I. New Buisness: The first 348 days of President Trump.
Just a few weeks ago it seemed very possible that Donald Trump would get through his first year without a single legislative accomplishment. But the Republican partby rallied to cram a large tax cut through during the last legislative day of 2017. Somehow, the biggest win of Donald Trump's insurgent presidency was to codify another decade of Paul Ryanomics. It is a dreadful bill and the consequences of it will be severe. But like any good confidence game, it will take a while for the marks to realize how bad the deal was. In a week or two people will start seeing more in their paychecks, and that will fortify Trump's political position.
The Republican party is the party of Donald Trump. Everyone of them has humiliated themselves to get in line behind this towering buffoon in order to appease the donor class with tax cuts and some deregulation. The political consequences of this will be tremendous, but they too will take time to be felt. For the moment, I have to focus on what the President is doing to the United States.
Earlier this evening he sent a Tweet bragging that his nuclear arsenal is greater than North Korea's. Fifteen minutes later he announced his plans to offer awards for "Fake News" to the media outlets that have covered him critically. Earlier today he Tweeted that the "deep state Department of Justice" was unwilling to prosecute one of his political enemies. And he tried to take credit for the fact that there were no fatal commercial plane crashes during 2017. Yes, really.
The time for analysis and hand-wringing is over. The President is a nutter and all citizens of good conscience will say so, publicly. I do not know how the Mueller investigation will turn out, but I think the world at large has to hope that it ends with Donald Trump leaving the White House. But the more probably outcome is that we are stuck with him for another 3 years and 18 days. If during that time, you have the opportunity to resist this regime, do so. You will never regret it.
II. Old Business: The State of My Predictions About Trump.
This is the last time I'm rehashing these predictions. I'll let my record speak for itself.
1. "The Iran Deal will be torn up."
He deserves SOME credit for not rushing to do this. But he badmouths the deal at every turn and will probably blow it up when things get bad enough for him. For now, I'm happy to be wrong about this.
2. "Antonin Scalia will be replaced by a conservative rather than Merrick Garland." I'm one for two.
3. "ISIS has a new propaganda talking point." Yes, that's literally true but we have to give credit where credit is due: the Islamic State has lost a lot of territory in the past year. They don't have a functioning capital anymore and it's not clear how viable they are going forward. I hope this progress continues but it's premature to say that ISIS won't be soon replaced by something even worse.
4. "It is now the official policy of the United States government that Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by China to disrupt American manufacturing. "
Two for four. The nice thing about this one is that the rest of the world is not putting up with our shit. I hope the rest of the world picks up that slack, but we have to recognize that we won't be able to just saunter back on the world stage and expect to be the world's leading voice on this subject in 2021.
5. "At some point next year the Congress will repeal Obamacare." Six up and half a dozen down here. Full repeal did not happen but the repeal of the individual mandate got slipped into the tax bill. This will have two terrible consequences- a lot of people will lose coverage and Donald Trump will spin it all as a win.
6. "At some point next year the Congress will pass massive tax cuts and the overwhelming majority of these cuts will benefit very wealthy people." I'm not really digging the ones I was right on.
7. "Immigration policy is about to become a lot less thoughtful." This is incredibly true. Of course the Wall remains to be built, but Trump is chipping away at almost every type of immigration and publicly saying he intends to change even popular, formerly non controversial policies like allowing immigrants to sponsor relatives to come here later.
8. "There will be a bunch of dumb protectionist policies put in place. "
He still doesn't know what a fucking trade deficit is.
9. "The implements of the federal government will be used to settle the president's political scores. " Of course.
10. "The new school of political science thought will be personality based." It seems likely that Trump ism will discredit such campaigns for awhile but we're a long way from the end of Trump style politics. If nothing else, it's a way to get ratings.
III. New Business: What's Next for this Blog.
I only wrote three blog posts during all of 2017. Two were about Donald Trump and one was about Better Call Saul. The first year of Trump was just too exhausting and hectic to find the time for pieces longer than a Tweet.
But it's a new year and it's not too soon to start thinking about the end of this foul presidency. The midterm elections will be the big story but as soon as those are over, the 2020 election cycle will begin in earnest. That election will be the focus of my writing in 2018. In my next post, I will lay out the unscientific probabilities of various outcomes in some detail. For now, I will just say that I think Trump will run and will be the GOP nominee. He could win another general election, but for the moment, I think he is more likely to lose.
So I'll close with an endorsement. What I want in the next president is someone mature, intelligent and serious. In fact, a boring president sounds awfully good now. And yes, I want the next president to be a woman. It is well past time and the best way to get over the fact that we decided to elect an admitted serial sexual offender. So here is my thinly researched, semi-sentimental endorsement of my preferred 2020 candidate: I want to vote for Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) because I think she is the person least likely to make we worry about a nuclear war starting from a Twitter beef. On this night, that sound plenty good.