Edward Luttwak predicts Donald Trump will finish out two terms, followed by Ivanka. Trump and Sanders were the only two candidates for working people, and therefore the only two capable of winning the election. And Trump has flip-flopped and failed many times as President, but he has not faltered in his core promise, to bring good jobs back to Americans. He hasn’t succeeded yet, but he appears to be still trying.
What happens next depends on the fate of that other vector of the Trump strategy – his $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan which a White House team is striving to convert into an actual programme that specifies what is to be built where, and with what sort of funding, whether public or private. If the resulting employment generation kicks in fully by 2020, Trump will coast to re-election, especially if by then he can claim that the Mexican border is “sealed”, which will then result in his ordering the automatic legalization of all tax-paying and non-felonious illegal immigrants, giving him a chunk of the Hispanic vote as well, after decades of unfulfilled promises, including Obama’s.
Even a developer very fond of fast food at its worst, and who enjoys boasting about his crotch-grabbing, is still a developer, who very naturally thinks in six-year blocks from site scoping to finance to design to construction and disposal, as opposed to the two-year horizon of American politics. That is why Trump registered his “Make America Great Again” slogan in 2010, six years in advance of his planned campaign, and why he is now focused not on the next mid-terms, but on the 2022 mid-terms, after his 2020 re-election, because it is only then that he can launch his daughter’s candidacy, while serving his own last two years in office. In the meantime, he is securing his base by striving hard to keep his promises: withdrawal from the Paris agreement that the US Congress never voted on (Obama approved it with a decree that seemed secure under President Hillary), the Muslim entry restrictions, the “sealing” of the Mexican border that will make universal legalization acceptable, and above all, his sorely needed infrastructure programme that is now being prepared by wholesale deregulation – at present, newly aggravated environmental rules almost exactly double road, bridge and tunnel construction costs as compared to France, in spite of its thirty-five-hour working week, and Japan, in spite of its extreme space restrictions.
Luttwak’s analysis seems nuts to me. But the entire Trump Presidency seems nuts. And I do think Luttwak has captured why Trump continues to have the support of some intelligent people.