by David Baer
History is full of surprises, irony, and unintended consequences – which is one reason those who study history know better than to make predictions. Since, however, I’m not a historian, I’m foolish enough to make a few specific predications about things that will happen during Donald Trump’s first term as President. I’m even foolish enough to put these down on record, so you can call me out and rub it once history proves me wrong. If events prove me right, however, then I’ll clearly deserve to be the next President.
1. The sanctions imposed on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine will be lifted, raising the possibility of further territorial revisions in Eastern Europe.
2. Putin will test NATO by manufacturing a crisis in one of the Baltic States. Trump will look the other way. His failure to protect a NATO ally will mark the end of NATO as a credible military alliance.
3. Insurmountable contradictions between Trump’s anti-free trade protectionism and Paul Ryan’s free market philosophy, coupled with Trump’s personal dislike of Ryan, will lead to an anti-Ryan insurgency within the House. Ryan will be replaced by a Speaker whose political vision more closely aligns with Trump’s.
4. Due to his utter lack of political experience and erratic temperament, President Trump will be unable to deliver on the promises made to his base. Democrats will make notable gains in the 2018 mid-term elections, which will exacerbate tensions between traditional and Trumpian Republicans. The Republican Party will start to fissure and possibly split.
5. Trump’s presidency will be tarnished by scandals, as more information about his business dealings come to light, and due to his inability to manage the inherent conflict of interest between being President and operating real estate businesses and casinos.
6. Between 2016 and 2020 traditional American debates about the size and role of government will not feature in political discourse. In 2020 Democrats will abandon the political strategy dating back to Bill Clinton of running centrist campaigns. They will nominate a candidate to the left of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who will win the Presidency.