6 Terrifying Things That Absolutely Could Happen the Day Trump Is Sworn In as President

You can hardly look at the news, Facebook, or the Book of Revelation without hearing how Donald Trump is the end of the world. He says he wants build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, prevent Muslims from entering the U.S., and withdraw from NATO, among other things.

But there are dozens of obstacles — from laws, funds, and manpower to, like, reality — to stop him from actually doing them. There are still real-world consequences to the things he says, and they are catastrophic.

  1. The Stock Market loses hundreds of billions of dollars in value.

If politics is perception, then economics is perception — wrapped around speculation — inside an opinion — with a soft, chewy center of wild-ass guesses. The stock market is not stocks or bonds. The stock market is an ongoing series of bets, payoffs, and losses based on patterns of what’s happened before and what people think is likely to happen in the future. It’s a casino.

Markets run on some measure of predictability. They respond horribly to uncertainty. It’s like you’re passing a blackjack table, you think about putting up money to play — but you hear this table might hit you with the 13 of dingleberries.

Whether it’s true doesn’t matter. Whether other tables might play with similar rules doesn’t matter. You’re likely to walk out of the casino and put your money in a nice, safe bank, because nothing terrible ever happened to one of those. Someone notices you avoid a table and they think, well, that’s peculiar. Must be something wrong here. So they leave, too, then someone else, and so on, till the casino is empty.

Donald Trump is not a wild card. A wild card has only 52 possibilities. Donald Trump is the 13 of dingleberries. He says he’ll build a 2,000-mile wall, which is like saying he’ll pave the Bifrost Bridge to Asgard — plus he’ll strongarm Mexico to pay for it. He’ll impose tariffs on goods from China, Japan, and Mexico. He’ll withdraw from NAFTA and the TPP. The market calls that the WTF Index, and Trump is off the charts.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In 2011, House Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling so the country could pay its bills. Raising the debt ceiling is common, having been done more than 74 times since 1962 and 10 since 2001 at that time. Republicans just wanted to stage a photo op and play Chicken: Fury Road with everyone who loaned money to the U.S. government.

So Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s credit rating — for the first time ever — even though the bill passed, anyway. S&P said the “stability and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges.” Translation: your little GOP hissy fit about not paying us scared the crap out of everybody.

The Dow dropped 634.76 points, the 6th largest drop in U.S. history, representing a trillion-with-a-big-fat-t dollars — all because literally nothing happened, except for a bunch of talk.

2. The Muslim world becomes more unstable: more riots, more guns, more bombs.

Trump has appealed to his conservative base with Islamophobic rhetoric from the start. He’ll spy on mosques. He’ll compile lists of Muslim Americans. He’ll ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He’ll change the name of Ramada Inn because it sounds too close to Ramadan.

There are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. Conservative Muslim leaders must appeal to their conservative bases, too. Not to mention fundamentalist Muslim leaders. Not to mention extremist Muslim leaders, because if I do, they’ll look up the servers hosting this website and [CENSORED — The Editors at Medium.com].

The death-to-America crowd will have to respond to a Trump presidency — and to U.S. citizens abroad who elected him. These leaders don’t have to be presidents or kings. They have to have a webcam, Internet access, and an audience.

Muslim leaders, heads of state, also have their own constituencies. Their citizens are already demanding a response to Trump for insults. “Scary — that’s how we view Trump,” says an unnamed ambassador. “Could we depend on the United States? We don’t know. I can’t tell you how the unpredictability we are seeing scares us.”

The Landmark Group, one of the largest chains of stores in the Middle East, pulled Trump-branded furniture from its Lifestyle outlets in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar. (One chair in the Trump line, inspired by IKEA, is called Wöttán Ásshöl.)

That’s moderate Muslims. Jihadists tend to express their displeasure not quite so daintily.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In 2010, Rev. Terry Jones, a pastor in Florida with a congregation of a few dozen people, two alligators, and a windup dolphin from SeaWorld named Splooshy, announced he was going to burn a copy of the Quran. On the day of the event, thousands in the Muslim world took to the streets to protest the burning the Quran — as well as the U.S.’s unwillingness to stop it because it would violate Jones’s right to free speech.

