Expected Velocity

I’m certain a good number of Americans spent part of their Thanksgiving holiday discussing what they expected out of the incoming Trump administration. Well, I like most, have been terrible at predicting Donald Trump but this time I think I am onto something in large part because it goes well beyond Trump and I have lived in North Carolina for the past several years.

I expect the changes to be fast and furious in the days immediately following January 20th. If you want a clue as to the substance of them look no further than what the Tea Party has been clamoring for. Considering that their greatest “achievement” to date is the shutdown of the federal government and the first downgrade in its credit rating in history it’s not like we have anything good to look forward to.

In North Carolina the Tea Party/Republicans took control of the General Assembly for the first time in over 100 years as a result of the 2010 election. They were somewhat constrained in that the Governor was a Democrat. In 2012 they changed that by electing Pat McCrory who ran and had previously ruled as a moderate Republican. When he took office in 2013 he did an abrupt about face and the Republicans passed a plethora of laws and rule changes that rendered North Carolina unrecognizable. As of this writing 13 of those laws have been declared unconstitutional and at least one other looks well on its way to meet the same fate. Did that make the Republicans change their ways? Hell, no!

This November, despite efforts to manipulate judicial elections (one of the 13 laws declared unconstitutional) and suppress the vote (another one – at least in part) the people elected a Democrat to replace an incumbent Republican on the North Carolina Supreme Court tilting the balance of power. Now there is a rumor (which seems to have substantial basis) that the GOP will pack the Court with two more Republican appointed justices effectively nullifying the will of the people. This will be done via a special session because it appears the voters elected Democrat Roy Cooper instead of McCrory. Of course McCrory is throwing everything at the wall in an attempt to delay the election certification hoping for an obscure North Carolina law to be utilized which lets the Republican controlled General Assembly throw out the vote of the people and decide the election which would return him to power.

Trump has no experience in government and apparently no real interest or platform. His administration looks like it will more closely resemble an organized criminal enterprise than a presidential organization. If there is a way for Trump to make a nickel on a deal he will authorize it. If the people who are feeding his greed want something as a condition of providing a continued fix for his habit he will sign the legislation. This will apply to fiscal as well as social programs. Look no further than Kansas to see the mess that Sam Brownback and company have made of the state yet they will not back down. They still believe in the magic of tax cuts for the wealthy no matter how many times that economic theory proves incorrect in the real world which today very much includes the great state of Kansas.

The Trump administration will have no concern over whether a law will ultimately be ruled constitutional or not. Foremost, Trump never really thinks the rules apply to him. Secondly, he will feel he has the Supreme Court in his pocket with the replacement(s) he names.

For those who point to the slowness and disorganization with which the transition is taking place and feel that is an indicator of future performance I simply want to point out that the Trump forces never expected him to win. My first piece of evidence is that Chris Christie was initially placed in charge of the transition. We have since learned that Christie was not liked by the real powers inside the Donald Dome. The job looked good but essentially they put him in charge of something they never expected to happen. Within days of the victory Christie was out, replaced on paper by Mike Pence and in reality by Jared Kushner. Also consider that neither Trump nor anyone on his team know the first thing about how the federal government works or how to put together a team to manage it. They have no interest in administering the government; they just want to skim as much as they can off the top while providing a return on investment to their financiers.

The pace will be rapid, which also helps a lot slip through. Think of the mid-seventies Philadelphia Flyers; the officials can’t call all the penalties when they occur at great velocity.

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