Unexpected

A former boss of mine once said that the worst word to find in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis section of a financial report is ‘unexpected’.

It appears that Donald Trump’s victory is the result of peeling off a longstanding part of the Democratic Party coalition and adding it to the existing Republican Party coalition. The Midwestern white working class has shifted into the GOP column.It will probably stay here for quite some time.

Very much will depend on how Trump governs. In business terms, Trump has done so-so with ‘going concerns’ – existing companies on a solid footing, such as the apartment empire he inherited from his father. His hubristic expansions have been the source of his multiple bankruptcies. In this sense, the US is a going concern, and what happens to it depends on what Trump decides to change.

Trump will need to staff his administration and it is not clear today whether the burn-it-down crowd will triumph over the manifest opportunities for self-aggrandizement. Why kill a cabinet position when you can put your friend in charge? Much of the fear on the right has been that Trump has no roots in conservatism, and will be willing to go with the status quo in DC.

For example, will Trump repeal Obamacare? The GOP-controlled Congress has not been able to put even symbolic bills on the President’s desk for veto, so can they do better now? I expect Trump wants something that can be called Trumpcare, and what that will be is anyone’s guess.

Globally, the burden of Trump will fall on the poor if the US retreats from any meaningful action on climate change. It will fall on the already miserable Middle East if Trump tries Bush-era aggression or plays into the culture-war rhetoric of ISIS. It will fall on the people of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact as Putin is given a free hand to reassemble an empire.

Don’t worry is does get worse. The mid-term election is usually a reaction against the President, but 2018 is going to be a hard year for Democrats in the Senate, and no particular hope for swinging a lot of gerrymandered House districts. Trump will have a full four years of a Republican Congress. The only bright spot there is the coming civil war in the House.

Supreme Court? McConnell’s bet pays off. Trump gets at least one pick, Obama’s last one. I expect Harriet Miers quality choices from a man that has reveled in manipulating the legal system his entire life.

Machinists in Waukegan, no soup for you. Your job is not coming back. But is was a convenient thing for a billionaire to say, wasn’t it?

 

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