(Revision to the Update 12/22/16: I am submitting this as the year-end Jon Swift Blog Memorial that Batocchio hosts. As such I am going to add post-election observations of what I guessed right, what I missed, and HOW MUCH WORSE THE SITUATION IS TURNING OUT TO BE, DAMMIT AMERICANS 62 MILLION OF YOU GOT SUCKERED BY A CON ARTIST /fume Okay, okay. Just give me a few hours to get this updated by tonight.)
So let's game this out: what exactly is going to happen if Trump actually wins the whole thing?
I mean, given how about eleven or twelve Republican-controlled states are issuing voter suppression laws - thanks, Scalia! - there's a possibility in some of these closely-challenged states that went for Obama in 2012 would not be there for Hillary in 2016.
So let's say Trump overperforms, and Hillary underperforms, the voter suppression states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina break Red against the demographics... Rather than the hoped-for Democratic blowout that will humble the Republicans for decades the way 1984 humbled the Democrats, we end up with a close one:
And Trump gets the Electoral College. Even if Hillary gets more than 2 million votes with the popular count with places like California and Illinois and New York, the Electoral is all that matters.
And we get a President-Elect Trump.
Okay, deep breaths. Try to remember this is just a game, we're just trying to figure out how this could play out. It hasn't really happened. We're just thinking it. Just in case. Don't Panic. Settle. Breathe... breathe... Okay, you good? Okay.
So, what exactly would we expect to get on Day One of a Trump administration?
Election Night is November 8.
We'll get an immediate response by November 9th before Trump even gets into the Oval Office. Because I get the feeling Mexico is going to recall their ambassador and kick ours out of their country as soon as humanly possible.
Given all the crap things Trump has been saying - that he'd throw out all the "illegals", that Mexicans coming to our nation are a bunch of "rapists", then build up a massive border wall with Mexico, and force the Mexican government to pay for that wall - the only sane response that Mexico has will be to cut off diplomatic ties with the U.S. It won't even matter if Obama is technically still in office until January 2017: Mexico will rightly be angered by a United States population that gave Trump enough support to become President by campaigning on such a gross and insulting platform.
If Mexico goes that route, expect a large number of Central American and Caribbean nations doing the same thing, regardless of any threats of trade embargoes or sanctions by the incoming Trump administration. Because Trump's anti-immigrant tirades are a collective slap in the face to the entire Latino community be it Mexican or Honduran or Peruvian or Jamaican or Puerto Rican or Chilean or Cuban or otherwise.
Part of me figures the European and Asian allies - from Germany to France to the UK to Spain to Japan to the Philippines to India and across the Middle East - will hold off on any open hostility, but I get the feeling that NATO nations will bring up early and often how they'll refuse to assist on any of the more outlandish foreign policy proposals - which boil down to "bombing everybody" - and may well bring up war crimes talk towards any of the neocons bound to worm their way into a Trump White House. We may well have our first Secretary of State unable to even travel abroad for fear of arrest by international tribunal.
I am loathe to guess how Iran will jump, but considering how they went from "possibly warming up to the US" after 9/11 and helping us fight the Taliban in Afghanistan to switching back to anti-Yank mindset when Bush the Lesser labeled them one of the "Axis of Evil", I'm guessing Iran will risk breaking their nuclear disarmament deal with Obama the second it becomes clear Trump and the Republicans won't respect one word of it. And that the allies that helped us make that deal might not argue against them doing so.
And this all before Trump gets up to the podium to swear
Day One itself is probably going to look like this: Trump issues an Executive Order suspending ObamaCare until Congress acts on "repealing and replacing" it. Given that Congress under Republicans - who likely will remain in power in this scenario - so far has a repeal in mind but nothing to replace it, that will likely mean millions on Medicaid coverage and hundreds of thousands on federal-level exchanges are sh-t out of health care luck.
