In Vox, Matt Yglesias argues that the media has spent very little time assessing the impact of Donald Trump’s policies. He convincingly lays out the case that this is a major failing because candidates tend to at least attempt to follow through on their election promises. Additionally, if Trump wins, he will almost certainly have Republican majorities in the House and Senate to enact his agenda without opposition and with little need for compromise.
Trump has made a number of promises that are too vague or absurd to assess at this point. However, there are areas where his campaign has made specific promises. A number of these proposals have the support of congressional Republicans and, therefore, are likely to be enacted if Trump wins. The effects of these polices, as Yglesias details, would be:
Millions would be forcibly removed from their homes and communities as new resources and a new mission invigorate the pace of deportations. Taxes would drop sharply for the richest Americans while rising for many middle–class families. Millions of low–income Americans would lose their health insurance, while America’s banks would enjoy the repeal of regulations enacted in the wake of the financial crisis. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would end, likely collapsing global efforts to restrain emissions, greatly increasing the pace of warming.
I would add that Trump almost certainly will:
- Limit or abandon America’s role in checking the expansion of Russian influence in Europe;
- Appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice who will be willing to reverse the Court’s decisions on marriage equality and abortion-rights;
- Prevent legislation implementing even modest gun control measures and would scale back existing measures; and,
- Prevent the passage and implementation of protections against discrimination for LGBT individuals.
To be honest, the above is essentially the best-case scenario for the first two years of a Trump presidency and that is what is most frightening. While these policies have their supporters, they are all individually, and certainly as a whole, largely out of line with the wishes of the majority of the country. If enacted, this agenda would lurch the country to the far right and, amazingly, would overturn the signature accomplishments of a poplar outgoing President.
Even after removing Trump’s most absurd policies, his racism, sexism, and and authoritarian tendencies, it is clear Trump would radically disrupt the arc of progress. What is frightening is that these policies would fundamentally change the country and they have barely been discussed in a campaign that has jumped from scandal to scandal. To a certain degree, this is understandable because Trump has been such an unusually inflammatory presence. Yet, it is telling, that even the best version of him would create a version of country most Americans do not want.