© Josh Sager – November 2016
Due to the length of this article, I have split it into 2 parts. The 2nd part will be released tomorrow.
President Donald Trump will preside over undivided Republican government for the first several years of his presidency. While the Democrats retain enough seats in the Senate to sustain a filibuster, there is a very real danger that the Republicans will simply eliminate the filibuster (the “nuclear option”) and deprive Democrats of any tools to stop their agenda. If this happens, it will completely clear the field for Republicans to implement any policy platform that they desire.
Put simply, this is a disaster that cannot be sugar-coated or mitigated. The impacts of this election will remain with the American people for decades and very well may cause irreparable damage to our economy, the environment, and the wellbeing of millions of Americans.
Trump is unstable, ignorant, and unprincipled, so it is very hard to predict what he will do several years into the future (e.g. 3 years ago, Trump was friends with the Clintons), but there are numerous consequences of his presidency that are almost certain to occur—they are either set in stone due to the powers granted by the presidency or long term Republican priorities that Trump will simply have to sign into law.
The following is a list of twelve of these consequences that the American public will almost certainly have to deal with during the Trump presidency:
- Trump’s Potential Cabinet is Filled with Extremists and Incompetents
- Trump’s Choices will Shape the Supreme Court for a Generation
- Millions of Americans will Lose Access to Affordable Healthcare
- Medicare and Medicaid will be Destroyed
- Trump will Control the NSA’s Spy Programs
- Trump will Control the US’s Detention and Assassination Programs
- Climate Change will be Worsened, Not Addressed
- Trump will Build a Border Wall and Detain Undocumented Immigrants
- Taxes on the Wealthy will Decrease while the Poor will Pay More
- Trump will Deregulate the Banks and Big Business
- Public Schools will be Chartered or Privatized/Voucherized
- Abortion will be Restricted and Women’s Health Defunded
Needless to say, the American people are in for some very dark days ahead. In the following article, I give more details on each of these consequences and the real impacts they may have on the American people.
1) Trump’s Potential Cabinet is Filled with Extremists and Incompetents
The president is the most powerful executive in the nation, but he is not expected to manage the activities of each federal agency—that job falls down to his cabinet and the high level executives in each agency. As such, the qualities of the president’s cabinet are extremely indicative of how the federal government is going to handle issues while he is in office.
Unfortunately, the list of potential cabinet secretaries released by the Trump transition team is filled with extremists, know-nothings, partisan shills, and downright absurd people.
There are several positions that have already been filled: Trump has picked Reince Priebus—the chairman of the RNC—as his Chief of Staff and Steve Bannon—the head of Breitbart news and a white nationalist—as his Senior Advisor. Additionally, he has picked Myron Eball—a climate change denier—as the new Environmental Protection Agency head and Jose Rodriguez—a neo-con who helped set up the Bush torture program and destroy evidence of what it did—as the next head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Our next Secretary of State could be John Bolton (an extreme neo-con who wants to dissolve the UN), Newt Gingrich, or Bob Corker (a favorite of the military industrial complex).
Our next Secretary of Defense could be Kelly Ayotte (extremely hawkish and has taken million from the defense industry), General Flynn, Stephen Hadley (Bush’s national security advisor), or even Jeff Sessions (an anti-immigrant extremist with a history of supporting the KKK).
Our next Attorney General could be Chris Christie (assuming he isn’t indicted for corruption), Rudy Giuliani (noun a verb and 9/11), or Jeff Sessions.
Our next Interior Secretary could be Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, or one of several oil/gas CEOs.
Our next Health and Human Services Secretary is going to be Ben Carson (anti-vaxxer and general lunatic), Mike Huckabee (young earth science denier and hawker of fake medications via infomercials), Bobby Jindal, or Rick Scott (whose company pled guilty to the largest Medicare fraud in history).
Our next Education Secretary is going to be either Ben Carson or Williamson Evers (a pro-privatization neoliberal).
Our next National Security Secretary could be Joe Arpaio (ex-AZ sheriff who is openly racist and refused to investigate over 400 rapes of Hispanic women), David Clarke (current-sheriff whose department just deprived an inmate of water until he died) or Jeff Sessions.
This is just a partial list of positions, but it makes the overall picture pretty clear. The upper levels of our executive branch is soon to be infested with deplorables, idiots, racists, and extremists. The impacts of this are hard to predict, but none of the outcomes are good, and the USA will have to deal with these situations as they come.
