We're just over two weeks into the Donald Trump administration. So far, the President of the United States has: lied about the size of his inauguration crowd, summoned the director of the National Park Service and pressured him to produce photographs to prove that the attendance was less than sparsely attended, reportedly threatened to send troops into Mexico to take care of 'bad hombres' and hung up on the Australian prime minister.
In between, he's gagged scientists at federal agencies from communicating with the public, signed an executive order barring refugees from Muslim-majority country that has been celebrated by jihadist groups and alienated about half of his country, ordered the construction of a wall on the Mexican border, weakened Obamacare and sworn in as Secretary of State a man who has had a business relationship with Vladimir Putin. He's thrown airports into chaos, created 'alternative facts' and even spawned a Twitter account dedicated to people who regret voting for Donald Trump. The chaos candidate has become the chaos president.
But for anyone hoping that sanity will suddenly rear its ugly head and Donald Trump will be impeached, I have this to say: don't bet on it. Because the Republicans are winning. Bigly, president Trump would say, much to the horror of grammar Nazis (or the grammar Alt-right) everywhere. As of this moment, Republicans hold the US presidency and majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They can push through almost any legislation and affirm any nominees because they have the votes. Even if Democrats get their act together and just say no, they only have 44 seats in the Senate compared to the Republicans' 54 seats — you only need 51 votes to clear legislation that would be easily approved by the Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Which leaves the Democrats needing to to convince a few 'moderate' Republicans in the House and Senate to come over to their side to block Trump's agenda. Fat chance, I say. Why would the Republicans break with Trump when they're on the so close to achieving everything they've ever wanted? Let's start with the granddaddy of them all — lower taxes and fewer regulations — in a meeting with business leaders, Trump reaffirmed his election promise to lower taxes from 35 percent to 15 or 20 percent (as far as we know Trump hasn't even paid taxes for two decades) — and he's already signed an executive order to cut regulations affecting US businesses.
And now, for the first time in decades, the Republicans are poised to rollback the steady defeats they've suffered since the 1970s in the Culture Wars through the nomination of a Supreme Court justice much in the mould of the late Antonin Scalia. And president Trump will make at least another, if not two or three more appointments to the court, thereby swinging control towards the Republicans for years, if not decades.
Make no mistake, Trump's win will prove to be an utter catastrophe for the rights of women, members of the LGBTQ community and those who believe in the separation of Church and State. Also under threat is what remains of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which was gutted by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, thereby successfully suppressing turnout among the Democrats (read minorities) in key states such as Florida, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Why fix what so obviously isn't broken?
For those who've stuck around through the doom and gloom, let me offer just a sliver of hope. There remains a plausible scenario in which Trump could be made a lame duck president in the latter half of his term: Democratic successes in the 2018 mid-term elections. In American politics, the party in power usually suffers huge reversals at the ballot box during the mid-term elections (the 1998 and 2002 elections proved to be notable exceptions to this rule). Two weeks of Trump has fired up the Democratic base more than Hillary Clinton's entire campaign. If the Democrats win enough seats, they could simply filibuster to their hearts' contents, much like the Republicans did with Obama and undercut Trump's executive orders by simply stripping the money needed from the agencies assigned to carry them out.
Trump is also already working with one major disadvantage — he can't help be himself — which has resulted in a historically high disapproval rating for a new president. According to Gallup, 51 percent of Americans polled disapproved of Trump, up from 45 percent on 22 January, 2017. Compare his performance with his predecessors Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George H W Bush and Ronald Reagan:
Days until achieving MAJORITY disapproval from @Gallup
Bush I: 1336
Bush II: 1205
Trump: 8. days. pic.twitter.com/kv2fy0Qsbp
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) January 29, 2017
Perhaps all the Democrats have to do is stand back and let Trump be Trump.
A series of unfortunate events
Could Trump be forced from office? Possibly. But it would require at least one catastrophic event (for the world) before his term ends.
1. #Trumpcession = global recession
While it's far too early to tell how history will judge the Obama presidency, even his harshest critics would concede that after the 2008 crash, he stabilised the economy, even if he wasn't able to breathe life into it. Trump has, in his usual, humble style, vowed to be 'the greatest jobs president that God ever created'. So voters might not be as forgiving if he fails to live up to his promises.
And Trump will, once again, find himself fighting the winds of history. According to Bloomberg, no GOP president since World War II has managed to avoid an economic downturn. And Moody’s Analytics has found that Trump's economic proposals would explode America's federal deficit, cost millions of American jobs, stifle its economic growth and explode the federal deficit. Like it or not, if America sneezes, the world still catches a cold.
2. A trade war
Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on goods from Mexico and China. According to Fortune Magazine, this scenario would more than likely end in disaster — for America — as it would lead to the prices of cheap, imported goods skyrocketing beyond the reach of the blue collar types who voted for Trump (and everyone else). CNN reported that the Republican donor class — businessmen — don't want a trade war with China either. If things get too dire, one could imagine a scenario in which Trump is ousted by the Republican establishment with the assistance of the Democrats.
3. An actual war
Here's a tale to make your hair stand on end, courtesy of Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, and high profile political talk show host on US television.
That's a story of the man who is now the US president, asking why the US couldn't simply use nuclear weapons. The mind boggles. Thankfully, Trump seems to have changed his mind. According to a report in The Independent, Trump said that receiving the nuclear football was a 'sobering' moment. One certainly hopes so.
And if these scenarios don't unfold, then don't lose hope: there are only 3 years, 11 months and 15 days left in his first term. On second thoughts, strap in folks — it's going to be a long, bumpy ride to 2020.
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Updated Date: Feb 04, 2017 13:39:34 IST