Now that the press has more or less agreed that Donald Trump does actually have a plausible pathway to the Republican presidential nomination, the next logical question is whether he’d be a plausible president.
The answer is yes, he would.
Having spent time in the mainstream media’s clutches, I still find it very implausible that he’ll be elected. But if he does somehow manage that feat, the plate tectonics of politics will have shifted to a place where we ought to consider a presidency on his terms. (For a less sanguine view, former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett envisions a self-hating polity and a Trump recession.)
We’ve heard Trump throw out some pretty potent anti-PC troll-bait. He’s offended “the women,” “the Latinos,” Asians, hedge fund managers, immigrants, “the blacks,” Jews, Rosie O’Donnell, Muslims, China, Mexico, and Katy Perry. Also: Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, and, of course, Jeb Bush. For many Democrats (and increasingly, many Republicans), his boorishness is beyond the pale.
So if he became president, he’d face unprecedented and implacable opposition from the Democratic Party, which might be tempted to pilfer from the playbook of the pre-2015 Republicans and become the anti-governing party, so toxic to their sensibilities would Trump be by the time he’s inaugurated.
But some of the opposition would be petty. If Trump made a move on immigration and Democrats blocked it, fine. If Trump proposed and found a coalition to reform entitlements and reconfigure the tax code, Democrats would find themselves opposing Trump just because he’s an offensive, not-nice person of privilege. They’d have descended to his level to spite him.
That wouldn’t work, because if Trump does manage to get himself elected, he’ll be pushed into power by a coalition of angry anti-partisans who want problems fixed. I find Donald Trump’s comments to be offensive. At this point in time, a lot of Americans evidently do not. It is hard to imagine how Democrats, having lost the 2016 presidential election, could rebuild their party by resorting to obstruction and denial.
So what about war and peace? Can you imagine Donald Trump’s finger on the button? Today, a president can execute an emergency war order in less time that it takes to get a cheeseburger at McDonald’s. Russia is once again baring its teeth, and a President Trump might have to contend with its incursions into NATO countries, triggering, one presumes, some sort of military response.