President Donald Drumpff: possible outcomes?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by parmalee, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Imagine we are two or three years into a Donald Trump presidency. Now, while it’s true that a President has so much power; likewise, a President only has so much power. Still, at best, our present Congress is at best useless and ineffectual, and at worst, absolutely terrifying. The Supreme Court. Meh.

    Realistically, what are some of the worst things that could possibly happen? Realistically. I mean, I can imagine some real horrorshow shit, but—in theory, at least—we’ve got an admirable (again, in theory) system of checks-and-balances which ought to keep my worst nightmares at bay.

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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Worst possible: WWIII. A [post-Bush] president has access to clandestine forces, equipment and funds that enable him to do things, in secret and without consultation, that can easily precipitate international hostilities on a large scale. He can maybe even nuke a country before anybody can stop him. Certainly, he can order an assassination that, if discovered and thwarted, can put some pretty calamitous event in train. On the other hand, he talks about attack and withdrawal more or less interchangeably, so it's impossible to predict what [contradictory] orders he might give, or whether the military brass would point-blank refuse those orders. They can refuse orders, are required to if the orders are illegal, and at least two generals have already declared themselves ready to do so.
    An unexplained fire in the Capitol building. Private army replaces secret service (Don't even think of abbreviating!) at the White House; enormous gold-plated Trump statue replaces Lincoln; Trump declared Grand Poo-Bah for life.
    Mass deportations, burning ghettoes, racial violence, unprecedented police brutality. Full-blown civil war; dissolution of the union.

    Most likely: Bad economic policies, no accord on major issues in either domestic or foreign affairs, an abortive wall project abandoned early on, some deportations and disruptions, abandoned when seen to be as unworkable as we know they are, lots of misery for families and communities. Infrastructure goes on crumbling but police and civilians get more guns. Alaska gets fracked and drilled. Climate change and sustainable energy initiatives abandoned; emergency relief funds depleted, so when the next big hurricanes, draughts and snowstorms hit, there will be no help. Lots of mass shootings and random explosions.
    Legislature in more or less continuous deadlock. State legislatures do as they please. Regional disparity and hostility. National parks taken over by survivalist nutbar militias.

    Best possible: at the convention, Trump jumps out of a huge cake and yells: Gotcha. Then resigns in favour of Bloomberg.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member


    Let's assume the first few years of W&Cheney could have been worse - that they didn't maximize their disaster potential. Then the worst that could happen with Trump is worse than that, realistically.
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Have you ever estimated your own maximum survivable stupidity? Like, say, you're standing in a pool of water in the basement and reach up to see what's wrong with the light fixture? Or make a left turn into a hidden side-road at 40kph? Afterward, you think - Whew! I'd better not push my luck any harder.

    Countries have such moments, too.
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Which we have been carefully dismantling over the years.

    Per the Constitution, only the US Congress can declare war. Mention that to any recent president and they would laugh at you.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Bullycorps, LLC

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Yesterday, via The Hill↱:

    President Obama on Wednesday joked that Republicans believe he would have turned the United States into communist Cuba if constitutional limits on power didn’t exist.

    The president was asked about the likelihood of GOP front-runner Donald Trump being elected president during a town hall with young people in Argentina.

    Obama didn’t answer directly, saying he believes voters will make a “good choice” in the 2016 elections.

    But even if voters pick a bad president, Obama said, “there is limits to the damage they can do” because of separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

    “I’m sure Republicans feel that about me, they’re glad that there’s distribution of power,” he said. “They imagine I would have turned the United States into Cuba, I suppose. They tend to exaggerate a little bit how I see the world.”

    The bit about Cuba makes for a fun line, but Preident Obama is hardly out on a limb in citing separation of powers; in December, Lee Drutman↱ considered, for Vox, the prospect of President Trump:

    The simple answer is that most likely he would make an ineffective and terrible president, because he has no real understanding of what being president involves. And in all probability, the damage he can do is limited by the basic constitutional and administrative designs of the US government, which restrict the powers of the executive.

    Drutman continues, listing three and a half possibilitiies―

    (1) An ineffective president at war with Congress (probability: 65 percent), possibly impeached (probability: 10 percent)

    (2) A standard-issue Republican (probability: 25 percent)

    (3) A populist maverick realigner (probability: 5 percent)

    ―but notes those percentages are "impressionistic probabilities" without merit.

