THE TRUMP DIARIES: Week One, Day Eight

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and while I can’t say that this gives me hope — it’s too early to allow for hope — it does provide information about what Trump is doing right now, and what he will do as President.

He’s never shown much interest in politics, and on social issues such as access to abortion and gender rights, his outlook hasn’t been ideological. He’s not a deep thinker, and seems motivated chiefly by profit. The market over the past week seems to agree with that meager analysis: It’s up. Even Paul Krugman, writing this week in The New York Times, notes that the economy may, in fact, grow briefly under Trump. There will be vast deregulation in all sectors, and for a time this might mean companies expanding because they won’t have to pay as much for labor, will pay lower federal taxes, and can pay less for the retirement plans and healthcare of employees.

To distract us all from these economic shifts, there will be cruel jokes, antics, and provocations engineered by Trump and scripted by Bannon. The goal will be to divide and entertain, to have the divisions within the U.S. at each other’s throats while incomes go up for those who have control of the wages and prices. For those who get paid and have to pay, who live on their wages (rather than profit from inherited wealth and investments), it’s going to be tough luck. Old story, nothing new about that at all.

A lot of what Trump has been about throughout his life is: Acquiring as much as possible and ridiculing those who have less.

It’s also very much a part of the American vision. He’s no anomaly, and as always it’s a question of whether or not democracy can be sustained in a nation that monetizes experience.