America has finally delivered what Republicans have long wished for: an opportunity to repeal the entire 20th Century. Yes, all you "swing" voters in PA, WI, MI, FL and NC may have just dialed back the calendar by decades, and the country (if not the entire world) will be worse for it.
You think you voted for Trump, so that he can "shake up" Washington to your benefit. Simple, right? Not so fast. Here is what you really voted for, based on the long-track record of the incoming power elite:
1) YOU DID NOT ELECT DONALD J. TRUMP AS PRESIDENT
What you really did was elect Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell as co-presidents. Trump may end up living in the White House. On a whim he may even decide to take a break from golfing at some Trump resort somewhere in the world to meddle in a nuclear negotiation or two (totally unprepared and shooting from the hip) or attend a ribbon cutting for a fleet of oil rigs at the ice-free North Pole. But he has no interest in actually governing.
The NY Times reported back in July that Trump offered Ohio Gov. John Kasich the VP spot as "the most powerful vice president in history," who would be in charge of both "domestic and foreign policy."
If you thought those things were the job of the president, you'd be correct. So yes, you just handed all those responsibilities to VP-elect Mike Pence, who will stand-in for the absent Titular President Trump. Pence will work hand-in-hand with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to enact the most regressive legislative agenda they can possibly dream up.
2) PENCE-McCONNELL ADMINISTRATION HOSTILE TO WORKERS
The Pence-McConnell administration opposes just about every worker protection that could improve your lives: Hostile to worker's rights. Hostile to a living wage, even a minimum wage. Hostile to workplace safety and those who regulate it. Hostile to equal pay for women. Hostile to unions and bargaining power for labor. Hostile to family/parental leave. Hostile to federal funding for college (should you want to train for a job in the "knowledge economy"). Hostile to regulating excesses on Wall Street. Hostile to the CFPB and protecting consumers from financial fraud. Their hostilities to the interests of working people can at times feel endless.
Meanwhile in Indiana, Mike Pence blocked an increase to the minimum wage, forbade localities from increasing their own minimum wage without a federal or state mandate, and repealed prevailing wage laws. The state's private-sector job growth has lagged behind 20 other states. Moreover Indiana is adding so many low-paying jobs, that even as unemployment drops, the state's poverty rate is rising. There is little to cheer for in a Pence-McConnell administration, as corporations large and small will continue to seek out the lowest-wage, least labor-friendly regions of the US and the world, depressing wages and benefits while plumping up profits.
If you wanted to elect a ticket that is extremely hostile to the American working class--and extremely friendly to the interests of your "free trade," job-exporting, greedy corporate overlords--then you couldn't have made a better choice than Pence-McConnell. Congratulations.
3) PENCE-McCONNELL ARE FREE-TRADE TRUE BELIEVERS
What is the Pence-McConnell administration in favor of? Well, they are absolutely for all the "free trade" you folks claim to hate, and for "right to work," of course.
Pence and McConnell were both for NAFTA (both voted for it, and Pence pushed to expand it). For CAFTA. For the US-Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement. For WTO/GATT. And yes they are both on the record as loving your much-hated TPP deal: Pence called for its "swift adoption" and McConnell proposed an amendment to give President Obama trade promotion authority ("fast track" authority) to negotiate TPP without Congressional oversight.
(Now that it's political kryptonite, they are backing away from TPP, but if you had cared to do a little reading you would know that they have always been "free trade" true believers and are all but guaranteed to deliver TPP as soon as they think you aren't looking, or can't do anything to stop them.)
4) YOU WANT FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY? DON'T LOOK TO PENCE-McCONNELL
On tax policy, both want huge tax cuts, but don't want to pay for them. Pence and McConnell both supported extending the Bush tax cuts without finding offsetting revenue or budget cuts, adding billions to the debt. The policies endorsed by Titular President-Elect Trump (policies dear to all Republicans) would blow a hole in the federal budget and add $7.2 trillion to the national debt (by some estimates the national debt could even double). In Kansas, Republicans have blown that state's budget to smithereens. In New Jersey, Chris Christie blew a $1 billion hole in the state budget, bringing nine credit downgrades. So much for fiscal responsibility.
And in Indiana, personal income tax may be low, and the state may be flush with cash, but only because Indiana is stuck in a state of hypocrisy -- they are a net importer of federal tax dollars: they receive more federal money than they pay in federal taxes. They'd be running a deficit if it wasn't for tax transfers from liberal states like California and New York. (That goes for you too, blue-collar Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin: you all take in more federal money than you send to Washington so stop whining about how D.C. is broken and tend to your own garden.)
