Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trump has won

3 Tweets with my thoughts early this morning (9 Nov):
(6:20) what will Trump do .. ? (BBC WS).
1 thought: Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) for #US_president 2020?
Suddenly the #EU is the last best hope for democracy in the world.

To expand on these thoughts.

(6:20 GMT) what will Trump do .. ? (BBC WS).
First, the obvious, Trump was winning: a few seconds from the radio was enough to establish this. But the question - how many of his campaign promises will, or can, be put into effect - will take a lot longer to be answered (here is the difficulty for his opponents: how do you criticise him for not keeping his promises, when so many of his promises are so hateful or crazy?)

When he spoke shortly after winning, he sounded like any other candidate: "I've just received a call from Secretary Clinton .. ". (Markets had fallen, in the far East, but the tone of this speech caused them to stabilize.) So, the 1st promise, on Hillary Clinton, "lock her up", having achieved its aim, could well be abandoned. 

Somehow it was established in the minds of people that Clinton was dishonest.  However, one study found that around 70% of Trump's statements could be categorised in a range from somewhat inaccurate to "pants on fire". For Clinton, it was 27% (BBC WS, Weekend, 6.11). Trump's lies are so blatant (for example, his claim that he opposed the 2003 war in Iraq is, I think, provably false) but not so obvious to nearly half the population. (1).

1 thought: Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) for #US_president 2020?
Clearly, Americans did not want another Clinton as president, any more than they wanted another Bush. One priority for the Democratic Party is to find a convincing candidate for the 2020 election. A year ago there was a lot of talk about Elizabeth Warren as a more radical alternative to Hillary. Presumably she decided not to stand, and attention switched to Bernie Sanders. Many will doubtless now say, “If only we had picked Bernie, we would have won.” But to my my mind, thinking that choosing someone who until about 3 years ago was not even a Democrat but styled himself as an Independent Socialist would have been better is an illusion (but there again, Trump was not a Republican until about 3 years ago).

Before that there are congressional elections in 2018, where the Democrats could maybe flip the Senate. This is important for reasons that we shall see.

One thing that looks likely to happen is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, healthcare). (I just heard (19:20) someone say that Trump does not have super-majority in Senate, 60%, but he doesn't need it: the Senate won't need to overturn a presidential veto. I'm not that much of an expert on the US constitution, but it's hard to see how a Democrat minority could block, say, the repeal of the ACA.) (2).

Then, Trump will be able to appoint Supreme Court judges, at least one, to replace Antonin Scalia, where the Republicans unjustly refused to even consider Obama's nominee. Their gamble paid off here, but a Democrat-controlled Senate could well act in the same way. Further vacancies are likely to arise, but dependent on the result of future elections, Trump's window for appointments could be limited to around 3 years (Scalia died in February 2016, 11 months before President Obama is due to leave office). This has implications for issues like the right to abortion.

(1) For a dispassionate analysis of "those damn e-mails" of Hillary's, see Matthew Yglesias (via Jeff Weintraub).  

(2) Slavoj Žižek (via Jeff Weintraub again):
 “He said he will not totally dismantle universal healthcare, raise the minimum wage, and so on.” .. The example of this, he returns to time and again, being the introduction of universal healthcare in the US – an achievement worthy of the highest praise for Obama and countless thousands of Americans who worked to realise it over decades, ..
But even if you only partially dismantle universal healthcare, it's no longer universal. Trump managed to get away with not providing any details of the "something better" he would replace "Obamacare" with and still get elected.

To be continued.

Published 12 Nov 2016. Two of the issues I discussed seem to be developing in diametrically opposite ways to how I thought (Hillary Clinton and the ACA). The only thing we have learned for certain in the last few days is that nothing is predictable.