We’re Trying To Predict How Each Candidate’s Presidency Would Play Out, And We Saved The Worst For Last

For the past few days, we’ve been publishing our predictions for how America would look after four years of each presidential candidates’ administrations. We’ve already done Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. That means there’s only one candidate left… Donald Trump.

We already know what you’re thinking: this is a liberal website, so naturally we’re going to make a Trump presidency sound as apocalyptic as humanly possible, right? Well, if you click those links above, you’ll see that we’ve been brutally honest with all three candidates so far. We aren’t going to stop now. The whole point of this brief series is to see what these candidates might really be like. No hype, no spin, just blatantly honest predictions based on all of the information available to us today.

Having said that, spoiler alert: Donald Trump is by far the worst of the four candidates, and it’s so painfully obvious that we’re actually a bit concerned that so many Americans are falling for his shtick.

Each of these articles are written under the assumptions that the candidates won in tight races, and that there’s no significant change to the House or Senate. If these people were president today, with things the way they are, this is how we think their administrations would play out.

So let’s get this awful party started, shall we?

The Presidency Of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s inexplicable victory in November of 2016 is met with all of the ego and self-praise you’d expect from “The Donald.” But America doesn’t see it as the start of a new era: like with a Clinton victory, gun sales surge, not because people are afraid the incoming president will try to take guns away or stop people from buying them, but because all of the negative hype will scare people into doomsday preparation.

But we quickly come to realize, during the transition even, that Donald Trump is going to treat the presidency the same way he treats his businesses: he doesn’t build things, so much as he sells the rights to his brand to the owners of prebuilt things and then slaps his name on them. And that’s precisely what Trump does after winning the election.

Donald Trump serves as a figurehead. He’s the King of the United States; he holds no real power, but he does all of the handshaking, takes all of the photo ops, pardons all of the turkeys, and plays all of the golf.

So who is actually running the country? Donald Trump loads up his cabinet with his business associates — friends with experience Trump believes is relative to the positions — and with Republicans mostly handpicked by the GOP. Remember the phrase “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie?” Yeah… get ready for a whole lot of that.

But those individuals aren’t advising Trump. They’re advising his Vice President, Mike Pence, because he’s the one whose actually running the country. We know this because Team Trump said as much when offering the Vice Presidency to John Kasich, saying they’d leave him in charge of “foreign and domestic policy,” while Trump would be in charge of “making America great again.” It isn’t much of a stretch to assume the same was offered to Pence.

So who is Mike Pence? For a radical right-wing nut, he’s a wet dream personified. But for the rest of America, he’s an absolute and total nightmare.

Mike Pence is an ultra-conservative Tea Party fringer, and he’s beloved by other nutty right-wingers. So if you’re a hard-right conservative, go ahead and quit reading this now so you can run off and service that erection of yours. For everyone else? Yeah… this guy will be a complete and total fucking nightmare.

The Presidency Of… Mike Pence?

With Republicans retaining slight majorities in the House and Senate, Mike Pence assumes office with a hardliner conservative agenda, as well as the resources and support to make it happen.

His first objective is to fill the empty Supreme Court seat with a fellow hardline conservative, an effort which the Democrats are all but powerless to thwart. Step two? The GOP throws up challenges to just about everything: marriage equality, voter ID laws, regulations, you name it. The court still upholds a great deal, but conservatives start scoring big wins all the same.

While Donald Trump handles the poetry, Mike Pence takes care of the prose. He rescinds many of President Obama’s executive orders. His administration guts The Affordable Care Act and then curbs it, and with nothing to replace it with, either. They cut entitlements as often as possible, and throw those newfound savings into the military budget (not to be confused with the VA, which sees further Republican cuts). They try to ditch marriage equality, and Donald Trump signs a bill, under Pence’s instruction of course, that federalizes North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom bill. And that’s just the stuff they do in the first 100 days.

Foreign policy is no different than domestic policy. Remember when you and your friends helped another friend move, and you had that one friend who sat around doing nothing, but was “supervising” the rest of you? Yeah… that’s Donald Trump on foreign policy. The Hand-shaker-in-Chief gets his photo taken with world leaders, while the Pence Doctrine goes into full effect.

The historic Iran nuclear deal? The one Republicans never bothered to comprehend? That’s gutted. Our borders are shut down to refugees. Without congressional authorization, boots are put on the ground in Syria. The DMZ between North and South Korea sees a huge troop buildup. Donald Trump never gets his border wall, but Mike Pence is quick to authorize military border enforcement, and tensions between the United States and Mexico are approaching levels of intensity not seen since the fall of the Alamo.

After four years of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Americans are more afraid of the world than ever before, and the world is twice as afraid of America. America’s job growth is stagnant. Our national debt nearly doubles in four years, and our budget deficit grows steadily year after year. Deregulation and anti-union legislation leads to shrinking incomes, worse working conditions, and consumer and public abuses at the hands of corporations. America becomes a very ugly place after just four years of Donald Trump and his totalitarian sidekick.

Of course, you won’t be able to explain any of that to a conservative. Your nightmarish hell-scape is their paradise. Conservatives will absolutely love Mike Pence. Or should I say, they’ll love the work Mike Pence does, but will offer Donald Trump all of the praise. And like a Purple Heart he definitely didn’t earn, Donald Trump will take it gladly and proudly.

Donald Trump’s Overall Performance

So how do we rate President Donald Trump after four years? Utterly abysmal.

Donald Trump is a figurehead. A brand name. He plays no significant role in the actual policies of his administration. So long as he’s getting attention, and so long as his business dealings are gobbling up the perks of his newfound position, Donald Trump couldn’t care less what Mike Pence does with the rest of the country.

And that’s what really, truly makes Donald Trump a scary candidate. It’s not the terribly offensive things he says or does. It’s not the painful ineptitude or the hideous ignorance he puts on display each and every day. It’s the fact that Donald Trump wants to be President only to benefit himself, and he’s willing to hand off the real meat and potatoes of the presidency to literally anyone else, albeit a moderate centrist like John Kasich or a radical fringer zealot like Mike Pence.

The good news? We won’t have to put up with their administration for long. After four years, Donald Trump’s approval rating will truly come to reflect Mike Pence’s overreaching terribleness, and while hard-right conservatives think America will love those policies, it’s quite literally the opposite from the truth. Trump’s approval rating after four years, before any small reelection bump he might get, sits in the paltry 25% to 40%, at best.

If Mike Pence gets his way more often than we’re predicting here, Donald Trump’s approval could sit in the 10% to 20% range. Yes… it really is that bad. The only thing that could turn Trump’s numbers around would be a war or a terrorist attack on par with 9/11. It worked for George W. Bush, and as terrifying a prospect as this is, under a Donald Trump/ Mike Pence presidency, such awfulness would surpass possibility into the realm of probability.

The one comforting thing here is this: Donald Trump will definitely, absolutely, and without question be a one-term President. His chances at reelection sit in the 5% to 30% range, the lowest of any of the four candidates. The grade we’re giving him? That’s also the worst. Donald Trump, and really Mike Pence, earn a solid F.

Seriously America, we can’t let this lunatic anywhere near the White House.

Photo by Gage Skidmore