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devil duck

So what will actually happen?

People will continue going to work, eating, drinking, sleeping, falling in love, falling out of love, arguing, doing individual acts of good and evil. The sun will continue to rise and set.

But what will the Federal Government actually do, with a President Trump and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress? There's an enormous list of campaign promises, of which nobody really believes they'll all happen. Which ones are both (a) within the power of Trump-and-Congress, and (b) in their interest?

1) The Wall. Trump has made such a big deal about building The Wall that he'll probably do at least some of that. Mexico won't pay for it, because why would they? It won't accomplish anything on immigration, but it will demonstrate Trump keeping his word. It will, of course, be built by contractors that Trump has worked with before, and he may even pay them -- after all, it's not his money.

2) Repealing Obamacare. Again, both Trump and Congress have said so many times that they'll repeal Obamacare, that they pretty much have to do that, and soon. Whether they have anything at all to replace it with is another question. There are thinking conservatives who have worked out more-market-based alternatives to Obamacare, but that would take a lot of debate and discussion in Congress, and we went through that in 2009; I don't think Congress and the American people have the patience to sit through it again. So I'm guessing there's a repeal of most parts of Obamacare within a few months, with only a few trivial measures to replace it. Millions of people will no longer be able to afford basic health care. On the other hand, there will probably be a surge in enrollment in the next few weeks, as people try to get some degree of government-subsidized health care before it's taken away again. [UPDATE: that surge has already started, as Wednesday was the busiest day of signups in this year's open enrollment period. Trump's election may ironically be the stroke that makes Obamacare financially sound.] On the "bright" side, if they manage to repeal Obamacare soon with little or no replacement, millions of Americans who have health care today will have lost it before the 2018 elections.

3) Cutting taxes on rich people and big corporations. This is clearly in the interest of both Trump and the Republicans in Congress; it'll happen within six months. Combined with the likely 2017 recession that has just become more likely, the Federal budget deficit will skyrocket. The tax cuts will be sold as a stimulus measure against the recession, and it will do almost nothing to stimulate the general economy.

4) Deporting 11 million illegal aliens. This will be a lot harder than Trump thinks, but he'll probably at least keep up the Obama administration's high rate of deportation.

5) Locking up Hillary. I don't think this will happen without some court actually seeing substantial evidence that she's committed a crime, and I don't think that evidence exists. She'll continue being investigated, as she has for the past thirty years.

6) Filling Scalia's SCOTUS seat. This will happen within a few months: we already have a list of nominees acceptable to the Religious Right, so Trump just needs to pick one and have the Senate hold a quick hearing or two. Given the ages of the other Justices, Trump will probably get to fill another seat or two with people who will reliably hold up either a religious-right or a Republican-partisan agenda, which will dominate the court for several more decades.

7) Reforming big-money-in-politics. Yes, Trump knows this system as well as anybody, and now that he's on the receiving side of it, he and his Republican supporters in Congress have absolutely no reason to do anything but expand it. When has Donald Trump ever turned down an opportunity for income?

8) Voter caging. Since the tactic of "figure out who's going to vote against you, and don't let them vote at all" seems to have worked so well this time, it will be expanded. I don't know how, but the Justice Department won't prosecute it and the Supreme Court won't invalidate it.

9) Pulling out of international treaties.

a) First on the list is the Paris climate accord, and anything else that mentions climate change: Trump and the Republicans in Congress will do that within a month or two, followed immediately by China and India. Greenhouse-gas levels will climb at an increasing rate, extreme weather events will become more and more frequent, low-lying cities around the world will flood. OTOH, if we continue seeing every year break the previous year's temperature record, there will be some popular backlash, and a few more people who think climate change is real will be elected to Congress in 2018 and 2020. And on the bright side, people who flee to Canada may be able to farm in central Manitoba.

b) NAFTA and CAFTA will be abrogated, probably not within a month but within a year. The resulting trade war will exacerbate the global recession a lot of people thought was already likely in 2017 or 2018. I don't know about TPP, a good deal of which has nothing to do with free trade and everything to do with intellectual property for large corporations. It might be passed with the free-trade provisions stripped out.

c) NATO, ANZUS, and other military alliances: these are probably useful to President Trump, as long as everybody else involved recognizes him as the boss, rather than "first among equals". The U.S. military will continue to defend countries that are suitably subservient, and not the others, which Russia will annex in various explicit or implicit ways.

10) Gun control, abortion, LGBTQ issues. I don't think Trump cares much about these issues one way or the other, but Republicans in Congress certainly do, so I think they'll pass their dream legislation and he'll sign it.

11) The people (especially Republicans) who didn't endorse him. Trump could ask his lackey Chris Christie how to deal with people who don't endorse you, but I think he can figure it out for himself. Their political careers are over. Fortunately for them, most of the Republicans who didn't endorse him had already left government, and their political careers were already over.


May I add one?
12) Repeal or gut Frank-Dodd and other legislation regulating banks.

And with 6, there are about 40 of federal judgeships that have been sitting vacant. The republicans will get to fill those in the two years before the midterm elections.