Day One will also include Trump introducing a Republican Cabinet made of up of some of the nastier remnants of the Bush the Lesser administration - neocons in foreign policy, tax-cutters and deregulators in domestic policy - still eager to re-establish the bad habits and disasters of 2001-2009 they never answered for.
And if the Republican Senate carried through on their threat to obstruct Obama's attempts to fill Scalia's Supreme Court spot, that means Trump will be there on Day One to offer his own nominee, most likely a pro-business anti-government anti-civil rights anti-abortion type in the Scalia mold (as he'll have promised as much to the GOP leadership). Think of the worst possible conservative judge out there capable of filling a SCOTUS spot - Roy Moore comes to mind - and you've got an idea what Trump will give us.
And it will be our damn fault if he does so.
Because for him to get into the White House in this scenario means millions of fellow Americans voted for this con artist. The Republicans are to blame for letting Trump get on the ballot. The conservative media, hell media in general is to blame for giving Trump the microphone to shill his hate platform. But if there's 50 to 60 million voters out there willing to get suckered by this bankrupt fraud of an overhyped landlord, and there's not enough Democratic or moderate voters willing to cast a ballot against him - so what if it's Hillary? You think Hillary is a problem? TRUMP IS WORSE, so get the damn vote out - then we as a nation are truly screwed.
We can be better than this as a nation, America. Just... goddamnit, stop voting for Trump. Don't ever vote for Trump. Just don't vote for any Republican this year, considering their platform of tax cuts, mass deregulation, killing off Planned Parenthood and banning abortion, ending gay marriage rights, carpet bombing... I'm with the guy over at Stonekettle Station: the Republicans are horrifying as a party this election cycle, worse than ever, and they're still getting this much voter support?! /headdesk
WE CAN BE BETTER THAN THIS, AMERICA.
Update 12/22: Apparently we weren't better than this. DAMMIT.
I did suggest that a Trump win would only be the Electoral count by state, that Hillary (as the Democratic candidate) would likely gain most of the votes in solid Blue states like California, Illinois and New York. I said "Hillary could get 2 million more votes than Trump" and I was under the actual differential at 2.9 million. It's still the largest deficit between the Popular Vote winner (Hillary) over the Popular Vote loser (Trump) where the Electoral College still went to said loser. We must be the ONLY elective government where the guy who LOSES still wins the office. More on that another time...
In the meantime, how did my predictions for a Trump transition and inauguration go?
I was apparently exaggerating the bit about Mexico likely reacting by cutting all diplomatic ties the day after the election. Like the rest of the planet, it seems our neighbors and allies are holding their breath and keeping their distance, as though our entire nation is on quarantine watch.
There's been a bit of saber rattling towards Iran, but the pundit consensus is that there's little Trump can do regarding the Iran Nuclear deal that Obama set up. Too many other nations have a hand in that arrangement for one thing, for another the deal didn't lift all sanctions meaning our nation has few other things it can use as leverage against Iran.
The problem is that Trump is filling his Cabinet with hawks - a sizable number of retired generals, and neocons from the Bush the Lesser years - who prefer a hard-line stance vs. Iran, meaning a high likelihood of military action or even war against that country. We're still dealing with hotheads among the Far Right spoiling to finish off "the Axis of Evil" and have few worries about how messy an Iranian war would be for us. This is not good.
Speaking of that Cabinet, I suggested the likelihood that Trump would fill it with leftovers from the Bush the Lesser years. I was partly right: there are a few from the previous GOP administration taking other Department positions - such as Chao - but there's a shocker in that Trump is picking a lot of CEOs and lobbyists who have almost as much experience with government administration that he has. That is, NONE AT ALL. Instead of getting people with even a semblance of knowing which door to knock on to ask for directions to the bathrooms at the State Department, he's putting in people who are the least qualified to fill those duties. Trump's made it a requirement to pick those - such as Betsy DeVos for Education, or Andrew Pudzer for Labor - who are utterly opposed to that Department's responsibilities. He's bringing in people most likely to DESTROY the jobs they're asked to do.