    Each of these scenarios involves some guess as to how Trump and other key players in Washington would respond to each other. As presidential scholar Richard Neustadt once noted, the president's power depends first and foremost on relationships. Contrary to the popular view (which political scientist Brendan Nyhan has dubbed the Green Lantern theory of the presidency), the president cannot just make things happen by sheer force of will and personality. A Trump presidency (or any presidency really) will depend both on what he does and on how others respond.

    And last month, Dylan Matthews↱ of Vox wondered about what President Trump could accomplish without congressional help:

    It's worth thinking seriously about what a Trump presidency would actually look like. In some ways, it'd resemble a typical Republican administration. He'd push Congress to slash taxes on the rich, for example, and with Republicans controlling both chambers at the moment, he'd likely succeed.

    But Trump is not a typical Republican. On two key issues, he's deviated strongly from past policy statements by Republican nominees: immigration and trade.

    He's laid out a very ambitious plan to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants, and restrict legal migration as well. And he's spoken of wanting a big tariff on all Chinese imports, with a rate as high as 45 percent (though he's backed away from that giant figure and even denied bringing it up, despite there being an audio recording).

    Trump cannot enact his entire immigration and trade agendas by presidential fiat. He'd need Congress to go along for the really big stuff; after all, a border wall isn't going to fund itself, even if he says Mexico is going to foot the bill. But experts say he could still do an alarming amount to ramp up deportations, clog up the legal immigration process, and target Chinese imports, without changing any laws or needing Congress in any way.

    In the end, it is nearly a parlor game. To wit:

    • As people talk about executive authority and Congressional purview, there is also the fact that President Trump has a bully pulpit. He has run a populist campaign raising dangerous spectres of history. Mr. Trump can end up being a middling, generally useless Republican president who wrecks the financial books like any other and using a Republican House to force tax cuts, and but he can also take it out on Hispanics, Muslims, and Africans, and Caribbeans by his presidential purview regarding immigration; and he can also make life miserable for Muslims and people of color through his Department of Justice.

    His populism is what is dangerous, though; bigots in state houses will follow along, adding homosexuals and the transgender to the list. Women are always on the conservative hit list, and this will only get worse.

    It is enough to project that under these circumstances the People would likely tire of the horror show and replace him with a Democrat after four years; maybe not. In any case, a Trump presidency would be followed by a Democratic presidency, and while it would the mess would have different dimensions, we would witness a familiar cycle: Elect a Democrat to fix everything, fight that Democrat every step of the way, complain that the Democrats haven't fixed everything in two years, take it out on Democrats in the midterm, complain that the Democratic president is ineffective, and if the GOP can find a good candidate at that point, elect a Republcian president to make a mess all over again.​

    A Trump presidency will harm a lot of people at home and abroad regardless of whether he ever scores a policy victory in Congress. And every time the courts sit him down, his anti-American, savage base will only get angrier, because the one thing that pisses off conservatives more than anything else is the U.S. Constitution. They're still not over Romer v. Evans, and have spent the last twenty-some years deliberately enacting unconstitutional laws that get thrown out in court, and the idiot bloc they're relying on just hates the fact that you can't arbitrarily opt out of the Constitution.

    With Trump's base and the bully pulpit afforded the presidency, the United States of America could become a killing field. In many ways it already is; I might say ask the transgender, but nobody really cares, right? Or I might say ask women, but nobody really cares, right? Blacks, Hipanics; it doesn't matter, nobody really cares except the people trapped in the middle of it all, and our American tradition says those people don't count.

    And that's what this is about; we're in the process of shedding a number of our supremacist traditions, and the supremacists are furious, armed, and itching for violence. We saw it as the tinfoil bloc prepared to have a revolt forced on them by the evil government because President Obama was going to "invade Texas" on behalf of Walmart and McDonald's. But they've been talking like this for years; they want open bloodshed, but they're patriotic Americans so they have to invent a reason to claim evil liberals forced them to.

    And we see it now. Trump predicting riots if he loses the nomination? There will be riots, anyway; either when the RNC refuses Trump the nomination, or when Hillary Clinton is elected, or when demonstrations against President Trump's elections fall under siege by counterprotest and provocateurism. And, yes, we've already seen an example of that latter in Minneapolis.

