An Optimist’s Outlook

I WAS AS TRAUMATIZED as anyone by the election of Donald J. Trump. Maybe more so, considering I cast my first vote for John F. Kennedy and have lived through the 60 years of humanitarian progress America has made as a nation. I abhor the thought of such progress being reversed.

However, I don’t think that will happen.

Let me recall an interview I had years ago with another tycoon who’d considered running for president. In it, former Chrysler Corporation CEO Lee Iacocca told me Richard Nixon had encouraged him to run. “But then I talked to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and Tip said I’d go nuts in the job — I wouldn’t be able to do anything and would be bored out of my mind. So I passed on it.”

My prediction is that Donald Trump will become bored as our president because he won’t be able to do anything. Remember, our nation is a republic, not a corporation.

To me, Trump is not a Republican or a Democrat; he’s neither a conservative nor a liberal. He’s a wild conglomerate. In a postelection statement, he smilingly told Time magazine, “What amazes a lot of people is that I’m here in a penthouse the likes of which nobody’s ever seen. And yet I represent the workers of the world.” That sounds like a rich communist to me. And America’s working class did elect Donald Trump. And he is not your standard Republican.

While campaigning, Trump proposed an infrastructure-rebuilding program that would add an estimated $1 trillion to America’s $19 trillion national debt; he also talked of renegotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA, two trade agreements that passed Congress with considerable Republican support; and regarding Social Security, in the president-elect’s own words: “The Republicans want to cut it, and cut it very substantially — and I’m not going to do that.”

Many Republicans — Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham foremost among them — did not endorse his candidacy and, for numerous reasons, have a deep antipathy toward a President Trump.

So my admittedly optimistic vision is that in today’s Age of Disruption, America’s political parties will be, over time, disrupted.

Not only will McCain and Graham oppose Trump at the slightest provocation, but look for progressive Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Illinois) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) to align with their moderate Democratic counterparts Charles Schumer (New York), Richard Durbin (Illinois) and Dianne Feinstein (California) to, there’s no better way to say it, trump Trump. Meanwhile the House is already showing signs of splitting along pro- or con-Trump lines.

Another reason Trump will be thwarted is that, with or without Congress, he simply can’t deliver. Coal isn’t coming back; renewable energy has become too cheap; most manufacturing jobs aren’t returning, as technology and robotics have taken their places; and a wall along the Mexican border won’t be built — it would be ineffective and inordinately costly.

For the foreseeable future, ours will be the divided, not the United, States of America. And that divide will be not between Republicans and Democrats, nor even conservatives and liberals, but between the factions that elected Donald Trump and those who opposed him. And, given time, Congress will align itself along these opposites. Hopefully, the more educated and informed America will prevail. Keep in mind, November’s presidential election was not conclusive: Trump won in the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote.

Because of all of the above, I see the Trump presidency being four years of stalemate, not four years of radical activism or utter chaos. That’s my point of view. What’s yours?”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Marin Magazine and its staff.