What to Expect in the Next Four Years
Posted on November 11, 2016
It is impossible to make firm predictions about upcoming macropolicy. Trump has promised both sides on a lot of issues, and feels no compunction about contradicting himself from one sentence to the next. Even more more importantly, he apparently has the delusion that business success gives you the skills you need in governing. (Successful business people with zero government experience often catch that form of narcissism.)
Trump also turned out to be successful as a campaigner, another ego-boosting skill completely divorced from governing. The best guess at first blush would be that Pence will turn into a neoChenian man behind the curtain. However that runs up against two problems: first, Pence and Trump kept contradicting each other on the campaign trail; second, Trump loves firing people more than almost anything. (He also love bankrupting and firing companies, and stiffing and firing contractors.) So most likely Trump will keep hiring and firing people, giving them assignments to do policy x, y, or z. Not a recipe for consistency and follow-through.
In addition there is the problem of Congress. The GOP is split between old-style movement conservatives (who mostly hate Trump) with a worked-out ideology, and two generations of new-style crazies. Meanwhile the Dems will do everything they can to pit them against each other. Should get interesting.
At the micro level, however, we are going to see a huge amount of damage, done by the most radical and the most right-wing one-party executive/legislative/judiciary ascendancy in American history. They will impose an immense number of reactionary new regulations, and of repeals of old regulations that worked, and of unfair individual case rulings, and of scary appointments to medium and low office. And they are going to act in a hurry to destroy as much as possible before the public opposition sets in. Look for a lot of new fossil fuel initiatives and a war on environmental regulations and approval of a whole lot of new monopolies.