Well one of the things that will be really great: You know, the word “experience” is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience, I’ve always said that. But the word “experience” is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before, I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times, all of a sudden I’m president of the United States, you know the story, I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say, “This is great.”But I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like you know an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.
“Thanks for coming,” you’d say to this job applicant. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Through this inarticulate stream of consciousness, there isn’t even the slightest attempt to answer the question: What does Trump want to do with a second term? Does anyone have any idea?
Because the president himself doesn’t appear to, let’s see if we can figure it out for ourselves.
While the president himself may not have much of a clue what he would do in a second term, the ideologues and grifters he has surrounded himself with certainly do. For instance, on the same day Trump held his “town hall” with Hannity, his administration filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to nullify the Affordable Care Act, an action that would snatch health coverage away from 23 million people, strip away everyone’s protections for preexisting conditions and throw the entire American health-care system into chaos. In the midst of a pandemic.
Even if that lawsuit should fail, a second Trump administration would continue to undermine health security, seeking to remove as many people as possible from Medicaid by establishing onerous paperwork requirements, making it more difficult for people to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges, and generally advancing Trump’s vision of a system as cruel and unforgiving as possible, in which people with means have coverage, the middle class lives in a state of constant anxiety and poor people are shown how morally unworthy they are through a vigorous program of suffering and humiliation.
While Trump himself may find that pleasing, he has only the vaguest sense of the details of that agenda, which is designed and executed by the far-right dogmatists whom he installed in government agencies. In a second Trump term, we’d see that play out in department after department: The Environmental Protection Agency promoting more pollution, the Labor Department working to destroy collective bargaining and workers’ rights, the Commerce Department continuing its effort to manipulate the census, and so on.
The Supreme Court could have a 7-to-2 conservative majority at the end of a second Trump term, along with lower courts populated with hundreds more young far-right judges who could serve for decades.
Trump would just as enthusiastically pursue his (and Stephen Miller’s) vision of a re-whitened America, and so much more. Now that we have essentially closed our doors to asylum seekers and refugees, why not simply shut down immigration entirely? Or at least restrict it to a small number of people coming from northern Europe.
And of course, in a second Trump term, the president would be more sure than ever that he could get away with anything. He wouldn’t need to beg foreign governments to help him win reelection, so why not ask them to simply pay him in cash? If China wants a beneficial trade agreement, perhaps they could give him a billion dollars, funneled through a new Trump casino in Macau. Who’s going to stop him?
Certainly not Attorney General William P. Barr, who would no doubt stick around for the entire four years, intervening in every case that involves one of the president’s many criminal friends and associates, and purging the Justice Department of anyone who shows troubling signs of integrity.
One thing a second Trump term would not feature is any real legislating. Republicans would surely try to pass another round of tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations, but that would be difficult if they don’t have complete control of Congress.
And they won’t. If Trump does win in November, it will not be in a landslide election that sweeps Republicans in on his coattails. It will be by a hair — in fact, chances are that if he were to win, it would once again be by squeaking out an electoral college victory while millions more people vote for his opponent. Democrats would hold the House and could win the Senate, if not this year, then in 2022.
The Democrats would continue to investigate him, and he would continue to act as though Congress were inherently illegitimate and had no right to subpoena the administration, demand documents or compel testimony.
America’s influence and image in the world would continue to weaken, making it far more likely that China becomes the world’s preeminent superpower.
Throughout the country, social unrest would likely increase as Americans grow more and more frustrated with Trump’s toxic rule. And of course, he would do everything in his power to exacerbate division and promote hatred, not because he needs to in order to win another election but because it’s just who he is.
His spectacular mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic could result in the deaths of a quarter-million or so of us before the virus is brought under control. And if we’re lucky, there won’t be another crisis of that magnitude for him to screw up just as badly.
Back in 2016, Trump predicted that when he became president, “We’re going to win so much that you’re going to be sick and tired. You’re going to say, ‘Please, please, Mr. President, we’re sick and tired of winning.’”
He was right about one thing: We’re certainly sick and tired. Now just imagine how we’d feel after four more years.
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