With the presidential election — as well as the somewhat overshadowed (but also extremely important) congressional election — only a few days away, most people just seem to be wishing it was Nov. 9.We’re at the point at which much of the anxiety is on hold, the debates are over, polls are being pumped out at an unfathomable rate, the most intense political pushes are coming from well-captioned emails and a minor lull is setting in as we all brace for the inevitable panic of election day.
For all my fellow Star Wars enthusiasts, it’s a bit like realizing that yes, Luke and Vader are on the same planet, but they haven’t met yet, and when they do, it’s bound to be a huge mess (I think it’s pretty obvious who represents who, but I’ll leave that to the reader).
With little new news to discuss (and with fewer people who have the patience to discuss it at this point in the process), I figured it would be interesting to envision what the possible outcomes of the 2016 election would look like. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.
Scenario #1: Hillary Clinton wins, Democrats gain Senate majority.
This result is, of course, optimal for the Democrats. With the House of Representatives likely already secured for the Republicans, a democratic takeover of the Senate in conjunction with a win by Clinton would probably mean a strong furtherance of President Obama’s policies. In this scenario, we should expect to see an expansion of Obamacare, aggressive efforts to reduce higher education costs, a continuation or softening of current immigration policy and maybe even a reversal of Citizens United (which would certainly get the Bernie lovers on Clinton’s side).
As far as foreign policy, though, it’s tough to anticipate exactly what Hillary’s international policies would look like. I think we should expect a slightly more hawkish administration than that of Obama or Bill Clinton. This might include routine air strikes and the use of drones in response to terrorist threats, though I doubt Hillary would put new troops on the ground unless a dire situation were to arise.
Scenario #2: Hillary Clinton wins, Republicans keep control of the Senate.
In this scenario, we should expect a stalemate for at least two years (and likely four as the 2018 congressional election will include more democratic seats up for grabs than Republican). Clinton would attempt to push the policies listed above, but a Senate controlled by Mitch McConnell would block her at every turn. Of course, at some point we would likely see somebody like Ted Cruz call for impeachment in response to Clinton’s emails (or some new scandal; the possibilities are truly endless). In the end, any attempt at progress would be bogged down by a slow, divided federal government.
Additionally, we shouldn’t expect the supreme court to have a ninth member for a while. A Republican Senate would likely drag this issue out for as long as possible, maybe even long enough for another member to kick the bucket and make an odd number again. (Too soon?)
Scenario #3: Trump wins, Republicans somehow lose the Senate.
Lots and lots of shouting. That’s about all I can predict here, as a bipartisan Congress would be dealing with an unpredictable president whom even many of the Republicans don’t approve of. My best guess is an extremely aggressive foreign policy would be fended off by a democratic Senate and Democrats would still have enough leeway to avoid extreme deregulation of private businesses.
However, this scenario is extremely unlikely; a win for Trump is expected to give more than enough down-ballot Republican candidates the edge in their respective races. Though I will say a democratic Senate would likely provide Trump with a perfect scapegoat if his wall plan doesn’t work out, so he may even be rooting for this one.
Scenario #4: Trump wins, Republicans hold the Senate.
In this scenario, we have a Republican clean sweep; the presidency, the Senate, the House and consequently the Supreme court would all belong to the GOP. Paul Ryan would push for free trade, lower taxes and less corporate regulation; radical Islam would be a primary point of focus for the government as a whole, likely resulting in more aggressive and restrictive practices targeting refugees and Muslims living in America; and border control/deportation would be kicked into high gear.
At least this is what we would assume of a Trump presidency backed by a slightly less eccentric group of conservatives holding the majority in both the legislative and judicial branches.
However, the unpredictability of a Trump Presidency may throw a fork in the whole GOP operation. It’s easy to assume Trump would go right along with most right wing policies, but the reality is nobody really knows what would happen except Trump himself. His vagueness and lack of in-depth policy proposals throughout the election season could mean one of two things.
Firstly, it could be a sign of a complete lack of any plan, in which case Trump could become a puppet of powerful GOP members like Ryan and McConnell, pushing whatever right wing policies sit well with the Republican establishment.
Secondly, Trump’s vagueness could be nothing more than a tactic intended to appeal to as many individuals as possible. After all, the Trump operation was intended to create a populist movement from the very beginning, as it has. In this second case, there’s really no telling what Trump would cook up. His tax plan has wavered, his immigration plan has softened and re-hardened and his foreign policy plans are all but nonexistent, though we may expect them to be quite aggressive if his campaign speeches tell us anything.
This concludes the list of possible outcomes for the 2016 presidential election. Dylan Parisi’s hope is that it will provide an interesting thought experiment and give prospective voters some idea of what America may look like in each case.