Opinion

Trump's black hole

We're all about to see an experiment in government unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes. And rest assured, it will consume us.

In the nearly 16 years we've published The Week, we've witnessed several "black hole" stories. That's our in-house term for events of such historic importance that their gravitational weight sucks in virtually all media attention and political commentary for months or years at a time. Six months after we launched the magazine, 9/11 shook the nation to its foundation. Another black hole event soon followed: the invasion of Iraq and that country's subsequent civil war. The 2008 financial meltdown was in that same category, and so was the election of America's first African-American president. And then came Donald Trump. His improbable, tumultuous presidential campaign, and his stunning victory in the election, has no comparison in our nation's recent political history. We're all about to see an experiment in government unlike any that we've seen in our lifetimes.

Never before have we placed so much power in the hands of a person with no experience whatsoever in public service or the military — a marketing maven who relies mostly on his gut instincts. Already, Trump is gleefully shattering norms that have restrained previous presidents. What will he do next? Will Trump's aggressive opening gambit with China intimidate Beijing into accepting better "deals" on trade and Pacific geopolitics? Will corporations be so intimidated by his threats of "retribution" that they halt their offshoring of jobs? Will the economy respond enthusiastically to Trump's promised deregulation of the financial and energy industries? Will he continue to confound critics by succeeding where conventional politicians have failed, and boost his popularity beyond the 47 percent who voted for him? Or will it all unravel in a trade war with China, a shooting war with Iran, a civil war with congressional Republicans, a corruption scandal, and/or a constitutional crisis? No one has a clue. But in the year to come, the experiment will begin yielding results.

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