    There will be violence; this bloc has been looking for an excuse, and the black man in the White House has managed to foil them pretty much every step of the way. And, you know, that's really what this is about. Like the Snack Club Uprising; if they were genuinely worried about tyranny, they would have occupied a police station in Cleveland, or an FBI office in any major city. DEA? ICE? Hell, even IRS? But no, they went to rural Oregon, took over a soft target, and in the end it turns out only one of them was remotely serious about all that tough talk.

    With four years in the White House, Donald Trump can stir our bigot bloc to frenzy, creating tremendous harm. His general policy agenda will face whatever reality voters present him in Congress, but the guaranteed damage will take place on our proverbial Main Street, and it will be terrible.


    Drutman, Lee. "What if Donald Trump becomes president?". Vox. 7 December 2015. 24 March 2016.

    Fabian, Jordan. "Obama: GOP thinks I would have turned US into Cuba". The Hill. 23 March 2016. 24 March 2016.

    Matthews, Dylan. "Here's what Donald Trump could do as president — without Congress's help". Vox. 18 February 2016. 24 March 2016.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    One of the aspects of Trump's character consistent over time - Taibbi points this out - is that he seems to relish the idea of firing people, deporting people, dominating people, torturing people, and killing people. He has run his businesses in Stalin mode - no person, no problem. In addition to firing some campaign staff who underperformed his expectations, we have the various coincidences of people who have embarrassed Trump in public finding other places to be shortly afterwards (such as what followed Sarah Palin's awkward dimwittedness on the endorsement stage bidding to be a media focus as she campaigned for Trump in Florida: on the eve of her big launch appearance her husband had a snowmobile accident that required her sudden and permanent removal to Alaska, far from the cameras and media attention).

    Now barring the occasional snowmobile accident or journalist/blogger heart attack, as President most of his (substantial) scope for that kind of exercise of power would be overseas, but the effects would rebound unto the country as a whole.
  12. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    I think people under estimate the power of the presidency. The POTUS could inflict serious harm. After all, this is the man or woman who could end mankind with a few keystrokes. I fear a Cruz presidency more than a Trump presidency. Because I don't believe Trump would actually do the things he is promising his followers.

    Cruz on the other hand has shown he is perfectly willing to destroy the nation and the nation's economy in order to advance his political prospects. Cruz has attempted to cause a US debt default on multiple occasions and came within minutes of causing one. Cruz is the more immediate and serious threat to the health and well-being of every American and to the world at large.

    If Trump were elected POTUS, and I doubt he will, and if he does all he says he will do, well, it wouldn't end well. But he wouldn't cause a US debt default as Cruz would do. If Trump is elected, I think he will implement policies which are far less radical and extreme than those he has pushed thus far. The man isn't stupid and he isn't ignorant. As POTUS he would need to either deliver results or change expectations. I expect Trump would do what he does best, manipulate his followers and change their expectations. This is all about ego with Trump. Trump wants to be remembered as a good man, as a good president. So I don't think he would do something really stupid like cause a debt default.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Just to throw another wrinkle on elephant's ass ... er ... okay, so that one doesn't work.

    Anyway, for whatever reasons the question arises in my mind: Why would we expect Donald Trump to measure his goodness according to anything other than his belief in himself?

    Even if we imagine our own nightmares of what a Trump presidency brings, it seems more likely, compared to his history, that should such results come to be, he will blame everyone else, just like he always does, secure in his smarmy delusion that he does no wrong.

    The word "shitshow" has been getting too much play, lately, but part of that is the fun, American-yokel, pathetic phonetic aesthetic. It's a simple, trendy neologism.

    Then again, if we think Donald Trump the candidate and his GOP fellows are staging one of the great shitshows of American history, we owe it to ourselves to remember we ain't seen nothin' yet. President Trump? Hell, Noah just had to deal with water, and "shitflood" just doesn't have the same aesthetic charm.

    My next benchmarks are the conventions themselves; I won't know what to look for next until the nominees are settled. However, to go with the likely, Clinton versus Trump, it is also true that I expect the polls to tighten, the media to equivocate, and voters to suddenly argue that Trump's bigotry is no big deal. It is, after all, what Americans do. If there's one thing the general marketplace can't stand, it's a blowout. Everything needs to be a photo-finish, a buzzer-beater, or some other mythical plot point. Americans need to pretend things are a lot more confusing than they really are, so that we can pat ourselves on the back for figuring out the right thing to do even when we don't do the right thing.

