What are the four things that can go blooey for President Trump in the next year? First, he can get mired in a new Middle East war — the very thing he promised to avoid. The much-ballyhooed pullout from Syria turned out to be none at all. Now turmoil in Iraq, not a North Korean nuclear launch, turns out to be the Christmas present Trump didn’t want to receive. American strikes against the Kataib Hezbollah militia have got Iraq and, by extension, Iran, in a hugger-mugger. Trump could be on a slope toward further escalation with Iran that is as slippery as an oil slick. The hawks in Trump’s administration will exult; his nationalist followers, blanch.
Second, there’s the economy. So far it’s humming along on a sugar high of tax cuts and deficit spending. But the crash, especially if Trump becomes entangled in a foreign war, could come sooner rather than later. All it takes is a skirmish in the Persian Gulf to send the price of crude soaring. If Trump is wide he’ll keep his mind on golf, not conflict in the Gulf.
Third, the Supreme Court could see that Trump’s poll numbers are under water and refuses to throw him a life preserver. Instead, in June, only a few months before the election and on the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions, it issues a ruling declaring that Trump has no choice but to cough up his tax records. Democrats are exultant. The wait has simply heightened the anticipation. The media goes into a frenzy over the revelation that Trump is: a) not a real billionaire and worth less than Jared Kushner; b) in hock to the Russians and Saudis; c) secretly funneling his assets to Ivanka; or d) all of the above?
Fourth, new Ukraine revelations prompt the wets in the GOP to demand a real trial in the Senate, which, as it happens, Mitch McConnell announces is what he wanted all along. Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski not only express their dismay over Trump’s actions, but prepare to vote against him. While Trump is not convicted in the Senate trial, the nimbus of the inevitable winner has been damaged. With the Trump brand damaged, Republicans start looking for the exits. Romney even reaches out to Mike Bloomberg, who is increasingly disaffected with the Democrats, to ask if he’ll join him on the ticket. Their slogan: it’s time for America to get back to business.
Never happen? My next column will be on the things that can, as they always have in the past, go right for the Donald.