In Afghanistan alone, security forces shot two protesters and wounded four to prevent demonstrators from getting into government offices in Kabul. In Fayzabad, protesters broke through the first perimeter gate at a NATO base. Protestors in Mazar-i-Sharif attacked a U.N. Assistance Mission, killing at least 30 and injuring at least 150.

That’s just one country. The rioters weren’t ISIS or radicals with bombs and guns. And it was over the holy-moly batshit of a hayseed Bible rubber, not the leader of the free world with the nuclear suitcase.

3. Because of unrest in the Muslim world, energy prices skyrocket.

Market uncertainty applies to oil, too. Margins built into prices due to anxiety over Middle East instability in oil markets is called the “fear premium,” which is a great title for a horror movie set in an insurance office.

In the past, when oil prices fluctuate too wildly, Saudi Arabia sometimes releases oil reserves to calm the markets. But they will not be inclined to help a U.S. President who ridiculed Islam’s aversion to pork by suggesting he would arm soldiers with bullets dipped in pig’s blood.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In November 2010, before the protests, demonstrations, riots, and even civil war during the Arab Spring, the price of crude oil was $83.76 a barrel. By the end of April 2011, it was $113.93 a barrel, an increase of nearly 50%. Analysts said the oil market hadn’t been so unstable since World War II. It took three years for prices to start coming down.

Because of Arab Spring, the International Energy Agency expects OPEC nations in Africa to post zero growth till 2018. Oil production in Algeria will fall by one-third. And when countries have to spend to repair infrastructure, as Saudi Arabia did, oil prices remain high to pay for them.

4. High energy prices hit China hard. That affects every country on Earth.

Trump says he’ll levy a 45% tariff on Chinese imports. He says China is raping the U.S. He says a fortune cookie isn’t a cookie at all, but really a stale, sugary dumpling.

The U.S. owes China $1.24 trillion in Treasury bonds. Say China wants to twist President Trump’s ear, just to tell him to cut the nonsense, or maybe to respond to 1.4 billion insulted Chinese. If China starts cashing in its bonds and taking its money somewhere else, even a little bit, that drives up interest rates. When the U.S. has trouble making larger payments, it means more than a $25 late fee.

That $1.24 trillion is just the egg roll. China is the largest economy in the world in purchasing power. The largest in manufacturing. The largest trading nation. The largest exporter of goods (seller) and the second largest importer (buyer).

China is kind of a big deal. China is everything bought, sold, or processed. China is the bigger boat you’re gonna need. Insert your favorite movie quote here — China fits it.

Because China gets as much as 75% of its oil from the Middle East and North Africa, any fluctuation in supply or prices creates ripples the Silver Surfer can hang 10 on.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In 2009, when President Obama levied a 35% tariff on imports of Chinese tires, China threatened higher tariffs on American-made automobiles — the very next day. Later, 36% on various nylon products. China launched an investigation into whether the U.S. was unloading chicken parts in Chinese markets.

A rival ready to send out a squad for Law & Order: Chicken Parts is not to be trifled with.

5. Mexico retaliates against the U.S. economy. Just because it can.

Trump says Mexico is not “sending” its best citizens across the border. He says Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists. (Rape is a big thing with Trump, apparently, except when it’s in the U.S. military. When you mix men and women there, he says, rape should be expected, like the little pickle with a pastrami-on-rye.)

Mexicans and Mexican-Americans dispute the words sending and best, as well as serious Presidential contender. Despite one-third of them living in poverty, the World Trade Organization rates Mexican workers the hardest-working in the world, measured by the amount of hours worked annually. And only 4.4% of Mexicans say they would migrate to the U.S. if they could.

Like Muslims, like China, like Europe — 122.3 million Mexicans will expect a response to Trump’s insults. Former President Vicente Fox writes Trump is “a liar and a madman… chaos and despair.” After Trump’s recent visit to Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto called him a liar for saying they didn’t talk about Mexico’s paying for Trump’s wall.

