The Counterfactual

Consider where we’d be if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency. Benghazi would be resurrected; the email scandal would have been the subject of at least two congressional investigations; any progress in terms of the policies she and the Democratic Party had espoused would not only have been ignored, but would have been scathingly addressed – and the Donald would have been shouting “Fraud!” from the hilltops.

True, we’re in a parlous situation with our current administration, but look at what has been taking place throughout the country. If anything, the republic is in better shape for having this cartoon character “running” the country. The Republican Party is in a real quandary, with essentially every one of its priorities (the wall, immigration, health care, Social Security, tax “reform”) unable to get any traction. With a Clinton administration in power, they would probably have been able to pass their legislative agenda, but it would have been subject to veto after veto, hardly endearing Clinton to the country. As it now stands, we will have to suffer through a crazy time, at least until November 2018, at which time (from my lips …) the Democrats will take back at least the Senate, and Trump will throw in the towel.

Author: Mike Maltz

Michael D. Maltz is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice and of Information and Decision Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the Ohio State University His formal training is in electrical engineering (BEE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1959; MS & PhD Stanford University, 1961, 1963), and he spent seven years in that field. He then joined the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (now National Institute of Justice), where he became a criminologist of sorts. After three years with NIJ, he spent thirty years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, during which time he was a part-time Visiting Fellow at the US Bureau of Justice Statistics. Maltz is the author of Recidivism, coauthor of Mapping Crime in Its Community Setting, and coeditor of Envisioning Criminology.

9 thoughts on “The Counterfactual”

  1. Odds of taking the Senate in 2018 seem slim-to-none based on the electoral map. Big defensive year for Dems. The House not exactly easy either, but perhaps a D wave is possible if enough savage cuts to basic safety-net programs are felt by then?

  2. Why wouldn't Clinton's vetoes endear her to the country? The Republicans are a minority party, and, if the U.S. were a democracy, they wouldn't control the House and Senate (or, of course, the presidency). I don't think that the majority of the population would be angry at Clinton for preserving their health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and preventing tax cuts for the super rich, blocking the wall, and not breaking up immigrant families.

    By the way, why aren't Democratic politicians screaming (and crying wouldn't hurt) every time that a parent gets deported to Mexico, leaving behind his or her spouse and children? Why doesn't the media ask every Republican politician whether he or she favors breaking up the family that Trump most recently broke up? I think that it would be a winning issue, despite anti-Hispanic bigotry.

  3. It remains to be seen if the republic is in better shape for having this evil clown in charge. In more or less openly obstructing justice, he's testing the norm that presidents aren't above the law. There's at least an outside chance, and maybe better than even odds, he gets away with it. That was a norm we really needed, whether a majority knows it or not.

  4. Natasha Geiling at Joe Romm's blog recently totted up the actual policy initiatives of the Trump administration, as opposed to tweets, grandiose speeches, PR stunts and whines. She found 69 – of which 33 were rollbacks of environmental regulations. The methane rule was saved, but Pruitt seems a capable fanatic and is doing a lot of damage. This is an area of the regulatory state, where simple non-enforcement is as effective as rescission of regulations. Price is following the same path of administrative sabotage to hamstring ACA, he's just not as good at it.

  5. There are also a lot more people being quietly abused by police and by immigration officers in ways that might not have happened under a real president, hundreds of thousands of people who thought they might be able to vote in an election some year soon, millions of people who are going to see their insurance rates rising to very unpleasant levels even before the ACA is officially dismantled…

    Even if the immiserization works (and there's a good chance it won't) there's a heck of a lot of damage being done in the interim. (And of course caring about things like that is exactly why democrats and liberals/progressives in general are at a structural disadvantage against the current instantiation of the right wing.)

  6. It's a lot easier to buy this argument if it's not your health insurance that may disappear, either through Trump killing the CSRs or a health care bill making it through Congress.

    There's also a strong case that Trump may do so much damage in foreign policy that it outweighs your points.

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