In Part I of this new three-part series, I discussed the basic, short-term effects that will result from Trump’s victory on November 8. This includes a full-blown panic in the media, a burst of riots by angry millennials and Black Lives Matter activists, and a very brief drop in the stock market (which will eventually return to its previous point).
Now, I’m going to delve into some of the more long-term effects of the Trump Presidency, starting with domestic policy and the effect that a Trump Administration will have on the two major parties.
Long-Term Effects: Domestic Policy
I am prepared to make one broad prediction that some may think of as derogatory towards Trump: He himself will not play as big of a role in the policy-making as some past presidents. But this mirrors what Trump has always said on the campaign trail: He will build a team of “the best” to cobble together the policy specifics. While he’ll still have a role in the process, he simply won’t be the dominant player. I believe he will delegate these tasks primarily to Vice President Pence and Chief of Staff Gingrich, with additional input from his three eldest children.
First, there are some obvious areas where Trump and even the most anti-Trump factions of the GOP will be able to work together almost immediately. Particularly, three major things will fly right through the Red Congress and across President Trump’s desk: The long-awaited repeal of ObamaCare, the reversal of the Iran Nuclear Deal (although the actual process of undoing such a large international deal will take much more than just the U.S. government’s rejection), and the approval of any one of Trump’s 11 potential Supreme Court nominees to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
However, the Republican responses to these overturns may take much longer to complete as they work together to hash out the exact policies: The often-mentioned “replacement” of ObamaCare will indeed take quite a while, even if Trump gets the best people working on it such as Surgeon General Carson. Also, the fixes to the tax code to close loopholes, like the one Trump himself used, will easily take the whole of the 4 years, if not longer, since any effort to tackle the tax code is like trying to burrow through a mountain with a pickaxe. Plus, it’s obviously not high up on Trump’s priority list, at least for now.
As far as the possible investigation of Hillary Clinton goes: I do firmly believe that Trump will actually follow through on this. Beyond a love of justice and finally righting a wrong in the process of correctly punishing an obviously guilty person, I acknowledge that Trump’s tendency to get into bitter feuds with every one of his political rivals will be the predominant factor here. He will instruct Attorney General Christie to appoint a special prosecutor to take down Hillary Clinton, for no other reason than pure revenge. But the broad popular support from the majority of Americans who do believe she committed wrongdoing certainly won’t hurt either, even against the helpless cries of “partisanship” from the Democrats. The media will try to portray him as the next Stalin, going after his political opponents. But since when has Trump ever cared what the media says?
Lastly, Trump’s biggest domestic goal will be the eventual passage of his recently-announced five-step plan for ethics oversight of Congress and the executive branch, as well as his proposal for a Constitutional Amendment imposing term limits on all members of Congress (three terms in the House, two terms in the Senate). If Trump wins by a comfortable margin/quasi-landslide as I think he will, then the election will be a popular referendum on anti-establishment ideas such as these. Thus, the real challenge will not be getting the Amendment ratified by ⅗ of the states, but instead, passing it through ⅔ of Congress. Naturally, the next Congress will be in a very tough position: They either pass legislation that will greatly limit their own powers, or they block it and face the wrath of the 2018 midterms. Personally, I think it is clear that Speaker Ryan is no fool - he will see the potential to solidify his already-strong legacy, and make a major mark on history for himself, as the Speaker who finally passed a Constitutional Amendment imposing Congressional term limits. He likely will try to rally the presumptive GOP majority behind the cause, and pull some Democrats for a bipartisan effort, reminiscent of the Congressional override of Obama’s veto on the Saudi Arabian 9/11 bill. But only time will tell - and time would not be on this Congress’ side.
