Us, Anti-Trump-ers, stopped thinking too; time to start again.
Proving like with Brexit that the electorate splits between those who can foresee the consequences and those who cannot, too many Americans stormed behind Trump not thinking about the mendacities, value-trampling, contradictions and false hopes of his demagoguery. Us, anti-Trump-ers, did not think either, me included, by not reading the tea leaves of the little red flags when they came up.
We discounted that “putting a lot of coal mines out of business” and “deplorables” was just as damaging a soundbite to the other side as misogyny and anti-minorities was to our side. I discounted the primary debates as Jeb Bush being too patrician and polite to effectively counter the bully Trump. I reckoned that Ted Cruz was the respectable face of Trump and therefore more scary; besides, Trump would unravel on his personality. I recognized that Clinton was a very fallible candidate – for which a liberal friend called me to be ‘living in cloud-cuckoo land’ – so “Yes”, I thought, “Trump will implode on his vulgarity.” I noted, seeing a live feed of Trump’s rally in Lakeland FL, how people can be attracted to the powerful imagery of a billionaire’s ‘own’ plane in red, white & blue with patriotic music and a promise to ‘Make America Great Again’: it is the imagery of billionaire Bruce Wayne saving Gotham or Tony Stark being Iron Man. I wondered, why, with all the organization, all the support from the Obamas, pop-stars, Hollywood and all the fundraising, Clinton was not further ahead in the polls against essentially a one-man show without ground troops. I thought, to paraphrase Warren Buffett, that the polls were ‘precisely right’ and ignored that they could be ‘approximately right’ with the margins of error all going just Trump’s way.
So, it is time to start thinking or ‘Make the World Think Again’ and draw big conclusions from little red flags in the last few days. To name a few:
It is highly unlikely that Trump is going to change persona due to the ‘weight of the office’. The upshot will be a far less communicative White House. Interpreting it will be more like Kremlin watching.
Obamacare will morph into a very expensive behemoth. No way that the ‘candidate of those forgotten’ is going to tell the 20 million sicker and older insured that he is cancelling their coverage. He is going to make it cheaper for them and more expensive for the taxpayer.
The huge infrastructure spending is going to happen. It is easy and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has already said ‘Sign me on.’
Increasing tariffs on steel by 45% is not going to happen. Instead any means to suck out demand for imported steel will be explored. The Teamsters’ old slogan ‘Buy America’ might get teeth, certainly in the infrastructure spending and too bad that it will be more expensive. If the particular steel is not made domestically, tough, the producers will have to find a way. As a concession, environmental regulation on steel producers will be lifted and brought down to the lowest common denominator globally.
With huge fiscal easing in the US, globally ‘austerity’ will be passé, quantitative easing out of fashion and fiscal stimulation will be the flavour du jour.
The rhetoric for fiscal expansion will gather pace quickly in most if not all EU countries and for no other reason than to ward off the Geert Wilders, Alternativ fur Deutschland and Marine LePen.
Hold your hat!
London 12 November 2016