NB: this is similar to how I ended my log of politics 2016 but differs in a few details. I’m divorcing it from Politics simply b/c it is so speculative.
Spinning out speculative fantasies is fun. Here’s a few I came up with in conversations with my friends today about The Event.
Trump’s administration will so screw up things that the mid-terms will see the Dems come roaring back. It will be so bad Trump might be impeached. After four years of a Trump administration, Hillary will come roaring back at age 72 and take the presidency that would have been hers except for Comey.
Within days of the election, markets will react very badly. Instability is the last thing they want and that’s what Trump promises.
The professional class of bureaucrats who are career government officials so despised by the Sarah Palin and Trump crowd with hold things together during the interregnum.
Other institutions of the society will also hold the line and, if gored by Trump, may push back. The military will be foremost since they are not required to obey unlawful orders such as blowing Iranian boats out of the water over a finger. The Bar Association, the AMA, the unions, the Chambers of Commerce, universities, and many other stalwart institutions of our society will hold the line on the bizarre Trump efforts to wreak havoc on society. Giant corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Costco, and hundreds of others will see the dangers of getting rid of the Dept. of Education, the EPA, and many more and will push back. They need healthy, educated workers.
Other countries will react strongly, incl. financial markets first. Diplomatic ties and trade agreements will be in free fall. This will blow up the markets. Businesses will suffer greatly as trade falls off. They may like no regulations but they will soon realize that no regulations means no trade. The neglect of infrastructure will means ports, railroads, and other means of conveying goods to market will make businesses go wild.
If the chaos lasts long enough, well-off states will begin to look to each other for mutual support and figure out ways to abandon the federal government. The first and very difficult thing to do is to divest themselves of federal money. Since the states I have in mind are wealthy enough to generate their own operating expenses, the can wean themselves off the federal teat. Those states are California/Oregon/Washington/Hawaii/ British Columbia in one West Coast grouping; the New England states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina form another chain; the Upper Midwest could even stretch all the way to the East Coast states like Philadelphia. This latter grouping shows some exceptions like parts of New York and Pennsylvania, but on-going drama with Trump will bring them into the fold. The smallest would be Florida aligned with Cuba. These consortia of several states could be viable in my opinion, causing a rift between states like Kentucky and North Carolina, between Virginia and West Virginia, but the economic power of these consortia will override these fractures as wealthy states pull back from their poorly financed brethren.
As the administration ends funding for all sorts of activities, we will see a brain drain over to Asia spots like Hong Kong and India. Globalization produces global citizens. The legal and jurisdictional issues are complex but the best brains will work on them to extricate California from Arizona and North Carolina from South Carolina. That would be a major shift in leverage and assets as these new consortia linked up with other nations facing their coasts. Even the upper Midwest can be reached by ships via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The old nations of Joel Garreau show how these states might align, leaving the federal government to support the poor red states off what I would imagine would be a smaller tax base. The new consortia would not be happy sharing their wealth with people who don’t even want health insurance. Needless to say, we would, at this point, be on the brink of breaking up as a nation.
Or we might find that all the absurd things he said were just to get votes and the real Trump turns out to be tolerable. Since he reversed himself many times in his campaign speeches, who knows what he’ll really do? But the sun set on the British Empire; maybe it’s our turn. The Nighted States of America.
Reading Francis Fukuyama, I find it scarily interesting to see the trajectory of the U.S. in the light of other defunct states. The paralysis of government, the weakening of the middle class, the strengthening of the upper classes into oligarchy with an globalist perspective, and so on. Yet when I look at the country as a whole, not as a hole, I realize that while fly-over country is suffering but still votes (the NYT this morning had an interesting map showing little puddles of Democratic voters encroaching upon the dry-land of GOP voters – up in Flagstaff, they labeled it the Flagstaff Pond or some such). However, these voters are not solid GOP voters but issue voters and if Dems can swing toward them, their votes are up for grabs. That is decisive when you look at the popular vote.
Contrary to Trump’s doom and gloom, the country is very strong, rich, and full of talent and energy; it’s just not to be found in small town and rural America. This is all laid out in Our Kids by Bob Putnam.