CAMBRIDGE – Donald Trump’s stunning election victory has pushed the United States – and the world – into uncharted territory. The US has never before had a president with no political or military experience, nor one who so routinely shirks the truth, embraces conspiracy theories, and contradicts himself. All of this makes it almost impossible to know how he will govern.
But Trump’s looming presidency does have a precedent: George W. Bush’s. Several parallels stand out. For starters, like Bush, Trump did not win the popular vote, but may nonetheless assume that he has a mandate for sweeping change. And the direction of that change may produce results that not even his supporters like.
Among Trump’s economic-policy promises, his fiscal proposals are most likely to be enacted: big tax cuts for the rich and increased spending on defense and other items. The result will probably be the same as when Bush pursued similar policies: income inequality will widen, and budget deficits will grow.
Moreover, the stock market’s seven-year bullish streak may end. And it is very likely that Trump, who attacked the US Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy during his campaign, will quickly reverse that position and press the Fed not to raise interest rates.