What if Trump Turns Out To Be…


—Donald Trump continues to get major pushback—both judicial and popular—on his immigration bans, such that they can’t move forward;

—parts of the GOP continue to refuse to pay for his wall;

—the Republicans continue to tie themselves in knots over Obamacare;

—the Supreme Court, even with Gorsuch, continues to uphold Roe v. Wade (overturning it will take at least one more Trump appointment, after Gorsuch);

If in the end all Trump really delivers, when you get rid of the bells and whistles, is tax cuts and deregulation, race-baiting and saber-rattling*…

…what will that mean?

That Trump is pretty much like every other Republican in office we’ve ever had.

Which is the one thing he cannot afford to be.

*The wild card in this, as I said the other night, is whether Trump goes to war. Which may be his only out.


  1. C. G. Estabrook February 4, 2017 at 6:54 pm | #

    TPP? Nato?

  2. David Egan February 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm | #

    OF course, Trump will go to war, that’s ‘good business’ for the Republicans. Nothing will be done to amend our budget, nothing will be resolved for the hurting of the poor and nothing will be saved for the future of this nation. All bets are off now; all that we have learned, mistakes and missteps, will be abolish under this new myopia.

    • Bill Michtom February 5, 2017 at 12:46 am | #

      “Trump will go to war, that’s ‘good business’ for the Republicans.”

      And it’s NOT good business for the Dems?

      • b. February 6, 2017 at 12:24 pm | #

        I concur. Any claim that we need not worry about Trump much is just an admission that our real concern is the Democratic Party, which is already unhinged to the point of seeking war with China and Russia all on its own.

        Our elections, always a variation on the Monty Hall problem, have now become its parody. You could say that Trump was the prize behind the third door, and now we have to realize that it is Judas goats all the way down.

        • b. February 6, 2017 at 12:24 pm | #

          However the GOP resolves its Trump problems – and however much or little it might profit from the process – the real concern is, what are the Democrats going to do in 2018, 2020? So far, Trump is serving them well to distract from their own warmongering and their disconnect from the reality The People are living, and he is inoculating them against any comprehensive critique of US foreign policy and hegemony (something Sanders never delivered) with his “trumpher” headlines about the unspeakable crimes of the exceptional nation. Trump hadn’t even been elected when the Clinton machine was already going for its red-baiting Trumputin twofer.

          Trump might be dismantling institutions, but the Not-Post-Obama-Clinton Party continues to discredit them to the very roots.

  3. yastreblyansky February 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm | #

    I think you’re completely right, with one comforting caveat: with the work he and his acolytes have done to alienate the armed forces and intelligence community, the fuckup of his debut as a war president in Yemen, and the difficulty of agreeing on a suitable enemy (Bannon wants a war with China!), the war option is going to be really hard to arrange.

  4. Paul Rosenberg February 4, 2017 at 7:21 pm | #

    Poor Grenada!


  5. friendski February 4, 2017 at 7:22 pm | #

    War is inevitable in any fascist model. No matter how you define him or his administration, you can’t deny there’s been significant borrowing from that playbook.

    • yastreblyansky February 4, 2017 at 8:40 pm | #

      The question is not whether he is a fascist but whether he can be an effective fascist, where there is much doubt. His personality disorder served him well in the corporate world, but I think it is much too severe for government, and he’s considerably less able to hire competent people to work for him than even George W. Bush. But Republicans don’t really need a president to do that much.

      • jonnybutter February 4, 2017 at 10:22 pm | #

        His personality disorder served him well in the corporate world

        A small nit, but Trump isn’t really from the ‘corporate world’ – he’s from a world where it’s normal and expected for him to lie more or less constantly: the US commercial real estate world. This is not at all to excuse him – he’s repulsive, and it’s ridiculous for him to be in government – and absurd that he’s president. But his world does not resemble the ‘corporate’ one that much. Corporate types are more careful about how they lie. Trumps world is full of bullshiters.

  6. Mary Francis February 4, 2017 at 7:34 pm | #

    If the Republicans think that war is going to galvanize this nation, they do not foresee the probability that We lose against Iran.

  7. Dave Timoney February 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm | #

    I suspect it’s Cuba that should be worried, not Grenada. Not only would a move on Havana redress a perceived humiliation, it would be low-risk, a negation of an Obama achievement, and great for Trump’s business interests.