Long-Term Effects: The Parties
This is the fun part. As far as the parties go, Speaker Ryan will be under very intense scrutiny by the media and the public. Naturally, the media will implore him to be the “moderate” voice against some of Trump’s more radical ideas. The media will likely do this as a series of “mind games” to build Ryan up as a future presidential nominee after Trump leaves office, similarly to how the same media tried to build up both Chris Christie and Marco Rubio (because that worked so well for them, didn’t it?). But the spectacle of Trump’s landslide and the coming 2018 midterms will likely lead him to mostly go along with whatever Trump wants, for fear of a popular referendum against him and other moderate Republicans in the midterms. And again, if cooperating with President Trump means finally bringing about the end of ObamaCare and the Iran Deal, as well as a conservative Supreme Court Justice, then it can’t possibly hurt. Ryan may even see this as an opening for him to finally pass his “Better Way” agenda that he’s been actively promoting on social media, which Trump will likely grant to him as thanks for working with him despite their past animosities.
I could also go over the long-lasting implications for the Republican Party, with its entire core ideology completely changed by President Trump, but I will instead simply refer you to my previous piece detailing this ideological shift, which was the second part of a three-part series on the overall subject.
My personal favorite result of the Trump presidency will unquestionably be the absolute chaos that will result in whatever is left of the Democratic Party’s leadership. Hillary Clinton will be forever ruined and banished from the political scene, with such a humiliating defeat, the possible investigation by Attorney General Christie, and her ever-increasing age and health problems, rendering her incapable of running for president ever again. The most that she, Bill, and her acolytes can do is groom Chelsea as their heir, perhaps with a run for Congress of her own in preparation for her own presidential run. But Trump’s own children – particularly Don Jr. and Ivanka – are just as likely to enter the political scene, so Chelsea will by no means have an easy ride like her father did.
The DNC will also be in pure chaos, but that started long before President Trump. Former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has already been rendered a disgrace, and even if she isn’t run out of Congress by Republican nominee Joe Kaufman, she will be the laughingstock of the House due to her exposed corruption in the 2016 presidential primaries and forced resignation. Whoever succeeds her will have no choice but to distance themselves as much as possible from Schultz, Clinton, and the entire stink of the political corruption that defined – and doomed – the Democratic Party in 2016. Even interim chairwoman Donna Brazile has not been able to escape the wrath of WikiLeaks’ revelations, so some major housecleaning will be required in the DNC ranks.
As far as new Democratic leaders in Congress, New York Senator Chuck Schumer will succeed the reviled Harry Reid as Senate Minority Leader, but most likely won’t be a major power-player in the Senate. No, look to Elizabeth Warren for that. Bernie Sanders is now forever tainted with the label of “sell-out” for putting his support behind the woman who cheated him out of the race, and still lost - plus, at his current age of 75, he’s not getting any younger. So it’s up to the Senate’s other populist socialist to take up the mantra, as a (relatively) younger member of Congress and a woman as well. Expect her to declare her run for the presidency in 2020 fairly early on, perhaps almost immediately as a sign of protest against President Trump.
The House Democrats is where the bomb will go off just as a hurricane hits. Just look at the Democratic House leadership: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 76; Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, 77; Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn, 76; and Joseph Crowley, 54, who is widely expected to become the next Chairman of the Democratic Caucus. Three of these leaders are in their late 70’s, three of these leaders are white, and three of them have been in leadership for literally decades. With Trump winning by a landslide due to a broad coalition of Republicans, independents, and moderate Democrats, literally the only demographic left to support the Democratic Party will be the far-left championed by such people as Warren. So you’d better expect calls for Pelosi and her ilk to step down in order to diversify the party, purge it of the “old white people” in leadership, and allow a fresh new generation to take over. Possible choices for succeeding these people include, but are not limited to: Xavier Becerra (CA-34), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Elijah Cummings (MD-07), and John Lewis (GA-05).
As a result of this, the Democratic Party as we know it will perhaps undergo its own significant ideological shift. As President Trump undoes a number of Obama’s major accomplishments, and the GOP shifts to a more right-wing populist, protectionist party rather than a traditional conservative party, expect the Democratic Party - under the de facto leadership of such individuals as Warren - to counter with its own dramatic shift into a more left-wing populist and outright socialist party. Perhaps there will be more similarities than ever between the American political spectrum and your average European political scene.
If you think all of this sounds monumental, then you’re right. American domestic and party politics will enter a whole new era, and unknown territory, with no historical precedent like it. What could possibly be more significant than that?
I’ll get into that final area of significant change - foreign policy - in the upcoming third and final part.
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