Election day tomorrow. It’s likely to be a long night, watching the returns. The race is tightening, and both candidates have a shot. On the one hand, there are an unusual number of undecided voters this year, and if enough of them break Republican, Trump could win. On the other hand, the Democrats have a state-of-the-art get-out-the-vote ground game, and already we’re seeing long lines of Hispanic voters waiting to vote early, people who are generally not included in polls. So there’s reason to think that Hillary Clinton may do better than polling has suggested. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President of the United States. And right now, we don’t know who it will be.
If Trump wins:
Right now, Republicans control the House; that’s unlikely to change. If Trump wins, it bodes ill for down ballot races; probably, a Trump victory means the GOP keeps control of the Senate. I think that means there will be some deeply relieved Republicans in Washington inclined to give Trump most of what he wants. Democrats in the Senate can always filibuster, but they’ll have to pick their fights.
Trump will get his tax cut–Republicans love tax cuts anyway. He’ll also get the additional defense spending he’s calling for. He’ll get a ban on Muslim immigration–there’s certainly historical precedent for that kind of targeted savagery in American immigration policy. He’ll get initial funding for his wall. And the Affordable Care Act will be rescinded. The Republicans will replace it with a mix of unworkable conservative proposals–selling insurance across state lines, Health Savings Accounts, other inadequate half-measures.
The results will be catastrophic. The tax cuts and defense spending will blow the budget up; the deficit and debt will both explode. Any kind of social spending will be reduced. We’re going to start seeing news stories about families losing food stamps, about hungry kids in schools, and people losing their homes. Homelessness will increase. Also millions of people will lose their health insurance. Emergency rooms will be flooded, and health care costs will explode. Hundreds of people will die. Remember ‘pre-existing conditions?’ We’ll see those kinds of nightmare stories again.
Trump will start trade wars with China, Mexico, South Korea, possibly Japan, possibly Europe, and likely several other major trade partners. The new I-phone will triple in cost. US manufacturing will decline precipitously; no markets to sell to.
One major worry with massive deficit spending is that the government will issue huge amounts of money to cover it, leading to inflation, possibly even hyper-inflation. Donald Trump knows essentially nothing about economic policy, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see inflation rise. That’s if we’re lucky–hyper-inflation, destroying the economy, is also possible, and wouldn’t surprise me. But if inflation does rise, the Federal Reserve will have no choice but to increase interest rates. Trump doesn’t know anything about government either, and could illegally pressure the Fed to keep inflation low, for political reasons, leading to a constitutional crisis.
Either way, that wall’s never getting built. We’ll run out of money to pay for it, and Mexico sure won’t. I predict this huge pile of concrete and rebar and steel out in the middle of the Texas desert. That’s what will remain of the Trump wall. It’ll be kind of a grim tourist attraction; this huge rat infested pile of building materials. That will be Donald Trump’s Presidential legacy. Anyway, that will be the Trump Presidency. A ruined economy, shattered families, xenophobic restrictions on immigration, and, if we’re very very lucky, merely the worst recession in US history.
Okay, so what if Hillary Clinton wins? Well, she’ll face a hostile Congress, especially the House, which will continue to be dominated by zealots. I know she’ll fight for immigration reform, but I doubt she’ll achieve it. If Paul Ryan works with her on that volatile issue, he’ll lose his Speakership; possibly to that appalling little weasel Jason Chaffetz. (He’s my congressman. I don’t like him).
But I think Democrats should win the Senate, and that means she’ll have a chance to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will judge sensibly. I think she’ll be able to pass at least some of her agenda. Obamacare is another hot button issue, for some reason, but she’ll certainly fight to reform it, and she may well succeed.
I think US foreign policy will continue to be reactionary, and at least mildly interventionist. That’s disappointing, but there will be political pressure on her to continue the ‘war on terror,’ though doing so is surely a foolish priority. Terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology.
Hillary Clinton’s three main domestic policy priorities will be a) reforming Obamacare, b) comprehensive immigration reform, and c) tax increases, to pay for other parts of her agenda. Those are three very tough policies to get past rock-ribbed Tea Party Republicans. She may have more success passing bills that aren’t as high priorities for her, but would still do a lot of good. She might get a national minimum wage increase passed, for example. She may find common ground with some Republicans on paid family leave policies. Quite a few Republicans are interested in criminal justice reform–I think that maybe an area where she will get some traction.
Right now, Hillary Clinton is disliked and mistrusted by many many Americans. That’s been true before for her. She was disliked when she ran for the Senate, but well-liked when she was actually in office getting the job done. She may surprise people. She’s got the executive skills to be a very good President. She’s a good listener, and she’s respectful of those with differing views. She’ll try to work with Congress, and she may turn out to be pretty good at it.
Also, I predict that we will never hear the word ’email’ again in connection with her.
There will be another scandal again, and she may face impeachment. What will the nature of that scandal be? Who knows? Something silly, and unimportant. But her enemies will never, ever, let up on her. She’s that hated. She won’t actually be impeached, but there will be a call for it from the conservative fringes. It’s not like Breitbart.com will go away.
Historians will judge Hillary Clinton a reasonably effective President. Trump will go down in history as the worst President in history. Now, we’ll see how good my Nostradamus act is.