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And Now Comes The Great Undoing

02/12/2016 12:41 GMT | Updated 02/12/2016 12:41 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wrapping up coverage at seven in the morning, after the night in November that we all remember, I could not believe it. He'd done it.

Most people, including members of his own party, did not think Donald Trump would come close to winning, let alone achieve victory. I thought that the groping tape was the point of no return. The Democrats were so confident, they had been preparing to take Republican safe seats. But here we are, some of us still in disbelief, in the knowledge that the businessman with no political experience will very shortly be in chief command of so-called leader of the free world and one of the most powerful nations on the globe.

Everyone is still talking about it. The Internet is awash with the disappointed and fearful who condemn America's decision and the insufferable I-told-you-so's of various political persuasions who smugly claim to have seen this all coming. It's a strange thing to observe. So many of the things that people like me thought were crazy, too crazy to permit a win for Trump - the exaggerations, the nonsense, the closet bigotry, the conspiracy theories and more - will be remembered as legitimate. Trump's victory has somehow rationalised so much irrationality. I dread to imagine a day in which Trump will be described as a fine orator and a perceptive political thinker. Others feel like giving up teaching reason and argument - what's the use? Who cares about facts anymore?

Among the disheartened, the optimists point to the President-elect's malleability. Many people doubt that Trump believes a thing that he said during the entirety of his campaign; the outrageous rhetoric was a clever mechanism to appeal to voters disenchanted with current politics. Whether Trump is the master of Realpolitik, adopting the policies that will fit the current public mood, or a dunce of the highest order whose status as a political nobody and his penchant for bemoaning the recent past won him the White House, we needn't fear that the terrible future awaiting us will actually come true. It took a short meeting with Barack Obama for Trump to tone down several key pledges: could some more conversations from knowledgeable figures prompt Trump to forget about building that wall?

But the members of Trump's expanding inner circle are not so manipulable. The Republicans entering Donald Trump's cabinet have clear objectives and adhere strongly to dangerous ideologies. They are determined to unravel everything that has happened over the last eight years of American politics. With a majority control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and a halfwit in the Oval Office, the Republican Party is in a prime position to enact the policies of which its elite have been dreaming. The Republicans have indicated that repealing the Affordable Care Act is one of their top priorities. After sixty failed attempts to destroy it while a Democrat was President, now is their moment to finally eradicate it.

'ObamaCare' won't be the only thing that is revoked. Now comes the great undoing. Barack Obama's hyperbolic reputation among many conservatives as the "worst president in history", something Trump himself has repeated, will become normal. The petitions to impeach him will suddenly be seen as credible. Look out for inquiry after inquiry into the Benghazi affair until the Republicans get the answer they want. Many Republican presidential candidates sought to gut Planned Parenthood's funding - will Obama's last-minute legislation save it from Republican destruction? What about climate change and all the work towards researching its effects and developing solutions? And maybe will Hillary Clinton be imprisoned too?

The President-elect himself has got cold feet about his own policies, but standing behind him is an army of Republicans rubbing their hands. Trump's own incompetence or reluctance to commit to his own proposals is no reason to think that his presidency won't be as bad as we thought; it's the people around him who will ensure that.