, but it would be at the tail end of 12 years of Democrats in the White House. Hillary up for re-election in 2020 was a recipe for a big GOP win in the important census year, and thus another decade of GOP gerrymandering.

A Trump Presidency is a recipe for an enormous populist land-slide in 2020 that not only takes the White House, but could then enable the left to undo the Republican gerrymandering from 2010. And when that happens, maybe we can finally go about fixing our broken elections: get the money out of politics, kill gerrymandering by taking partisan politics out of it, fix the electoral college (and at the moment it looks like Clinton might win the popular vote), and get rid of first-past-the-post that leads inevitably to the two-party system. Maybe then we can finally be a country that doesn't have to pick between Trump and Clinton.



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