Across the political spectrum, President-elect Donald Trump has inspired worry and outright fear. He has said and done so many abnormal things that it’s anyone’s guess what his presidency will look like. So, to give you nightmares for the next four years, here’s a not-so-brief list of America’s greatest fears of a Trump presidency.
When it comes to immigration, Trump is a nativist’s wet dream — and a case of the night terrors for everyone else.
1: Never mind the wall that Trump promises to build. He’s pledged to deploy a “deportation task force” that would target as many as 6.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. The Los Angeles Times reported that deporting that many people would cost around $300 billion and reduce the our GDP by a $1 trillion. How would this work? No one really knows. House-to-house sweeps can’t happen here, insists the Washington Post. But we could see a return to the Safe Communities program, which Obama shut down in 2014 because it ultimately prevented cops from investigating crimes, because Latino witnesses fearing deportation wouldn’t come forward.
2: Trump has also promised he will “Block funding for sanctuary cities … no more funding. We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.” In other words, cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia would be forced to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport undocumented immigrants. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities,” Trump promises, “will not receive taxpayer dollars.”
3: Trump has promised to “immediately repeal” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, providing applicants the opportunity to apply for Social Security and to work legally in the U.S. What this means for the nearly 742,000 people accepted into the program is unclear, or what it would mean for the other 750,000 eligible to apply. If Trump repeals DACA, these immigrants could be subject to deportation, often to countries they’ve never lived in.
But enough about immigration. Let’s take a look at three awful things we can expect in the criminal justice system.
4: With his “tough on crime” approach, Trump could repeal Obama’s “ban the box” order, which helps those who have served time to re-enter the workforce. He could also reverse the Justice Department’s decision to phase out private prisons. His new attorney general is raring to go after states that have passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana.
5: We could also expect President Trump to endorse and expand racial profiling, particularly of Arab-Americans and Muslims. He has argued in favor of setting up a database of Muslims living in the US and much more.
6: And it wouldn’t just be Arab-Americans and Muslims. Trump has also suggested instituting, on a national level, the unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” practice, which overwhelmingly targeted African Americans and Latinos. How this would happen is anyone’s guess since it was judged a violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments in 2013, but Trump has offered to bring it back.
7: Many people’s fears that a Trump presidency would embolden racists, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups have already been borne out. Since winning the election in November, countless incidents of spray-painted swastikas, verbal abuse, and physical violence against anyone who isn’t a white male have been in the news.
If he carries out the policies he’s promised, Trump would also be a disaster for trade.
8: He’s threatened to tear up or renegotiate NAFTA and impose tariffs on imports from Mexico. Citing the Peterson Institute, Vox argues this could ignite a trade war with Mexico, which would almost certainly impose their own tariffs in response. This would almost certainly hurt the U.S. economy and increase unemployment, because more jobs would be lost than gained as both our exports and imports would get more expensive.
9: And it’s not just Mexico. Trump has threatened trade wars with China and other countries. Fortune magazine pointed out that even mundane deals like the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU would likely be slowed even more.
10: He’d court the same kind of economic collapse that wiped out millions of families by returning to early 21st century financial deregulation. And, well, deregulation in general. The New York Times put it best: “The unwinding of Dodd-Frank. The firing up of shuttered coal plants. The rollback of rules that increase overtime pay for low-wage workers.”
Civil rights and our basic freedoms could be in Trump’s sights as well.
11: For example, despite his promises to the contrary, Trump will appoint anti-same sex marriage justices to the courts. Coupled with Vice-President Mike Pence’s extreme hostility to LGBTQ people, there is a real threat to this community.
12: Trump has also said he will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. And, even though he hastily and clumsily retracted his comments, Trump said he believes women who have abortions should face legal consequences. VP Pence, meanwhile, is dedicated to defunding Planned Parenthood (an early attempt, in his home state, caused an AIDS outbreak). This past October, he signed a law mandating funerals for aborted fetuses.
Finally, the random scary stuff.
13: If even half of Trump’s alleged ties to Putin are true, we could be in for some real 1990s-style looting that will make the Gilded Age look like a walk in the park.
14: In fact, we could see an end to American democracy as we know it, as Trump tries to meld his business and political interests, tries to obtain security clearances for his children, and launches unprecedented attacks at our First Amendment rights.
Sweet dreams, America.