Thursday, March 3, 2016

Best, Worst Cases

Twice-defeated Mitt Romney today spoke in Utah, arguing that leading GOP presidential contender Donald Trump is a liar, a con man, and a more-often-than-not failed businessman. There is obviously some truth to those allegations.

Left unsaid is the extent to which most politicians could be tarred with the same brush. I thought, let's examine the best and worst case scenarios of a Trump presidency.

Best case: Trump accomplishes what he has promised to do, and more. He becomes this century's Teddy Roosevelt, a human whirlwind with a nonstop mouth, ambition to burn, and the unbridled willingness to say the unpopular things that need saying, giving voice to the American mind.

He attracts the votes of many blue-collar Democrats much as Ronald Reagan did, and perhaps the Party can keep their allegiance after he leaves office. He and Putin collaborate to wipe out violent Islam wherever it is found.

Worst case: Trump's protectionism starts a war of battling tariffs leading to an international recession/depression as free-trade economists fear. Building the wall, he makes Mexico so hostile it turns to China as an ally, giving them bases near our coasts and borders.

Like Jimmy Carter, Trump's presidency is immediately adjudged "failed." Like Carter, he not only loses his reelection bid but hands the presidency to the opposition for the next several cycles. His America First moves unify the world against us. Paradoxically, the greatest danger is that, like Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of CA, Trump becomes "tamed" or coopted by the establishment, thus disappointing those who elected him.

The bottom line: Trump comes with both a big upside and a big downside, plain vanilla he is not. I still prefer Ted Cruz but clearly Trump is the cycle's most skilled campaigner, which argues he has the best chance of beating Clinton - a goal to which I am committed.