Should you be glad Hillary lost?

Chait makes the good case for, “well, yeah, actually.”  Now, all this is predicated on Trump totally not ruining everthing– honestly, a real possibility.  But, if Trump is just run-of-the-mill awful, there’s a strong case to be made that the Democratic party is way better off in 2020 than if Hillary had been elected.  Chait:

Imagine what the political world would look like for Republicans had Hillary Clinton won the election. Clinton had dragged her dispirited base to the polls by promising a far more liberal domestic agenda than Barack Obama had delivered, but she would have had no means to enact it. As the first president in 28 years to take office without the benefit of a Congress in her own party’s hands, she’d have been staring at a dead-on-arrival legislative agenda, all the low-hanging executive orders having already been picked by her predecessor, and years of scandalmongering hearings already teed up. The morale of the Democratic base, which had barely tolerated the compromises of the Obama era and already fallen into mutual recriminations by 2016, would have disintegrated altogether. The 2018 midterms would be a Republican bloodbath, with a Senate map promising enormous gains to the Republican Party, which would go into the 2020 elections having learned the lessons of Trump’s defeat and staring at full control of government with, potentially, a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

Heck, as Nate Cohn responded to this in a tweet,

And, yes, Trump will do some very real damage, but Chait paints the optimistic case here:

Trump won the presidency by running a campaign that went far beyond the usual sunshine every president sells on the campaign trail. Trump’s populist vision collapsed every policy dilemma into a simple question of negotiating skill that he could solve easily and painlessly. Trump has few clear paths to bolster his popularity while holding together his partisan base. Building the wall will be difficult and time-consuming. Renegotiating Nafta in a dramatically favorable way, as Michael Grunwald explains, is probably impossible. Republican standbys like cutting taxes for the rich and loosening regulations on Wall Street and greenhouse gases are feasible, but all deeply unpopular. All those achievements would also be easily reversible in a way Obama’s biggest policy accomplishments were not. The tax cuts will almost certainly have to expire automatically after a decade. Trump’s deregulatory agenda will be reversed by the next Democratic president…

Trump mortgaged everything to win the election by making promises that he lacked any remotely practical plan to fulfill. The gains for him and his party will be scant, and the political costs of obtaining them high…

And Trump is not a shrewd politician. A string of horrifying leaks has depicted a man far too mentally limited to do his job competently. The president is too ignorant of policy — he simply agrees with whomever he spoke with last — to even conduct basic policy negotiations with friendly members of Congress who want him to succeed. Nor does Trump know enough to even identify competent people to whom he can delegate his work. He’s a rank amateur who listens and delegates to other amateurs…

And Trump is not a shrewd politician. A string of horrifying leaks has depicted a man far too mentally limited to do his job competently. The president is too ignorant of policy — he simply agrees with whomever he spoke with last — to even conduct basic policy negotiations with friendly members of Congress who want him to succeed. Nor does Trump know enough to even identify competent people to whom he can delegate his work. He’s a rank amateur who listens and delegates to other amateurs.

Now, sure, there’s a lot of “ifs” in here, but the basic logic– especially of what we could have expected politically during an HRC presidency is pretty sound.  Even when I was confident she was going to win, I was also really, really worried she’s be a one-term president.

So, are we better off with Trump as president?  Sure, seems crazy to say, “yes.”  But, if he is only awful (for which he is clearly on track for), rather than colossally bad, in four years, the answer may well be yes.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

8 Responses to Should you be glad Hillary lost?

  1. Terrant says:

    I pretty much agree with this. I have been of the opinion of whomever won the White House would be pyrrhic victory for their party in the long term.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Do you really think Trump will last 4 years? I don’t. And we’ll be very badly off with Pence in the White House encouraging all kinds of right wing mayhem in our domestic affairs while cooling things off in the Executive branch. Pence will bring back traditional GOP foreign policy.
    Bad but not crazy bad.
    In the end, I don’t think voters will like the far right idea of domestic tranquility.
    All bets are off if Trump gets us into armed conflict – more than he already has by sending more troops to Syria without public announcement or Congressional approval.

  3. ohwilleke says:

    Total bullshit. Winning is a virtuous cycle. It makes the winner stronger politically and the loser weaker politically.

  4. rgbact says:

    If the Freedom Caucus can get their heads out of their butts to actually pass the Ryan Healthcare bill….my guess is Mr. Chait will change his tune in an instant.

  5. Autumn Cote says:

    Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the auth8or. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please respond via email.

    Autumn
    AutumnCote@WriterBeat.com

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