2) Trump’s Choices will Shape the Supreme Court for a Generation
Currently, there is an open seat on the Supreme Court that Trump will almost certainly have to fill (the odds of Obama getting Garland through the lame duck are basically zero). Additionally, Justice Breyer is 78 years old, Justice Kennedy is 80 years old, and Justice Ginsberg is 83 years old. While our lifetimes are dramatically longer than they once were, it is hard to imagine all three of these justices lasting 4 more years on the court.
Just to make matters worse, Breyer and Ginsberg are two of the four liberal justices and Kennedy has typically been the swing vote in 5-4 cases, thus Trump’s replacement of any of these justices would tip the balance of the court to a decidedly conservative direction.
Trump has released a list of potential SCOTUS justices that looks like the dream list for conservatives. At best, a Trump justice is economically conservative and ambivalent on social issues; at worst, his pick will be an economic conservative who also tries to end religious protections, abortion rights (e.g. reversing Roe v. Wade), LGBT rights (although gay marriage is likely safe), and voting rights protections.
3) Millions of Americans will Lose Access to Affordable Healthcare
Donald Trump and the GOP legislators in Washington are going to make it a very high priority to either eliminate or cripple the Affordable Care Act—they will either fully repeal the law or eliminate most of the provisions that make it effective and leaving it to fall apart under its own weight. If Obamacare is eliminated, over 20 million Americans would lose their health insurance, Americans with preexisting conditions would become uninsurable again, federal subsidies for families would disappear, and children under the age of 26 would lose the ability to stay on their parent’s plans.
To replace Obamacare, the GOP would pass a law that eliminates state insurance lines (letting insurers relocate to the state with the least regulation), incentivizes health saving accounts (only beneficial for people with disposable income and no serious illnesses), reduces regulations on drugs (unsafe to consumers), and increases price transparency (which doesn’t help people who are sick and actually need care).
4) Medicare and Medicaid will be Destroyed
Trump and the congressional GOP leadership will partially or fully privatize Medicare. Put simply, they will transform Medicare from a benefits program to a voucher system that subsidizes elderly Americans to get private insurance. Assuming that elderly people would be able to find care under this system, it would be more expensive, provide fewer benefits, and the only people to benefit would be the wealthy people who receive a subsidy they don’t need. This would harm millions of future retirees (assuming that the GOP doesn’t change current benefits and grandfathers in people over a certain age) and deprive them of the safety net that elderly Americans have relied on for decades.
The Medicaid program would be transformed into a block grant that lets state governments decide how to allocate funds. While liberal states may allocate these funds fairly, some conservatives states will may use these federal funds to pay for other things—like to make up for lost revenue due to corporate tax cuts—while leaving a pittance for caring for those in poverty. Additionally, block grants wouldn’t make up the full funding stream to provide for care, shifting burdens back to the states or forcing significant care cuts.
5) Trump will Control the NSA’s Spy Programs
Our National Security Agency (NSA) collects information on every phone call made in the USA, spies on online activities, and likely has numerous intelligence programs that we simply don’t know about, yet which collect large amounts of data about our lives.
As president, Trump would appoint the leadership of the national security apparatus and have control over the direction of these programs. He could use the NSA to spy on his political and business adversaries or simply to collect damaging information on the people who he dislikes. Given Trump’s history of petty grudges, specious lawsuits, and general irresponsibility, it is unimaginable that he will handle this type of power responsibly.
6) Trump will Control the US’s Detention and Assassination Programs
The military operates armed drones that are used to assassinate people across the world, oftentimes on secret information that is never brought in front of a court. In some cases, we have assassinated people without knowing who they are and based entirely upon suspicious behavior (e.g. killing people exercising in Yemen because they might be part of a terrorist training camp). Trump supports expanding these programs and even using them to murder the families of suspected terrorists to make a point.
The CIA and military detain and interrogate numerous individuals who are suspected of terrorism. Trump has repeatedly supported the use of rendition without due process (basically kidnapping and detaining people in secret prisons) and will order our military to torture detained accused of terrorism.
By returning to the unethical conduct of the Bush Administration, Trump will further destroy our moral standing as a nation, give our enemies propaganda tools to use against us, alienate our allies, and undermine the ideals spelled out in the Constitution. While these programs typically target foreign nationals, Trump has supported using them against Muslims in the USA who are accused of terrorism and the NDAA passed under Obama may give him the legal backing to actually detain Americans.