The Next Four Years

Let’s look a few years down the road. What will the next four years bring us? There’s plenty of room for speculation, but there are a few things we can be quite certain of:

Mr. Trump’s policies will fail spectacularly. From economics to foreign policy to military policy to domestic policy, every expert in the world warned us that Mr. Trump’s ideas simply won’t work and in fact will fail very badly. So we should expect their predictions to be borne out in most areas, especially with the economy.

Some people have engaged in the wishful thinking that, somehow, responsible Republicans will dissuade Mr. Trump from his worst follies and put a lid on the damages. But look at what we have seen so far: Mr. Trump has completely ignored all pretence of compromise and selected the most radical cabinet in American history. Some of these people are even more rabid than Mr. Trump. No, this is a clear case of “What you saw during the campaign is what you’ll get when he’s President.”

Mr. Trump never, ever, accepts the slightest iota of blame for anything that goes wrong. He has declared that he has never made a significant mistake, that he has won every confrontation and overcome every obstacle. According to Mr. Trump, he is incapable of failure.

If we combine #1 with #2, we conclude that Mr. Trump will refuse to accept blame for his failures. How will he react? We already know the answer to that question: whenever he is prevented from achieving his goals, he blames it on unfair behavior by others. He made it clear that, if he lost the election, it could only be because it was rigged. Losing the election, according to Mr. Trump, was possible only if he was cheated of his rightful victory.

So whom will Mr. Trump blame for his failures? Again, that’s a foregone conclusion: he’ll blame his opponents. He’ll cite the intense criticism emanating from the left as evidence of their evil intentions, and declare that they must have sabotaged his programs with secret machinations.

But he won’t merely blame liberals for his failures: he’ll assert that they foiled his efforts through criminal activities, and launch a program to prove it. His efforts will mirror the efforts of Senator McCarthy during the Second Red Scare, only Mr. Trump will go much further than Mr. McCarthy, because he wields vastly greater power and will be absolutely committed to “rooting out the evil in our society”.

At this point, we have reached the limits of certainty because the next stage depends on the actions of others. Republican Congresspeople will finally face the harsh choice between impeaching Mr. Trump and acquiescing to his behavior. If they acquiesce, then Mr. Trump will take us down the road to fascist tyranny. His primary target will be the intelligentsia of this country; they have been the source of opposition to his policies and are regarded with the deepest animus by Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters.

Indeed, Mr. Trump need not pursue official actions against the intelligentsia; he could accomplish the same thing by encouraging his supporters to take matters into their own hands. A wave of murders, arson, and bombings will serve just as well to drive his opponents underground.

I don’t know which of these outcomes will ensue. But I am quite certain of points 1 through 5.