I keep coming back to this: no one has any idea what the Trump administration will actually do. This, more than anything else, is literally keeping me awake at night.
Brian Beutler worries about how the day-to-day business of being president will tax Trump beyond his ability to cope even on slow weeks. I've thought about that as well. You only need to watch an episode of The West Wing to get a sense of what kind of focus a president needs. Even George W. Bush, no scholar he, spent more time studying and preparing than Trump.
But beyond his temperament, we really have no information about what his policies and his relationship with Congress will be. So other than expecting something to go spectacularly wrong within the first few weeks he's in office, we just can't say what that will look like.
His team's lack of experience and discipline will probably give us a lot of signals, though. Think about how few leaks—and a complete lack of scandal—we've had during the Obama administration. With some of Trump's key advisors already under indictment, and the man himself party to more lawsuits than any other president in history even before he takes office, not to mention the unbelievable lack of control the campaign had over leaks from the beginning, it'll be epic. I'd say "pass the popcorn" if it weren't so horrifying.
But still: what kind of president will he be for real? Even his own supporters don't know.
In true Perceiver fashion, I'm going to gather data, at least through the first half of 2017, before freaking out completely. Is the analogy 1828, or is it 1856 (or 1933)? Is Trump Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura? Or is he more like Hugo Chávez or Rodrigo Duterte?
Trump broke nearly every norm of how we've elected presidents since the Civil War. Those norms existed in part because of lessons we learned in the 1830s through the 1870s. What norms will he break as president? What will his supporters do? Even if it doesn't affect me directly, being deep in the heart of one of the bluest cities in the country, what will happen to my friends who live in purple or mauve counties in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Wisconsin?
When George H.W. Bush won in the first election I voted in, I was disappointed. When his son won in 2000, I was angry; when he won again in 2004, I was embarrassed for my country. But in none of these elections did I have much doubt about how the Bushes would govern, or fear that the entire world order would be upended by the administration. Their policies made my blood boil, but I never feared for my liberty or that the Republic would fall. With Trump, I don't have any guesses, only apprehensions.
The world turned upside down...