Word to know when dealing with Trump's administration: Kakistocracy. About nine-tenths of the people he's selecting to work with him are either incompetent or incompatible for the duties he's selecting them for. This is going to be a mess on a scale far greater that Harding or Grant's tenures (and THOSE were bad).
In terms of destroying things, one thing I didn't realize Trump would do is destroy any semblance of world order. I really didn't realize he'd do so before he's even sworn in.
I had no idea - I didn't think it - that Trump would go out of his way to be a pain in the ass towards Mainland China so soon and so bluntly. I did crow - back when things were optimistic - that I had been predicting Trump's disasters before the Boston Globe was predicting them. But at least the Globe got the China mess front and center. Neither of us figured Trump would press China's buttons over Taiwan, but then again nobody did what Trump did going out of his way to call Taiwan (without State Dept. awareness) and stirring up the animosity the mainland has against their island-based foes.
As a result, China's belligerency towards the U.S. has increased, and threats to the South China Sea (and neighboring nations) have gone up. It's not healthy for regional diplomacy or stability...
And this is even before getting to the potential disasters a trade war with China would cause.
Oh, and the other clash Trump was threatening to impose? That Trump Wall against Mexico?
Promises about the Wall - and about the mass deportation of Latinos that would go with it - fluctuate from day to day. The best guess anyone can make is that Trump will keep promising to build that Wall but never will. Trump will likely press for an arrest-and-deport program of a scale and brutality that will still ruin millions of innocent lives (not just the illegals but the LEGAL Hispanic population now threatened by a sloppy and racist enforcement agenda).
The biggest thing I missed, although I touched on it regarding Trump's potential corruption in office, was exactly what it was Trump will violate the second he's sworn into office. I never knew about the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution, only because it's so rarely mentioned: every other politician who could violate it always avoiding the scandal by selling off their affected business holdings and making sure they didn't cross that line. Trump is the first to ignore that line, whole-heartedly skipping towards it like it doesn't apply to him.
And what IS the Emoluments Clause? It's Article I, Section 9, Part 8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. That means no one in political office can profit from - without Congress allowing it - any kind of gift, title, or salary/monetary gain coming from a foreign state.
Considering Trump's property holdings overseas, his many hotels and golf courses that he eagerly shills, and the fact that nearly every phone call or meeting he's made to foreign leaders has been about getting better deals for his properties, the likelihood that a foreign nation will pay Trump favors via those holdings either through a quid-pro-quo or favorable deal is too obvious to happen. This is why nearly every legal expert on the Constitution is screaming that Trump should sell his properties (or at least put them in an honest Blind Trust not held by his children, because they're too tied to him and his incoming administration).
Here's the thing: Trump's refusing to give up his business dealings. Oh, he keeps promising he'll put it all in a "blind trust," but he still hasn't done so, and he's still acting as though he's doing everything to benefit HIS businesses at the expense of everybody else. The potential that Trump breaks this law hard-wired into the Constitution itself is close to 100 percent. The questions become 1) who will enforce it and 2) how bad will it get?
One thing I did predict that's likely now: that Trump's victory is only half the problem. The other half is that a Republican-controlled Congress is still in power. Everything THEY can do to destroy the United States - Ryan's slash-and-burn budget, gutting social aid, killing ObamaCare, attacking Medicare AND Social Security, eliminating civil liberties for minorities, women, gays and transgendered - will easily kick in (depending on how fast the Democratic minority in the Senate rolls over and plays dead) and cause the whole thing to blow into the sea.
Still don't know who Trump is going to pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy - BURN IN HELL, MCCONNELL, BURN! IN! HELL! - but it won't be pretty.
There's one other thing I predicted: we're screwed with Trump in office.
Past that, I have no idea how bad it's going to get. Every time it looks like things might settle, or stabilize, Trump goes and does some other stupid-ass thing... LIKE NOW, TWEETING ABOUT GETTING BACK INTO THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE. Son... Of... A... BIIIIIIII...