Anybody who has studied it knows that the idea of building a massive wall all along the US-Mexico border is impractical. There’s a lot of it that is barren and semi-mountainous, there’s parts of it that are rivers, and many of the residents in those areas don’t want it. So the wall is likely to get modified in various ways.
The two lynchpins of why he put together such an electoral success are trade and immigration. I doubt we’ll see very much happen on trade. I think the balance of the administration’s personnel and policies are going to be towards implementing a classic Republican agenda – the corporate powers that be in the Republican Party don’t want restrictions on trade. I expect that to kind of fall away, even though Trump’s supporters were most energised by that.
“Donald Trump is a narcissist who is mostly about Donald Trump. He’s the least prepared and least competent president we’ll have had in office”
The main emphasis is likely to be a tightening of immigration policy, and I do think we will see something there. Whether we will see a deportation force trying to get 20 million people out of the country by going into homes and breaking up families… it remains to be seen how draconian they want to be about that, and how disruptive, and how it could potentially unleash a lot of resistance.
I think they’ll scrap Obamacare. That’s something that Republicans have waited six years to try to do. Trump is a climate change denier, and I expect him to pull out of the Paris Accords and let the fossil fuel industry loose, probably marking the point of no return.
His instincts on foreign policy are isolationist. We saw that with his scepticism about NATO, we see that with his desire to let Putin be, and we see that on trade and immigration. There’s a distrust of the foreign, full stop, across the board. But he’s now President of the United States, which means that he’s going to be briefed by the Pentagon, the NSA, the CIA and so forth. The whole national security establishment will be bringing its expertise and judgement to bear. Foreign policy is where we tend to see the least dramatic swerves between administrations, because of that very powerful and entrenched bureaucracy. But I would be a fool to predict what Trump’s foreign policy is going to be like.
“The people around Trump are either Republican power-players or far-right ideologues. The centre of gravity for policy is going to be very far to the right”
Donald Trump is a narcissist who is mostly about Donald Trump at any given moment. I expect him to vacillate and contradict himself. He doesn’t read books. He doesn’t know that much. He’s the least prepared and least competent president we’ll have had in office. He’s mercurial and bizarre. On the other hand, the people around him are either Republican power-players or far-right ideologues. The range of policy outcomes might be slightly unpredictable, unstable or whimsical, but the centre of gravity for policy is going to be very far to the right.