The Political Fun Will Continue in 2017

LaVarr WebbThe year 2016, which featured one of the most unpredictable and tumultuous elections in U.S. history, is almost over. I’ve been watching politics for some 45 years, and I’ve never witnessed anything quite as remarkable as the 2016 presidential election.

But, hang on to your hat, because 2017 is going to be just as rowdy, turbulent, and unpredictable. No one really knows what the country and the world will be like under the presidency of Donald Trump, but we know one thing – it will be much different.

The transition from the cool, cerebral, very liberal Barack Obama to the brash, spontaneous, conservative (we think) Donald Trump is going to be dramatic.

It could turn out great. It could turn out to be disastrous.

Here are some questions that will keep 2017 very interesting:

  • Will the weight of the office cause Trump to change his impulsive, volatile style? It doesn’t appear so. He continues to tweet inexplicably, criticize freely, and make astonishing comments. His style is to keep everyone off guard. Will it be an effective technique to run the country, deal with Congress and conduct foreign affairs? Time will tell.
  • Will Trump continue to fight with the news media as a deliberate strategy? It appears he will. It works for him. The news media don’t have high approval ratings, so he has little to lose. Ironically, his scorn of the news media is mutually beneficial. The high interest in his campaign was good for the traditional news media, and his presidency will be as well. Even with the rise of social media and Trump’s use of Twitter, the traditional news media still do most of the good journalism and people are reading and watching.
  • Will Trump disentangle himself from his businesses interests, or will that be an issue that follows him through his administration? 
  • What roles will his children and son-in-law play?
  • Will his conservative cabinet nominees attempt to remake the federal government? And will they be successful?
  • Will Trump work effectively with Congress, or will that relationship quickly turn sour as Trump attempts to exert his will?
  • Will Trump and Congress overreach and get ahead of voters as they attempt to dismantle government and implement conservative policies? That’s what Democrats did, only in reverse, in the early years of the Obama administration. They pushed liberal legislation and policies that made voters very uncomfortable, and they paid the price in the mid-term elections. 
  • Will Trump and Congress dramatically expand the national debt if they cut taxes and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure? Will they overheat the economy and drive up inflation and interest rates?
  • And, of course, there are the numerous promises Trump made during the campaign, like building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, prosecuting Hillary Clinton, banning Muslims from entering the country, imposing tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods, ripping up trade agreements, repealing Obamacare, renegotiating the Iran deal, and so forth. Will he conveniently forget most of those promises, or try to fulfill them?

It’s going to be a fascinating year. Depending on your point of view, Trump will, no doubt, enrage or delight, disappoint or inspire. But it will be entertaining to watch.