What's nearly certain is that, whatever tax benefits America sees from the Pence-McConnell administration will be "shoveled" to the rich--"wasting any possible boost to the economy."
5) MORE CORPORATE MONEY TO OWN POLITICIANS
McConnell has always been rabid opponent of campaign finance, including McCain-Feingold. So even if campaign finance is not something Trump cares about, McConnell will bring us more Citizens United-style wreckage of the campaign finance system: more dark money; more money from corporations as "individuals" with free speech rights (oy vey); more of a corporate stranglehold politicians at every level of federal and local government; that will bring more "regulatory capture" where industry regulates itself (LOL); and more tilting of federal power toward safeguarding the rights of corporations over individual citizens.
6) MUZZLING OF THE PRESS
One day, you may wonder about what's happening inside the Pence-McConnell administration--why all the wonderful benefits you've been promised seem to still be going to the "global elites." Well, good luck finding out.
Some of the greatest animosity of Pence, McConnell et al. is reserved for the "liberal media" (i.e., journalism based on facts and investigation, rather than government press releases). Titular President-Elect Trump isn't even in the Oval Office yet and he's already stiff-arming the press. His team even floated notorious media basher Peter Thiel as transition chief.
We can expect, at its worst, perhaps a Soviet-style blockade of information, and access only by TV news apparatchiks willing to deliver the latest in sanitized boosterism for President Trump every night. Those who don't toe the line will no doubt be publicly bullied and shamed, perhaps even personally threatened, as has been the case on the campaign trail.
7) THE END OF PROGRESS?
The Pence-McConnell administration (and a range of giant corporations in charge of regulating themselves) can be expected to roll back decades of progress on a wide range of issues: they have shown themselves hostile to environmental protections, food safety and labeling, workplace safety, financial disclosures and consumer protections in finance, regulation of monopolistic behavior; they would likely try to gut Medicaid, and finally even gleefully try to gut and privatize Social Security; my marriage to my husband is now potentially in jeopardy, depending on the direction of the courts.
In short, everything that the federal government does to make our small middle-class lives safe, comfortable, fair and marginally progressive will be under assault -- up for weakening or outright repeal.
8) THE TRIUMPH OF BULLIES
Personality wise, you have also elected an administration filled with authoritarian bullies. Trump, Christie, Giuliani, Thiel and their ilk are all gluttons for control and addicts of vengeance.
So there you have it. That's what you voted for. You thought you were simply voting for Donald Trump. But he stands for nothing and no one but himself--if you were paying attention to what he did, as opposed to what he said, you would have seen that. You also thought you were simply voting for more jobs in the rust belt and "draining the swamp" in Washington.
And you may indeed get a few more dirty, low-paying jobs in the rust belt. But those jobs eventually will be lost to automation, or exported away when the next wave of globalism swamps our economy. (Did you really think you could stop that global juggernaut?)
But you certainly won't get a draining of the swamp in Washington. All you did was defang the Democrats. The swamp is still just as filthy, only now it has just one alpha species, thanks to you, and it's hungry to wreak havoc, not just on the swamp, but on the entire nation.
In reality, you voted into office the myriad predatory bureaucrats surrounding Trump: people who have time and time again proven themselves hostile to your interests. His cabinet will be brimming over with those very same people who have screwed you over so mightily over the past several decades. Do you really think he is going to have the fortitude, patience and commitment to stand against his tribe of co-elites... and stand up for people like you--when he NEVER has before?
Hillary was by no means perfect. But in this election there were only two real choices. And for a moment let's say that the extreme worst-case is true of both candidates. You had a choice between two terrible directions for America: taking us more toward being like Europe with its over-regulated economy and tax-heavy, sometimes-restrictive "socialist" social policies, versus being more like Russia with its autocratic, repressive, tyrannical and morally bankrupt, wealth-hoarding oligarchy. Those were your two choices and you picked Russia. Again, congratulations.
If all goes their way (and they destroy the Democrats' ability to oppose them by Senate filibuster), these folks will have carte blanche to usher in their giddy dream for a new Gilded Age, where New American Oligarchs rule your life with about as much compassion and concern for working-class people, jobs, wealth, health, and well being as did the Robber Barons of old. They will stomp all over you with their wealth and power, all while telling you that complete deregulation of markets is the best medicine for what ails you, and berating you that if you're not rich it's your own fault. Your federal government will enable and protect them, not you.
You wanted to shake things up? Well get ready to dial the clock back to 1906. It will be change for sure, just not the change you wanted. These New American Oligarchs are going to make you regret your vote in more ways than you can possibly yet imagine.