    True, it's a grim view of my society, but if I point out that I just spent a quarter-century tumbling through a social revolution in which seemingly respectable people demanded supremacism while pretending horror and outrage that it should be called anything other than liberty and justice for all in order to polish their egos, people with dark skin or two X chromosomes are quite likely to simply nod and say, "Welcome to America. It's always been this way."

    Clinton should, on the merits, blow Trump out of the water, something like two to one. I'm expecting a five to seven point gap in the popular vote.

    To the other, it's too early to predict because Team Sanders has escalated to threatening the convention, apparently because, you know, the GOP is doing it so why shouldn't we.

    Meanwhile, the GOP is desperately plotting to overthrow a Trump nomination; there is a straightforward way of doing so that has never worked before, and would essentially destroy the RNC ... until the midterm.

    The likely isn't yet the reality; we'll have to see what comes.
  14. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Poor Trump
    if H. Clinton's campaign suffers from the 4 ongoing investigations into security breaches.
    Then Trump is a shoe in
    He gets to take over a country that is 17.8 trillion dollars in debt. With a democratic congress who will fight him every inch of the way.
    I hope he doesn't take it personally.

    Maybe, he reigns in the military industrial complex(mic) and stops the military adventurism.(veto military spending bills, order the troops back home)
    and then
    Falls to an assassin's bullet-----(loosely connected to the mic)

    Wonder who his VP will be?
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Where are you getting the idea that the polls need to "tighten" to keep this from being a blowout? Clinton is currently running about 10 points up in the polls, less than that in the electoral college (a lot of support in places that are unlikely to vote Dem in the general). If she loses her normal ten - fifteen points over the course of the general campaign, you'll have your dead heat without any contribution from the media.
    Oh, bullshit. How is anything Sanders going to do "threatening the convention"?

    Trump is easily positioned, if he wants it, to run as a centrist and accommodating Republican candidate. He'll get all the support he needs, and appear as presidential as Jeb or Cruz or Marco could. He's mainstream, and if he's capable of looking the part he'll be a very strong candidate.
  16. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    That's a very good question. I think Trumps enjoys the adoration of his followers and the validation it provides him. I don't see how Trump can deliver his promises while doing all the things he claims he will do if elected.

    An isolationist foreign policy would adversely affect the US economy and substantially weaken national defense. Bringing back and expanding the practice of torture, does nothing to enhance safety. In fact, it threatens it. His penchant for autocracy threatens our democracy. This is the guy who wants to make torture legal. This is the man who wants to abrogate our international agreements including our trade agreements. I'm no fan of our trade agreements. But that would wreck havoc, that's why I can't believe him. He is a hot mess of contradictions. But the same could be said of Canadian Ted and most of his Republican cohorts.

    And then there is the small matter of immigration, Trump would need to greatly expand the number of police officers, justices, and prisons to deport the 11 million illegal aliens he says he wants to deport...not to mention the massive disruption that would have on our economy.

    This all about the show and this is a show for the Republican base. Trump's platform, the Republican platform, just can't deliver the goods Republicans are being promised. Oh, I'm sure Trump will do what Republicans have always done, blame others. It's what they do. Hell, they have even blamed Obama for the party's current problems selecting a nominee. But I don't think Trump will do everything he has promised he would do. It's just not possible, and I don't think Trump is that stupid. But the German plutocracy thought similar things about a young German named Hitler many years ago.

    I confess, I don't get the fascination with Trump. I have listened to him speak, and he doesn't impress me. I don't see him as a charismatic leader. I don't think he is a very good speaker. A man bragging about his polling numbers doesn't do anything for me. But, hey, the Republican base loves the man.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    It's a strange thing to my memory, Joe. I mean, you remember there are a number of aspects in the GOP that have pushed you farther from the Republican Party you once knew and I recall arguing against once upon a misty memory.

    Reaching back to, say, the eighties, as my political conscience grew, we were always supposed to hedge our societal criticism. If we fretted about racism or bigotry, well, hey, stop being so down on America; after all, it's just a few bad seeds, and you can't blame the whole country.

    I pitched my fit↱ last month, venting the pressure of denial:

    Let me be clear: This is not supposed to be happening.

