Our long national malaise has just begun. We must put our heads to the wind and endure. After all, things could not get much worse! President-elect Trump, (as sick as it makes me feel to write those words), is surrounding himself with the very toadies and extremists we expected. One must be a complete shuffling sycophant or as extreme as Sheriff David Clarke Jr. of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County to join Trump’s cabinet. The sheriff, who may run the Department of Homeland Security, shared his views about the anti-Trump protesters in a tweet:
These temper tantrums from these radical anarchists must be quelled. There is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people. pic.twitter.com/...
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) Nov. 10, 2016
The election feels like a punch right in the gut. One has no idea what could happen. A 45% percent tariff imposed on China and a 35% tariff imposed on goods from Mexico instigating trade wars. Tens of millions kicked off their insurance plans. Some senseless wall built on the border costing billions. Muslimsimmigrants banned. Mexicans-Americans cowering in fear at the risk of loved ones deported. More voter suppression. Hand guns even more ubiquitous with a national concealed carry law. Social programs slashed while the rich get huge tax cuts. Income disparities soar. NATO allowed to disintegrate. The Supreme Court as a rubber stamp on the most conservative, extreme policies. All the while Trump claiming he is making the country great again.
What is likely to happen is that Republican overreach will result in Democrats returning to the oval office in four years, if not retaking the senate because so many more Democrats are up for re-election than Republicans in the next election cycle. Rep. Paul Ryan is already proposing the privatization of Medicare. It will definitely be a two-tiered society with extreme tensions between rich and poor with the poor becoming angrier and angrier and the rich seeking to insulate themselves more and more through Draconian policing policies, as Trump hasalready proposed with the expansion of stop-and-frisk.
Trump will not listen to reason and will likely follow the ones who flatter him the most. Bush was anti-intellectual. Trump is anti-intellectual in the extreme, boorish and is said to speak on the fourth grade level, which was likely much of his appeal to his under-educated, aggrieved white male base in the heartland. It was their last hurrah though. One can just consider Margaret Thatcher’s Britain as an example. She shut down the British mining industry with a brutality that paved the way for the slow decline of her party and the rise of the Labor Party. In the United States, demographic trends are paving the way for the Republicans to become a permanent minority party.They have lost the popular vote in six of the last sevenelections, after all.
Trump will be a one-term president. He may bring in a brutal recession. His proposed tariffs could rise prices significantly at Target and Walmart hurting rural America in particular. As said in the Wall Street Journal, no bastion of liberalism: “Moody’s concludes that those price pressures would force the central bank to raise interest rates at a faster-than-desired pace, contributing to a recession in 2018 that could produce a 25% drop in the S&P 500.” His tax plan will lead to a loss of $10 trillion in governmental revenues over a decade, according to The Tax Policy Center, a project of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Federal deficits will soar. Rep. Paul Ryan must be salivating at the likelihood of slashing social programs. The Trump administration will be the most opaque in history with little distinction between Trump’s business interests, which he is simply handing over to his children to run, and government policy. Such conflicts may in fact lead to Trump’s impeachment.
Trump’s policies of tax cuts for the wealthy, of huge tariffs, and of the dismantling of health insurance for tens of millions will hurt middle America in rural areas likely the hardest and they are his very voting base. These lower income Americans will likely remain in the Republican camp because it is almost a tribal identity that binds them, an antipathy toward coastal elites. They are some of the most heavily dependent on the very government social programs they claim to resent. Opiate addiction plagues their communities with life expectancy for the group declining. However, they view people of color not as comrades-in-arms, but as competitors for the same government benefits and resent what they perceive to be their cutting in line.
I concede that this diary is very dark. The Trump years may be some of the darkest this country has faced and may make the Bush administration seem competent by comparison. One can only hope the Bill of Rights and our vaunted system of checks and balances will see us through this dark time. Until then, Donald Trump can keep tweeting at three o’clock in the morning about the excesses of a former beauty queen. He can now do much worse and the country is hanging on tenterhooks waiting to see what develops, while somewhere Vladimir Putin is smiling.