Donald J. Trump’s Next Four Years

For those who know me, don’t be angry. For those who do not, let me explain.
Spoiler: When the economy is good, the incumbent president stays in power.
I am a Democrat, and probably the worst kind: I believe the upper-middle class and rich should pay more taxes to support those who have less. I believe in universal healthcare with an emphasis on our youth, our seniors and our lower socioeconomic fellow Americans. I promote tax-supported higher education – academic, experiential and vocational – for those who want and need to excel, at the expense of those with the most resources. I believe in regulating everything that focuses on advancing safety for all and preserves/heals the environment for all life on the planet. I believe in diversity, especially of immigrants, “those huddled masses yearning to breathe free” as the future for America and hope for the human species. Yes, I’m a Democrat: tax and regulate.
Why am I a Democrat? I was poor, food-insecure, depressed and very angry for the first twenty-five years of my life, and if it wasn’t for the kindness of others, sound friendships and social support systems, I might have been one of many statistics in the 1980’s and 1990’s of “men of color violently killed.” As time progressed – working to help those who suffer from mental illness of all kinds, getting married and having children, accumulating wealth and property, gaining improved socioeconomic status and mental health – I learned a lot about people and myself to see we are not linear and rather are more in-depth and multidimensional. People are complicated.
While I am still a staunch Democrat, I do believe in the “invisible hand” of capitalism. I think it can breed competition and innovation. I believe in freedom of speech to the point where I will listen to those I fundamentally disagree with on all levels because they have that same right. I believe in the free market, the principles of compound average growth, and those who save wealth for their senior years and their children. I firmly believe in the Second Amendment and am suspicious when government wants to curtail that freedom. I recognize state autonomy and the federal government’s need to tax for national security and safety, but never at the expense of individual rights. I believe you need to be self-reliant and not depend on the government. This is classic “republican” thinking.
So why the prologue? Why do I think our president will get another term? Two reasons: people like him, and he preserves their self-interest.
Why do people like him? I have no clue. I cannot stand him. His very existence is an affront to everything I believe in. He is the perfect example of Dunning-Kruger effect: he really believes he is intellectually superior to everyone and that he stands alone in moral character, and he is incompetent to see that he has neither. If he didn’t affect so many lives and had access to nuclear weapons, I would think of him as that uncle or aunt we all have that needs to be watched at all family functions, but is harmless, for the most part. Again, that’s my opinion, with respect. But let me speculate on why he is liked and why people want him in office.
For better or for worse, he pulls for those who felt disenfranchised, angry and left behind after the 2008 Great Recession and prior to the 2016 election. Many people wanted someone they could identify with. They wanted someone who was not an insider, someone who promised to “drain the swamp,” “turn things around,” “shake things up,” and “Make America Great Again.” They wanted someone who was easy to understand, spoke clearly, not “politically correct,” no matter how blunt, even vulgar, if necessary. Someone who made politics, immigration, diversity, racism, climate change and all the really complicated issues “simple” and easy to fix. They wanted someone who could give quick solutions and not be bothered with legislative and judicial powers, international laws and human rights.
And for those who wanted all of this, they got everything from the 45th President except draining the swamp. Apparently, the press, Democrats and Independents kept this from happening, making sure democracy didn’t die in darkness. But this is all theater. The real danger is self-interest; this is the thing that will keep Donald J. Trump in power for another four years.
Donald J. Trump will make sure those with money will make more money. Those who are rich will remain so, while the top 1% will keep 90% of the US wealth to themselves and the 42% of Americans who have 401k plans will see some growth. He will do this by de-regulation of business and industry at the expense of climate change. He will maintain the status quo for those above upper-middle class while limiting those who access social supports. He will reduce, and possibly eliminate all services – education, health, social and welfare supports – to ensure no one has access to these systems. He has already and will continue to put judges in place everywhere that support more conservative, religiously fundamental, and patriarchal views for years to come. He will promote xenophobic fear, isolationism and racist wounds. He will sell that as “peace in our time.”
He will have help in doing all this. Republican legislative members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will uphold these same interests of the president and their own constituents. Those invested in the President’s agenda – Oliver North, Vladimir Putin, David Duke – may not be “first choice” to be recognized as supporters, but they do promote the 45th President’s values, agenda, goals and means. And sadly, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court may support these self-interests as the law of the land for decades.
Finally, we live in a world of certain certainties – when the economy is strong, presidents in power are not swapped out. Self-interests find like-minded people.
So, what can we do about this election? Listen and talk respectfully to those who disagree. Build alliances and the means to communicate with those who differ from you. Build on similarities, recognize differences and support the dignity of others. Remember that differences of opinions is free speech and ideas, not a declaration of war. Finally, campaign and vote.
If I am wrong, I will delete this article and go back to writing science fiction. If I am right, I’ll re-post Therapy, Dystopia and How to Get Through a Trump Presidency, and you will find me at work, the shooting range, in the gym hitting the heavy bag and lifting weights, and quietly listening to Nessun Dorma.