  8. xenon2 February 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm | #

    When has the US been at peace?
    The MIC means the US is in a #ForeverWar

    Blame congress.
    As soon as you get elected,
    you start planning on getting re-elected.
    Lobbyists, you know #BigBucks

  9. LFC February 4, 2017 at 10:27 pm | #

    I think this speculation about Trump and war is a bit premature. The admin is two weeks old. It’s taken one military action, a raid in Yemen that was ordered without the thorough consultation with a range of officials (including in the intel agencies) that ordinarily occurs in such cases. After that debacle (which resulted in the death of a Navy special ops soldier and killed among others the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, which means the U.S. has now killed, albeit without specifically intending to, both of his children), it may be that there will be a more standard, deliberate process put in place before approving such ops. Maybe, maybe not.

    The other thing — going directly to the OP — is that there are ways for Trump to differentiate himself from cut-taxes-and-deregulate Republicans without going to war. He can (try to) withdraw from and/or renegotiate trade agreements. He can put more forceful pressure on NATO allies to ‘pay up’ than has been done before. He can cozy up to Putin even more.

    Trump’s worldview is different from the standard Republican one in several important respects. (1) He tends to see trade as a zero-sum game; Republican orthodoxy, following economic orthodoxy, sees trade as a positive-sum game (as does much Democratic opinion). (2) Trump generally thinks the U.S. does too much in terms of guaranteeing other countries’ security. He also expressed opposition during the campaign to democracy promotion, development aid, and ‘nation-building’ of any sort.

    So even if Trump’s horrible plan for a Fortress America (border wall, immigration restrictions) ultimately does not get implemented because of popular, judicial, and legislative opposition, he could still find ways to advance an agenda different from a standard Repub. one. That doesn’t mean he will succeed in doing that, but it’s a possibility.

    Already btw the Repub Congress is busy rolling back Obama-era regs to e.g. benefit energy companies (coal runoff can be dumped into streams again, oil companies don’t have to report payments to foreign governments), and it may be that a program of sweeping, radical-Right deregulation and upward redistribution will be enough to allow Trump to claim that he has MAGA. Whether that will be enough to please his base is an open question.

    • Bill Michtom February 5, 2017 at 12:57 am | #

      “He can (try to) withdraw from and/or renegotiate trade agreements.”

      So-called trade agreements are actually corporate deregulation agreements with ‘trade’ being just a facade. I’d be stunned if the Rs let the very advantageous investor-state dispute settlement [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investor-state_dispute_settlement] scam get away.

      • LFC February 5, 2017 at 8:38 am | #

        Well, they’ve already let it ‘get away’ w/r/t the TPP.

  10. Roquentin February 5, 2017 at 12:15 am | #

    I’ve arrived at the conclusion that by and large Trump supporter don’t really give a shit about what he does. The whole thing runs on spite. The thought process of the average Trump supporter goes “Making the liberals squirm = good.” That’s as far as most of them think it through. This is why the big figures on the alt-right are self-professed trolls like Milo Yiannapoulos. That’s the main animus behind 4chan’s /pol/ board. Anything to get a rise out of the SJWs. Peel away the malice and these people have very few ideas, and the ideas they do have are stupid. But this is also their strength. Trump could literally deliver on none of his promises so long as they knows it hurts the people they can’t stand. The GOP could desert him, most of them never liked Trump to start with, which will be all the more reason to blame Trump’s problems on the political establishment rather than the man himself.

    Trying to make this about Roe v. Wade, Obamacare, or The Wall is still playing yesterday’s game. It almost gives the face of modern conservatism too much credit. The troll is the present face of conservatism. Short on ideas of any kind and long on petty, malicious antagonism. These people don’t want anything done. They feel like losers and the thought that anyone else is winning drives them insane. They want to piss in the punchbowl and ruin the party so everyone else goes home as miserable as them. That is what we are dealing with.

  11. Murray Reiss February 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm | #

    Yes. They want to stick it to the elites and the very first people to suffer uinder Trump’s presidency are poor rural women in Africa and Asia who will no longer be abloe to get abortions or much else in the way of family planning. Take that you coastal elites!

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