What’s likely to happen between now and November of 2018, when the US will have mid term congressional elections? Of course, I can’t know for sure but I have a pretty strong feeling that we are going to see at least one or two of the following occur:
- An incident that catalyzes the US to enter a war against an Islamic country – I fear that the US will suffer a serious terror attack or a military setback, such as the sinking of a navy ship, that will give the Trump administration the pretext to declare war against Muslims both here and abroad. We already saw this in the Bush administration and the dynamics may be similar. Right now, the US public has no appetite for another Middle Eastern military adventure. And, except for (what I suspect) is a small minority of Americans, most of the American people are queasy at the thought of registering Muslims or banning them from the country. However, if we’re under attack, everything changes! Then, it will be our patriotic duty to help defeat whomever it is. (It’s going to be Iran, but don’t tell anyone, ok?) All Democrats in Congress will be under intense pressure to support the troops and not look soft on terror. They’ll vote for war and domestic repression out of fear. If we fight Iran, we might need to draft an Army. Iran is a lot stronger than it looks. They have a real army. We won’t go in there with 100,000 men and blow them away in two weeks. It would be a real war with real casualties – and we would have to see it through to the end, not cut and run.
- Financial deregulation leading to the next bailout – it takes time for Wall Street to run amok, so it might not happen by 2018, but if the looming repeals of financial regulation happen, it will only be a matter of time. Wall Street has proven again and again that it cannot self-regulate. Light regulations inevitably leads to excessive risk taking as financiers pay themselves lavish bonuses for hitting performance targets that turn out to be financial time bombs. Who will pay for it this time? You and me, right? The American public will be asked to pony up a juicy bailout for Trump’s cronies.
- Criminalization of American protests as “Domestic Terrorism” – This is already happening, but it could get a lot worse. Now that there are many precedents for warrantless surveillance and suspension of normal due process for suspected terrorists, it may become common for the US government to arrest and detain its own citizens for protesting against the government. In other words, we’ll become East Germany.
- Implicit condoning of racial violence – If police departments get the signal that they have nothing to fear from the Justice Department, that will give a green light to their most repressive and racist tactics. Certainly, it appears that a lot of hateful people feel empowered to act out against minorities of all kinds now, due to Trump’s implicit appeal to white nationalists.
- Recession – The structural problems in the US economy will not go away by themselves, and many of the proposed Trump policies could make things get worse. For example, protectionist measures could cut down on US exports while making imports more expensive. Both of these moves could hurt the economy and the financial condition of most American families. And, cutting government spending such as Medicaid and Food Stamps is recessionary. It takes money out of the economy that’s being spent paying nurses, pharmacists, grocers and so forth.
- Higher gas and fuel oil prices – Trump has already threatened to cut off oil imports from Saudi Arabia. That would create an artificial shortage of oil that will cause the price of gasoline to go up.
I hope I am wrong, but these are some of the developments I think the US will see over the next two years. Check back with me to see if I was right.