    Our current obsession with millennials is a market trend; once upon a time, Generation X―remember us?―was all the news, and now that we’re in power, well, we’re just not in demand.

    Still, we should not be ignored. A large portion of Generation X was brought up on ideas about American society that mean what we’re seeing in the Trump phenomenon is not supposed to be happening.

    And, yes, it is always our American dark side.

    That is to say, bigotry in general is supposed to be largely a relic of our former barbarity. We hear from people today, even, trying to tell us that intolerance is a matter of a few bad apples.

    Take a look at Sen. Rubio’s supporters in the above paragraphs. Five percent? A few bad apples should be a few bad apples, not five percent of the produce in the marketplace. So what are we supposed to think about the Trumptacular twenty percent? No, seriously, are you joking?

    This is not supposed to be happening.

    And, yes, I do go on.

    For the record, that five percent for Rubio? That twenty percent for Trump? That's survey data representing supporters who disagree with the Emancipation Proclamation.

    A few bad seeds would be more like five-tenths of a percent.

    A third of Trump's voters nationwide support the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second; over three-quarters of Republican voters in South Carolina are white supremacists.

    Perhaps you, too, remember a time when such numbers were supposed to be unimaginable.

    So I threw my denial tantrum last month; it still smarts, at least a bit.

    In the end, Trump's supporters don't want a politician; they want a bully. It's kind of like that old saying about how someone might be an asshole, but at least he's our asshole, because when you really, really need an asshole it turns out you have one of the best, most powerfully rancid assholes in the community on your team?

    And it really is like pro wrestling in some ways. I remember, in youth, wondering at the idea that people would cheer on these villains. I might recall the occasion when Randy Savage tried to kill Ricky Steamboat by crushing his throat with the ring bell. Find the people who (A) cheer the spectacular villainy, and (B) believe that sort of thing is real, and you've pretty much nailed the intellect and outlook that adores Donald Trump's candidacy.

    They're the sort of people who aren't smart enough to comprehend the difference between non-conformist and anti-social.

    I mean, I don't know if you remember a period in the nineties when the Levi's advert told people to "be an original" by wearing the same clothes as everyone else. No matter how stupid you or I might find such a proposition, someone, somewhere, had market test data suggesting the campaign would work. One wonders who the survey subjects were.

    And perhaps after all this we ought not be surprised that those who disdained "citizenship" awards in schools and summer camps can only think of the word as an us-vs-them excuse to disdain human rights; or that those who worried about moral relativism being the death of us all turned out to be the forerunners to the current conservative Christian moral relativism; or that those who complained about the feelgood me generation turn out to be the ones running entirely on self-centered, feelgood excuses in lieu of any responsible comprehension of politics, the Constitution, or the virtues of that behavior called citizenship.

    As near as I can tell, the fascination with Trump is, ultimately, incomprehensible, but bears enough markers to suggest that our traditional metrics for calculating political relationships do not properly account for this particular consumer range.
  18. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    I'm appalled T. You forgot the link - some people may think you're exaggerating...

    I found it through this article from vox:

    Which I found surfing from here:

    I cited that one in another thread but it bears reposting, seems to explain the underlying mechanisms, as satisfactorily as such can be explained.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, I remember a time when the entire basis of the Republican rise in the formerly Democratic south - including both Carolinas - was the abandonment of the Democratic Party by white supremacists and their flocking to the Republican Party, where they have been centrally important for thirty or forty years now.

    Attracting them was the deliberate, conscious strategy of the Republican Party. Pandering to them has been the basis of every electoral triumph the Republican Party has enjoyed since.

    Trump is nothing new, extraordinary, or inexplicable. He's something that has been an obvious possibility since Reagan, who was quite similar in significant ways. Once that voting base has been organized and weaponized and trained in on the Party bus, the wheel is sitting there for anyone who can to grab.

    The only mystery is how Trump can be a shock or a surprise to any American. Thirty years of hate radio and Murdoch press and Ailes TV, and people thought what - that these folks were just kidding? That that Confederate flag was ironic, a joke? That Limbaugh wasn't in earnest, his listeners not in actual belief? That booze and meth and military trauma enlightens? That the teenagers in the crowd around the bus where they tried to burn the Freedom Riders alive, now grown men in charge of police forces and hiring decisions and school budgets, grew through some kind of soul-washing change of life and are now saved by grace?

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