Of tweets with Spanish obscenities — the dirty words we’re memorizing from Narcos — 7% of cursing tweets for the entire year were sent within a single hour after the announcement of Trump’s visit.

Mexico is the third-largest trading partner of the U.S. It’s the fifth-largest of emerging markets worldwide. It’s the U.S.’s second-largest export market and third-largest supplier of crude oil. The country’s direct investment in Mexico is $101 billion.

Mexico is kind of un vaya cosa. Mexico es todo compró — well, you get the idea. And what’s good for China is good for Mexico, ear-twisting-wise.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In 2009, in response to closing the boundary for cross-border trucking, Mexico levied $2.4 billion in tariffs on U.S. products — and stopped at $1 billion only after the U.S. agreed to a compromise. In 2015, in response to meat-labeling laws they deemed as discriminatory, Mexico and Canada merely threatened tariffs of $1.01 billion — and Congress repealed those laws.

(Plus Trump says he’ll withdraw military support from NATO member nations that aren’t “meeting their obligations,” which sounds like they owe juice on a bar bet. It means their defense spending isn’t at least 2% of their GDP. Right now only four of 28 nations qualify, because enemies can’t strike at the heart of the E.U. through Luxembourg.

(So Trump has pissed off — or scared the shit out of — or both — by name — Muslims, China, most of Europe, and Mexico. Will they be inclined to aid, or even deal favorably with, the Trump Administration in a time of trouble? Would you ask your ex to help you move?)

6. Threats to stop remittances to Mexico cause U.S. banks to falter, if not fail.

Remittances are money that Mexican nationals (documented and undocumented) transfer to Mexico. Trump says he’ll stop such payments till Mexico agrees to pay for his magical mystery wall. Most go to food, housing, and health care for that one-third of Mexicans living in poverty, and they amount to $22.4 billion annually.

Banks collect fees on remittances. If Trump threatens to hold billions of dollars hostage, people are likely to take their money out. Some people are likely to take their money out just to protest Trump’s policies, including Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Latino-Americans (55 million of them), and people who think Trump is Carrot Top with Secret Service protection. These people might send cash instead. Or money orders. Or PayPal, Bitcoin, or cereal box tops. So banks lose that revenue.

But that’s only the first domino. Remember that casino analogy? If some people might take their money out, which scares other people into actually taking their money out, that can lead to a “run” on a bank. A run means a bank doesn’t have the funds to conduct business like people buying homes and cars, starting businesses, meeting payroll — y’know, unimportant stuff.

Why It Absolutely Could Happen:

In 2008, IndyMac lost $1.3 billion, only 7.5% of its deposits, before federal regulators seized the bank. Six weeks later, Washington Mutual closed after a run of $16.7 billion — the largest bank failure in history. The day after that, Wachovia lost $5 billion, only 1% of its deposits, before Wells Fargo bought it for peanuts.

Americans literally can’t afford to continue to believe the U.S. can muscle and loudmouth its way through the world. The world isn’t like that anymore. It probably never was.

Maybe U.S. voters will see the folly of the Trump candidacy and steer away from financial armageddon. Maybe voters will elect Trump, and any or all of these disasters will wipe out millions of jobs, homes, businesses, and savings. And if they do, well, then with the humanity embodied by Trump’s tweets on the morning after the Orlando shooter, or the murder of the cousin of Dwyane Wade — neener-neener-neener, I called it.

Andrew Bryan Smith received an honorary degree in theoretical math from a fictional university. Currently he’s writing a sequel to the remake of an adaptation of a movie that was never made from a TV series that never aired. He hopes to turn the project into a trilogy, releasing the sequel first, a prequel second, and finally a spin-off of unrelated characters inspired by the original work. Andy lives in Los Angeles, or so it seems.

Read humor he’s written for Reductress, YourTango, and more at doitinprivate.com. Follow him on Twitter @doitinprivate.