After the dust settles Tuesday night where will our biggest trading partner be?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 4th, 2016



So the election is Tuesday and like so many others, I am not crazy about either of the main candidates Americans have to choose between. For a while it sure looked like Hillary had it in the bag, but the FBI staged something as close to a coup as one can in a liberal democracy. And now it’s too close to call. Except I’m calling it for Trump. He has the momentum and sometimes stuff just happens – look at Brexit.


The leader of the Western world?

And what would we expect from a President Trump? It will depend on whether he has a Republican Congress or whether he is at the mercy of a Democrat-dominated House and/or Senate. And even if the Republicans keep Congress, it is not a given that they will simply rubber stamp all his nutty notions. Many have distanced themselves since learning of his roving small hands and filthy mind.

But if they managed to bury that hatchet we might see some big changes in American foreign policy given what Trump, the candidate, has said to date. NATO would be in for a shake-up at a minimum, and this might get the EU nations off their butts and taking their own security seriously. The US will break its Paris commitment on climate change, as Trump mimics one of GWB’s earliest actions, and that will have some spill-over here in the great ‘still-white’ north.

We are America’s largest traditional trading partner, after all. And who knows whether Trump will really tear up NAFTA or just tinker with it the way Chretien did with the Canada-US trade deal he inherited?

And would Mexico still pay for the wall?


If it ever gets built – how would Donald Trump make the Mexican government actually pay for it?

Some kind of wall will likely get built along the US/Mexican border, but with much of the border comprised of shared rivers (Rio Grande and Colorado), it won’t be nearly as formidable as the one in his imagination. His promises of mass deportation of illegal migrants will also pale in light of the fact that more Mexicans are now leaving than coming to America. But tough love for criminals will make a comeback, including stop and frisk for minorities, and maybe some new punishment for women who have abortions once he gets his hands on Roe v Wade.

Trump hints that he would make the US insular or isolated, though that was also what “Dubya” said as he was plotting to invade Iraq. The result of which led to ISIS, Trump’s number one target. Though his talk of cooperation with Russia makes one wonder if he’d just abandon all of that Syrian mess for Russia to deal with.

Despite that, it is unlikely that Putin and Trump would be soul mates for very long – there is too much distance between them for that. And with Trump promising an even larger military machine, Putin may very well regret losing Obama as his primary punching bag.


Will this man ever address the Canadian House of Commons?

Trump is wealthy so it is no surprise he is a fan of trickle down economics – give to the rich and it’ll trickle down to the poor. But just about every economist in America says he is wrong, and that his massive tax cuts would result in massive deficits, a falling exchange rate, recession and/or crazy inflation. And with Obamacare gone it’ll be back to getting health insurance the old way – if you can and if you can afford it in the Trumped down economy.

The problem with Trump bringing these few wild promises with him to the White House is that nobody is sure how serious he is about them. The rest of what he is offering is short on detail and full of bravado. And the reason for that is simply that he has such scant knowledge of the issues that would be before him. Even worse he is his own chief advisor and one with zero experience in government.

It could be an ugly election and I feel sorry for Americans. Friends in the US are expecting riots in the streets almost immediately should Clinton win. This election is better, or worse, than anything else on TV these days, with the possible exception of the ABC/CTV series Designated Survivor. And the late night talk shows are almost as much fun to watch.

Except it isn’t funny. Americans are faced with two markedly different visions of their future for the next four years, and if I’m right they’re about to make a huge mistake. It was never supposed to end up like this. Sure we all knew Hillary was going to model for the Democrats but nobody expected this buffoon to to even get the GOP nomination, let alone be readying himself for the role of most powerful leader in the world.


What will she be Wednesday morning – some think it could be just Mrs. Clinton

If  Hillary loses, she’ll have no one to blame but herself. Her flawed judgement calls as Senator and Secretary of State have come back to take their revenge. And while she is a powerful speaker with a solid presence she has failed to connect with so many Americans, like the millennial crowd. But Trump has promised to put her in jail after the election is over, anyway.

One could argue that her time in the foreign office wasn’t her own, that aside from the email flap she was only carrying out Obama’s largely unsuccessful foreign policy. Even the former chief of NATO has come to that conclusion, calling out the US president for his weakness as a leader. One wonders when the Nobel prize folks will be knocking on Obama’s door, asking for their peace prize back. They could have given it to Bob Dylan, but then they’ couldn’t find him.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers is an economist and author who writes weekly on federal and provincial issues, applying his 25 years of involvement with federal and provincial ministries.  Rivers’ involvement in city matters led to his appointment as founding chair of Burlington’s Sustainable Development Committee.  He was also a candidate in a past provincial election

Background links:

Mexico-US BorderCanada-US TradeNATOEconomists on TrumpRepublicans and TrumpDesignated Survivor

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5 comments to After the dust settles Tuesday night where will our biggest trading partner be?

  • Ray Rivers

    It is so good for our American friends to be part of the discussion. My heart goes out to you as you face what has to be an embarrassing election period. Thank you for your contributions.

