Hopes & Fears in the Time of Trump

Me in France 3So, the impossible happened. It is not only socially liberal society that imagined Donald was unelectable, it is also Donald himself. How many times did he say that the system was rigged against him? It could be argued that by winning he proved the system isn’t rigged, so he no longer needs to govern. But let’s assume he will. How is this going to work out? Let’s consider some hopes and fears.

The big hope is the one reflected in yesterday’s markets. Trump has a chance to break decades of political deadlock. He ran as a Republican, but without their help. He owes them nothing, rather they owe him. At the same time, he is not exactly a right-wing conservative. Previously he supported Hillary, donated to her campaigns and said she’d make a great president.

This man hijacked the highly conservative GOP, now he could bend it to his will and pursue a centrist policy. Even going back to Bill Clinton, it’s been near impossible for centrists to get anything done.
This is far from clear, the likes of Newt Gingrich have firmly attached themselves to his cause, and will try to shepherd in some right-wing objectives. But, this is the main hope right now.

The fear? Frankly, Trump can’t do most of the ludicrous things he proposed to do during the campaign. But, of course he might try, and there are a few that need to be knocked on the head as firmly as the idea of locking up Hillary was dismissed in his victory speech:

Trump needs to affirm support for NATO and particularly the Baltics. The risk if he doesn’t is that the western alliance unravels and this would harm the entire world.

Probability of a good outcome? Good. Trump surely understands that Russia’s objectives conflict with the West’s. Russia is reported to be delighted about Trump’s win, but likely will be quickly disappointed. Not only has the US already closed ranks politically around its president elect, but Trump doesn’t have the responsibility of healing the relationship between the US and the world, as was necessary after the Bush years. He can take a much firmer hand over global issues. (Yes, this is a concern in itself.)

The other major concern is the planet we live on. Trump has described global warming as a Chinese hoax. Let’s hope he’s a great politician who says the opposite of what he believes, as seems to be the case in other areas. Fingers crossed here, because global warming was running out of control even when Obama and China worked together on it. The last thing we need is a US president unpicking these efforts.

Notably, even Bush seemed to come around to global warming in the end, perhaps the civil service will have a chance to educate Trump before he does anything stupid.

Other concerns are myriad, of course. Not least the announcements that he would unwind the Dodd Frank regulations. Really, the affects of the financial crisis are still reverberating around the world. And the threat to dump the Affordable Care Act. Fix Dodd Frank and healthcare don’t throw them out.

And of course there are all the causes and people he offended and abused during the campaign. Let us just hope that he brings the nation together in an inclusive manner! And at least let’s give him a chance.