January 25, 2017

Will Trump be a national disaster?

I put up the poll at right (both right on the blog until taken down and right within this post) just after election day, with it expiring on inauguration day. It's not totally scientific, but with more than 50 participants, it's not totally ignorable, either.

It's almost a perfect inverse bell curve, with more than 40 percent seeing him as sui generis evil and 20 percent, on the other hand, seeing him as just another Republican.

I voted first, to seed the poll, as I normally do. I can't remember my exact number, but it was somewhere in the 2-5 range.

I worry about him above the 1 level as much, maybe a touch more, for his mercuriality rather than actual politics.

As for them?

Obamacare — I expect him to keep the allowance for kids to stay on parents' insurance until age 26. I more expect than not him to keep the bar on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. I expect him to can the Medicaid expansion, which will hurt many working poor or lower middle-class. I expect him to kill, or at least reduce the penalty on, the individual mandate. That will lead more insurance companies to drop out of the system, which perversely will drive more people to government exchanges — single-payer lite via a back door.

Russia — No, Trump is not blind to Putin. He does, though, seem to have more a Realpolitik attitude than both his Democratic and Republican predecessors, though. I applaud that. To the degree this connects with him not buying into our current national security state lock, stock and barrel, I applaud that too.

Israel — Moving the embassy to East Jerusalem would be a disaster.

Other foreign policy — Trump isn't the first presidential candidate to want NATO allies to pony up more. But, he's going to be the first president who's serious about pushing this. Combined with a Realpolitik stance toward Russia, I applaud this.

Beyond that, other foreign policy issues will be tied to his stances on trade. See that below.

Tax and fiscal policy — This will be a set of giveaways to the rich, etc. A doubled-down version of Bushism.

Regulatory policy gutting — This could be even worse than Bushism.

Environmentalism, climate change — Almost certainly worse than Bushism.

Voting rights — Certainly as bad as Bushism and possibly worse.

Supreme Court — As bad as Bushism, but not worse. And "Oh the SCOTUS" as a primary argument to vote Dem rather than Rethug never impressed me.

Lodestar for state GOPs — How much of what GOP-controlled state legislatures are proposing is worse than they did in Bush years? Not a lot, but there's a lot more states where the GOP controls both houses and the governor's mansion.

Why? #IBlameObama and you should too. Despite his protests otherwise, he ran a horrible 2010 midterm effort for Congressional candidates, as a kind of spinoff of singing Kumbaya to the Congressional GOP too much. His failure to sell Obamacare better, as well as bailing out the banksters, were primary contributory factors.

Trade — He's going to fight China. How much, for how long, and with what result, I don't know. China, with make-work jobs at zombie factories owned by municipal governments and Communist Party locals, can't afford to surrender too much — but may not be able to afford too long a fight, either, especially if other Western nations join in backing Trump. To the degree his administration handles this fight sensibly, I applaud it.

That said, note that China is not part of the TPP. There's probably only so much he can do.

I don't know how much his BMW comments are bluster and how much they reflect reality vis-a-vis other Western nations. I suspect a small degree of reality is there.

Between his trade issues, his tax and fiscal issues, and the normal business cycle issues, I say there's a 60 percent chance or more of a recession by or around 2018 midterm elections.

Will Democrats nominate same-old, same-old candidates, and even argue in favor of trade deals as part of this? Even more, will their 2020 prez candidates be same-old, same-old? For 2018, how aggressive can we get the Green Party to be on recruiting Congressional candidates for the midterms?

Nutgraf and summary, per my header: Trump will be a national conundrum, but he will not be a national disaster. He can only become a national disaster if Democrats don't change course and other people don't change parties to Green, or Socialist, or whatever.

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