1) One party rule at every level of government. As of January 20, the Republican Party will control both chambers of Congress, the presidency, 23 state governments and, if the GOP gets its way, the Supreme Court. This means very few adequate paths to block an entire roster of terrible things.
2) The anti-government crowd in charge of the government. Remember when the Republicans last controlled both Congress and the White House between 2002 and 2006? That worked out so well.
3) Secretary of Energy or Interior Sarah Palin. This is real. Sarah Palin could be in charge of our National Parks. As a parks nerd, this terrifies me. However, all cabinet posts are Senate-confirmable, which means hearings and the potential for a filibuster.
4) Chief of Staff Steve Bannon. This news emerged on Thursday. Unlike cabinet posts, the “co-president” job isn’t Senate-confirmable. This would place Bannon, a Breitbart stooge, in partial control of national security and allow him full access to the Situation Room.
5) Repealing Obamacare. I’ll be covering this extensively in the months to come. While the Democrats can filibuster any repeal legislation, the Trump Republicans only need 51 votes to roll back the Obamacare subsidies and Medicaid expansion, since the 51-vote “reconciliation” threshold can be used for budget matters. However, the GOP only has 51 senators. If one or two #NeverTrump GOP senators can be convinced to flip, the Democrats could filibuster every attempt to destroy the law, which would strip 20 million Americans of their healthcare.
6) Trump defunding Planned Parenthood. Limited chance of this at the federal level due to the filibuster, but if the GOP overcomes the Democratic obstruction, that’s it. It’s over.
7) Trump and the debt ceiling. This just occurred to me today. Will Trump authorize the raising of the debt ceiling or will he pander to his poorly educated base — the people who don’t even know the difference between the deficit and the debt — and allow the deadline to pass? The latter would trigger a massive economic crisis.
8) Trump and nuclear weapons. With Bannon as the possible chief of staff, there’s no one to talk Trump down from going full nukes-curious about, say, Iran or North Korea or you-name-it. Here are nine pro-nukes Trump quotes.
9) Trump surrounded by puppeteers. Without a governing mandate, Trump will be a somewhat weakened chief executive. Generally, this is good. But it’s possible that congressional Republicans will exploit this weakness to do their bidding. The other possibility is that Bannon & Company will exploit Trump as a useful idiot to implement paleoconservative dogma.
10) Trump surrounded by sycophants who won’t disagree with him. Related to #9, this is another distinct possibility. It’s perhaps the worst case scenario, empowering Trump to do just about anything he wants.
11) Trump stacking the Supreme Court. First of all, Merrick Garland is done unless Obama recess-appoints him, which is a dicey proposition. One or two more conservative justices on the Bench means a possible end to Roe v Wade. It also means there won’t be any restoration of the Voting Rights Act, or any overturning of either Hobby Lobby or Citizens United. The ramifications for LGBT rights, civil rights, reproductive rights and campaign finance will last for decades.
12) Trump using his executive powers to seek revenge against his enemies. This especially includes journalists like Katy Tur or comedians like Bill Maher. It could also involve #NeverTrump Republicans. Hell, it could include Twitter users. His weapons will include harassment, IRS audits or even libel suits. Worse, his 59 million voters won’t care.
13) Trump allowing the pipeline through the Standing Rock reservation while arresting all protesters. Unless Obama orchestrates something before January 20, the protest and its cause will be toast.
14) Trump’s pledge to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.” Due to Republican obstruction, Obama used executive orders to make adjustments where he could. This includes EOs on DREAMers, climate, cyber-security, job training, overtime time and so forth. Also, you might recall how Obama ordered HHS to allow the government to continue health coverage premium-sharing for Congress and staffers. This would ostensibly be overturned as well, pissing off a lot of workers on the Hill, including senators and congresspersons.
15) Dems not turning out for state elections in 2017 and midterms in 2018. If past is precedent, the Democratic base won’t turn out strongly enough to flip state governments and governorships in the poorly-attended off-year election in 2017. They’re also notoriously lax when it comes to midterms, even though the Senate Democrats could end up losing more seats. There’s also an opportunity to take back the House, given enough energy.
16) The left focusing on seceding or lobbying Electors to vote against Trump. This might be satisfying an urge to act out, but neither goal will happen. Secession is unserious crazy talk. If disillusioned Democrats want something to seriously dig into, see also #15.
17) The left underestimating the Trump threat. Some of us made the mistake of brushing off George W. Bush’s ascension in 2000. Don’t make the same mistake. I hope I’m wrong about him, but I don’t think I am. There are a million terrible things on the horizon and we have to keep our eyes wide open.
18) The left wasting too much time scolding Bernie and his supporters. You know what? After looking at the exit polls, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Bernie was onto something. In the same way he predicted the Great Recession, I think he also recognized the anti-establishment energy that was circulating among voters of both parties. This energy made the difference in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — especially Michigan.
19) The left wasting too much time scolding Hillary and her supporters. Hillary ran one of the most flawless campaigns in modern political history. It wasn’t her fault, nor was this the fault of her supporters. We all have to unify against the Trumpocalypse.
20) The flood of novelty or celebrity candidates. Abnormal is the new normal. Trump’s victory will turn future presidential campaigns into the 2003 California Recall election in which porn stars, has-been celebrities and pundits jumped into the ring.
21) The press mischaracterizing Trump’s win. On Thursday morning’s Morning Joe, Mark Halperin called it a “sweeping victory.” Meanwhile, Paul Ryan called it a “mandate.” Um, Trump lost the popular vote, and Hillary’s victory on this front continues to grow by the day. This is the kind of bullshit people are sick of.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments below.