  • First, I thank you for writing a well thought out and comprehensive piece in a way which states our reality without inspiring a rush to the medicine cabinet in hopes of a fatal overdose. Second, I will candidly say I am in an economic demographic which would greatly benefit from Republican tax policies but far more greatly suffer from the international disaster a Trump victory would bring to the world financial markets. But the future for my daughter and grandchildren far outweighs potential financial benefits from Republican tax policies.

    Born into and partially raised in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy (Rome), owning and reading Mussolini’s autobiography, and studying Gaetano Salvemini’s Under the Axe of Fascism, I feel the underlying agenda of Republicans even pre-dating Reagan is Fascism. Reagan (actually G.H.W. Bush the covert president) enacted this through phasing out the Civil Service Retirement System and replacing it with the Thrift Savings Plan. The CSRS was tax funded and government administered. The TSP took those public funds and invested them in the stock market, favoring those companies most likely to re-pay the administration with financial support for that Party. A huge transfer of public funds to private corporations done and administered by an unelected, appointed official. Mussolini defined Fascism: “Fascism is corporatism.” G.W. Bush attempted to do the same with Social Security, but was stopped by people wise to the agenda. Yet, this plan to privatize Social Security is still afoot, as is the massive transfer of public funds to private companies that own and run prisons; the prison companies have contract clauses which allow them to sue the State if the State does not provide a certain yearly quota of prisoners.

    The Republicans ousted Richard Nixon for, among other things, creating the Environmental Protection Agency. Their continued efforts at de-funding the agency and enacting de-regulation are crudely advanced by Trump’s claims that “Climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.”

    The Affordable Care Act, a favorite whipping post for Republicans, was actually modeled on a successful Republican program in Massachusetts. However, since it was adjusted for nation wide use by Obama, Republicans disowned it and pronounced it anathema. Their stated agenda was to “make the Obama presidency a failed presidency”. In other words, they will do all they can to wreck the country if it is not run their way. Their obstructionism of the past years has led many Americans to conclude that all politicians are at fault and should be replaced by a strongman. This is how dictatorships are made. What’s that old saying, “He made the trains run on time”?

    While some may think they can stage manage Trump in office, as was done with Reagan and G.W. Bush, they fail to realize those who allowed the ascension of Hitler thought the same thing. Trump’s “arrest and deport” agenda is Hitlerian ethnic cleansing under color of law. His hoped for puppet master, Mike Pence, is a fundamentalist Christian zealot whose extremist pro-birth at any cost position would ensure the return of a large undereducated and impoverished underclass with little choice but the military. The Republican hatred of the public school system is up for vote in Georgia through an Amendment which would re-direct tax funds to a private company to take over “failing” public schools. The privatized prison system is the model.

    Now in my mid-seventies, I have seen elections during which people vowed to leave the country were a certain Party to win. Sadly, this is no longer an option. The Republican agenda would bring disastrous consequences to every living thing on this planet. There would be no safe haven.

  • I'm alright now

    Neither candidate is a choice that not many seem to like.
    However Trump never claimed to be a politician but instead has repeatedly stated time and again to the effect that he is an “outsider” and that “the inside ring is broken.”

    I have had the opportunity to travel in the last 10 months and at every opportunity I have asked across 18 states who is going to win in November? Only two people supported Clinton.

    When I had the opportunity to drill down as to why? often the reason was that Trump “Speaks like I do.” As to why not Hillary?, many pointed to the Server scandal and the fact that she was disingenuous when queried by senate inquiry.
    Twenty-seven times she answered questions with either I cannot recall or that she had no knowledge of how her server was set up. In the parlance of lawyers she “Should have known or ought to have known,” with respect to the legality of her system. She has proven herself to be sneaky along with her lecherous husband time and again going back as far as 40 years ago.

    I suppose the imperfection of my polling method, only speaking to the great un-washed and deplorables but otherwise hard working regular folks with regular jobs, could really explain as to why I got the results that I did.
    Tuesday will be interesting but the next four years, hold on to your seats it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

  • Larry

    I hope you are very very wrong – good grief!

  • Stephen White

    Trump’s ability to carry out his agenda will be dependent in whole or in part on the Republicans seizing control of both the Senate and the Congress and that isn’t a given. Even if, by a stroke of luck, the Republicans seized control of both one-third of the Senate and Congress are up for re-election again in 2018. If both houses fall under the control of the Democrats Trump will become a “lame duck” President.

    The most successful Presidents in American history were realists who came up through the House and Senate, and understood that in an American Presidential system the ability to enact change is based on negotiations, conciliation and bargaining. Lyndon Johnson was able to get civil rights legislation enacted by virtue of his ability to “wheel and deal”. Truman and Reagan also understood this. Trump’s idea of negotiations involves brinksmanship, and that isn’t so much negotiation as it is intimidation.

    As for Hillary Clinton her credibility is sadly lacking. Her best hope is that the Democrats control the Senate and Congress and that may give her two years in which to enact meaningful changes.

    The most interesting thing will be what comes after Tuesday night if Trump loses. He is a showman and will likely look at taking control of a media network in order to promote his message and agenda.