Monday, January 16, 2017

Predicting Trump's First Term

It really happened. We elected a man with absolutely no experience into the highest office in our nation. What's going to happen next would be anyone's guess.

If you ask left-leaning folks, Trump will destroy our nation and become the next Hitler.

If you ask right-leaning folks, Trump will work miracles and Make America Great Again (TM).

Before I make my predictions, let me give a quick background about myself so you may understand where I'm coming from. I was raised a Democrat, but turned to Republican when I learned sound economic ideals. However, when it was clear that Trump was to be the Republican representative last January, I had my name removed off the Republican rolls and declared myself as Nonaffiliated. I generally hold to conservative economic ideals, and lean a little left of center on social issues. I almost consider myself now to be Libertarian, but I'm not quite there yet.

Okay. Now the predictions.

Since Trump has no experience, and has been both Democrat and Republican in the past, it's difficult to predict what will happen. The only thing I can predict with certainty is that the next four years will be interesting. Anyhow, I will do my best.

On social issues, I don't think Trump will be as bad as many of my left-leaning friends fear. For starters, Trump has already said that he's not going after gay marriage. I think four years from now, everyone's marriage will continue to be recognized in all 50 states. On the other hand, I wouldn't expect any further advancement in general gay rights. I don't think the LGBT community will lose ground, but I do think there will be a movement to help preserve the religious freedoms of those who do not agree with gay marriage.

Obamacare is as good as dead, but Trump has indicated that Congress will not repeal without a replacement. This will undoubtably be dubbed Trumpcare, thanks to Obama's suggestion. I personally hope they will remove both the mandate (tax) and the requirement for employers to provide/pay. I also expect that they will keep out the preexisting conditions exclusion. Should even one group of people lose coverage with the change that's going to happen, it would kindle so much negative press that I predict that we have nothing to worry about on this topic.

Will true medical expenses decrease? We'll have to wait to see what the replacement is. My overall prediction is that the good parts of Obamacare will remain, and the bad parts will be replaced by things that may or may not work better. There will be at least one aspect that will prove to be disastrous.

We can expect that something will happen in the area of immigration. Undoubtedly, enforcement will be increased. I'm not too opposed to this, but get ready for prices in general to rise when US citizens refuse to work at the low wages illegal aliens are currently working for. I doubt that Trump will get his full wall, but for certain a portion of it will be made more robust. The Border Patrol will work with Trump and educate him on which holes need the most work.

I see no scenario where Mexico outright pays for the wall upgrades. The only way this can happen would be to institute tariffs that get a portion of the money back indirectly.

I fully expect to see H1-B visas become more restricted, if not repealed. Then we will watch good talent leave our country to the benefit of foreign countries.

The chances of a Muslim registry is near zero. I like to remind people that it was a reporter, and not Trump who came up with the idea.

However, there is talk of reviving the House Un-American Activities Committee to help combat Muslim terrorism. I'd put chances of this happening at about 10% in the next four years, and if it happens, our children will have the privilege of watching a real witch hunt. It's been a while since we've had a good one.

Trump has already backed off the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country, though he may push for banning certain countries from entering, similar to what Carter did.

I struggle to find anything Trump has said that can be considered racist toward black people, but I do have a concern that Trump's tendency to promote violence has and may continue to be interpreted as racism. We could see race relations become exacerbated, and see more protests similar to Black Lives Matter. There will be more highway protests and more protests in general.

Will Trump become a full-out Hitler, complete with concentration camps and thought police? I will predict with a confident 99% chance that this will not happen. I see no evidence that Trump is what one may call evil. Rather, I see that his controversial announcements are usually based on ignorance and not being afraid to say what's on his mind. I do predict that Trump will usher in a disaster from his ignorance, but he will be nothing compared to Hitler (or any other dictator for that matter).

Trump will try to silence his opponents, such as certain news outlets, but I predict that he will have zero effect. Oh, he'll successfully get people to condemn specific outlets (Buzzfeed -- you did it to yourselves), but any attempt to remove anyone's first amendment rights will fail. We may witness checks and balances counteracting the ignorance of Trump.

There may be a move to control the Federal Reserve. It's unclear to me exactly how much power Congress has, but I predict that the Fed will remain an independent power no matter what transpires.

I predict that corporations will flourish in the next four years. The stock market has already indicated that Trump is good for business. For the first time in decades, the corporate tax rate will decrease. Hopefully this will be counteracted by a raise in the capital gains tax back to what it was pre-Bush. This will be a move in the right direction, leading to a fairer tax structure. Hopefully it will lead to more employment and higher wages as well.

The part that concerns me the most is the area of foreign relations. Here, I believe we are screwed. Trump has no experience at all in this area, and yet he says that because of his big brain, he knows more about foreign matters than do experts already in the field. He also refuses to attend daily briefings on national security.

Obama has gone eight years without having a single foreign terrorist attack on our soil. (All terrorist attacks during that time have been from US citizens becoming radicalized, or otherwise emotionally disturbed individuals.) With Trump, however, I believe the chances of a foreign attack on our soil increase dramatically, especially after we lose our allies in the war against ISIS. We will see one, if not two attacks.

I am very concerned about Russia. I know Putin is planning something, and I know that he and his country have meddled with our past election, mainly through helping to barrage our social media with fake news articles against Hillary Clinton. Romney was laughed at four years ago when he said Russia was our number one threat, but I think we have yet to see what's in store for us. The election of Trump is a very good outcome for Russia, and it is very likely that Trump will fall into Putin's trap, and we will find ourselves as "allies" in a very undesirable situation. I would give this about two years until we realize too late who we've gotten in bed with.

Finally, I'd like to touch on the idea of unity in our nation. Over the past eight-plus years, I have witnessed the dividing of our country. Even as nice a guy Obama is, he unwittingly helped to further divide the nation with his rhetoric. We are desperately in need of unification of the people. Yes, we are conservatives and liberals who disagree on many topics, but we need help to realize that we're all still Americans. We can work together to find solutions that benefit all people. Obama failed miserably in this effort.

I sincerely believe that Trump has the power and gift to bring people together. He could use his wheeling-and-dealing talents to help both sides get what they want. He could really bring synergy into our government, and stuff can really get done. But will he do it? If his tweets are any indication, then we're in for another rough four years. Perhaps we just need to take away his Twitter account. Either way, the more Trump berates his opponents and does his one-up thing, the more he will push that divide -- and I'm not sure how much more divided our nation can become. It could be the last straw that leads to a civil war of the likes we've never ever seen.

These are my predictions. Hopefully I'll be around four years from now to do a round of backtesting. What do you think will happen?

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