If the title of this blog post were longer, I'd add "...and I'm almost certainly wrong."
Nonetheless, my political-junkie side wants to make some predictions about Donald Trump's presidency. If nothing else, four years from now this post will be proof that the future always holds unpredictable surprises, and pundits who claim to be able to foretell political happenings are just talking crap.
So... here's my particular brand of crap.
(1) There's a good chance Trump won't be president for his full term. My wife is particularly confident about this, so if this prediction is wrong, I'll blame her. She thinks that Trump's ego won't be able to handle the vicissitudes of the presidency, where criticism is almost non-stop -- even if a president is doing a good job, which almost certainly Trump won't be. So we'll be getting President Pence.
(2) Trump isn't going to accomplish most of what he promised. I just ran across a Silicon Valley "Track Trump" dashboard, where his campaign promises for the first 100 days of his presidency will be tracked to see if they actually happen. I bet most won't. Not in 100 days, and not ever. Reality is going to bite Trump in his big-talk butt.
(3) The Affordable Care Act will be altered, yet survive. On the reality-biting front, I'm (perhaps unduly) confident that Republicans won't trash Obamacare like they've been promising for many years. Aspects of it, like prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, are both highly popular and actuarily dependent on not-so-little details like requiring everybody to be insured (or almost everybody).
(4) So I can see Trumpcare as being closely akin to Obamacare. Unless Republicans want to own 20 million or so people kicked off of Affordable Care Act coverage, and heartbreaking media reports of resulting deaths, they'll keep the core of Obamacare. It'll then be known as Trumpcare, so Trump can claim he did the "repeal and replace" thing. Since Senate Democrats will filibuster any unacceptable replacement, fixes to Obamacare are the most likely result.
(5) Foreign policy will be a disaster. Because the Constitution gives so much power to conduct foreign affairs to the president, this is where Trump can screw things up the most on his own. Early on I suspect Trump will be tested by China, North Korea, or Russia. He'll respond poorly. Hopefully this won't lead to nuclear war, or this post will be irrelevant four years from now.
(6) Scandals will rock the Trump administration. It's hard to see how this won't happen. Trump himself is a walking Scandal Machine. Many of his top appointees are cocky, rich, and used to doing what they want. If investigative journalists do their job, a big "if," the next four years could make Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton look like presidential scandal amateurs.
(7) Existing trade agreements like NAFTA won't be changed much. Along with pressure to keep the Affordable Care Act's benefits mostly unaltered, so will big business lobby mostly behind the scenes to preserve international trade deals. Trump's fantasy to bring back high-paying manufacturing jobs to this country will remain just that, a fantasy. To save face he'll get a few modifications made to NAFTA and other trade agreements, but they'll continue on pretty much the same.
(8) Few undocumented immigrants will be deported. Trump will continue Obama's fairly aggressive deportation policies and take credit for doing what already is being done. He isn't going to round up millions of people and kick them out of the country. Even more unlikely is Trump doing away with the DACA program. He'll build some fencing, but not a wall. And Mexico won't pay for it.
(9) The United States will remain in the Paris climate change agreement. Through executive actions and a compliant Congress, Trump will be able to eliminate some of what the United States currently is doing to reduce carbon emissions. But I don't see him withdrawing from the international climate change agreement. This would be a P.R. nightmare for our country and encourage various sorts of international retaliation, boycotts, and such.
(10) Trump will do a few good things. Here and there, maybe almost by accident, the Trump administration will have some positive accomplishments. Like getting pharmaceutical prices down, simplifying the Byzantine tax code, and possibly getting a massive infrastructure spending bill through Congress.
(I wanted to end on a positive note, but the cynical side of me is also thinking, Trump could find a way to screw these things up also. For example, by making the infrastructure bill centered on encouraging private investment such as toll roads, a plan that has been bandied about.)