Following his unexpected victory, Trump is quickly becoming America’s most consequential conservative president, making him a one-man flock of Black Swans.
A “Black Swan Event” is one that:
- Comes as a surprise – i.e., a “high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare event . . . beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, [or] technology;
- Has a major effect, and
- Is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact because of psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event’s massive role in historical affairs
A year and a half ago, pundits and pollsters gave Trump virtually no chance of winning the Republican nomination for President. Indeed, over half of America thought it was a joke when Trump entered the GOP primary in 2016. Feel free to raise your hand if you were one of the many.
Our country was in dire straits at that point. Obama, through regulatory overreach, new taxation, and Obamacare, had shackled our economy. Worse, Obama had taken our nation so far past the point of a constitutional crisis that it threatened a de facto end to our American experiment. As the November 2016 election approached, we were (and still very much are), to quote Victor Davis Hanson, in an “existential war for the soul of America.”
That war needed to be fought at multiple levels. Congress needed to have its Art. I Sec. I power restored. Only Congress has the power to pass and amend laws. But during the Obama era, we suddenly had “laws” from the President through executive orders (a constitutional violation so egregious even Saturday Night Live spoofed it); the regulatory bureaucracy, the FCC, the Courts, the DOJ, and even the Sec. of Education.
Our Supreme Court system, with its unelected justices, was poised to sit as a Politburo, subject to the addition of just one more Proggie justice. It badly needed to be reformed in line with Art. III.
Obama had entered into oppressive so-called foreign “treaties” — i.e., the Paris Accord and the Iran Deal — without Article II approval from the Senate. Those Frankenstein’s monsters needed to be revoked.
The list of necessary domestic battles at the end of Obama’s eight years went on and on: The economy had to be unleashed by rolling back the regulatory explosion under Obama. Rule of law and equality of justice for all — Hildabeast included — needed to be reestablished.
None of the above even touches upon Obama’s foreign policy accomplishments (or, more accurately, disasters), which left us with a Middle East in flames, ISIS ascendant, Iran on a glide path towards developing a nuclear arsenal, and North Korea building out its nuclear arsenal. Our new President would have to deal with a far more dangerous world than the one Obama had inherited in 2009.
As the 2016 primaries heated up, sixteen of the seventeen candidates, all of those not named Trump, seemed to be up to the task of righting at least some of the above. Then came the first of Trump’s Black Swan Events: he clinched the Republican nomination. Every aspect of that moment ticked off an item on the Black Swans checklist:
- Unforeseen: You bet’cha. By the end of the primary season, pundits were describing Trump’s victory as a “hostile takeover” and a “coup.”
- Consequential: Yes, because at a critical moment for our country, when we most needed an effective leader to stop the prog juggernaut, we instead got the seemingly least capable man for the job, and probably the only man who could lose the election for Republicans. (Or so I believed at the time. Given how close the election was, and given that probably only Trump could successfully make the case to Reagan Democrats in the mid-West states that he would turn the economy around to their benefit, I question whether any other Republican could have won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and with them, the 2016 election.)
- Inappropriately rationalized afterwards: Yes, in the extreme, by me and a lot of other NeverTrumpers, but few as unhinged as Bill Kristol. Most NeverTrumpers, however, came back to the Republican fold over the issue of a Supreme Court nomination and Trump’s promise to nominate a constitutional conservative.
Then came the second Black Swan event, when Trump won the Presidency on November 8, 2016. Again, the Black Swans checklist plays out:
- Unforeseen: Virtually no pollster or pundit gave Trump any realistic shot of winning the general election — at least until votes were being tallied across the nation at about 9:30 Eastern Time on election night. Talk about shock and awe. If you need a quick shot of schadenfreude, YouTube has many videos showing pundits making a real quick trip through Kübler-Ross’s first four stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, with acceptance still not having kicked in).
- Consequential: Yes, because, as Kurt Schlicter has been wont to put it, Trump’s election meant “not Hillary.” The final Progressive offensive on the fabric of our nation that a Hildabeast presidency promised had just suffered a defeat akin to — and as consequential as — Drake’s defeat of the Armada Spain sent across the Channel in 1588 A.D. to overthrow the British government.
- Inappropriately rationalized afterwards? Heh. Lol. ROFLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. The Proggie left still hasn’t come to terms with the election, believing it to have been the culmination of Trump voters releasing their inner racist (according to the race hustlers), Trump voters releasing their inner misogynist (according to the 3rd wave vagina voters), and Trump’s evil plan, hatched in a urine soaked room in Moscow with Vladimir Putin and hookers, to steal the election by having Russia: (a) release actual DNC staff emails showing that the DNC did in fact rig the primaries to make sure Bernie lost to Hildabeast; and (b) by running what we now know was about $350,000 worth of ads on Twitter and Facebook, most of which did not appear until after the election. Russia’s laughably small outlay managed to steal the election from Hildabeast, who spent $1,200,000,000 on the election. My but those Rooskies are efficient.
And now we come to question of the moment. Was Trump’s first year in office so surprising and consequential as to itself rise to the level of a Black Swan event? This post says “yes”:
- Unforeseen: I and many another NeverTrumpers thought Trump could well be the death of the conservative movement.
- Consequential: Given that Trump is on track to be the most consequential conservative president in our nation’s history, I think that the answer must be a “yes — it was consequential.” As Mark Tapscott put it at Instapundit, Trump may well be “out-gippering the Gipper.” It is astounding that Trump is following through with a vengeance on virtually all of his campaign promises.
- Inappropriately rationalized afterwards? Given the daily inundation of MSM primal screams that Trump is an _________________ (fill in the blank with your favorite pejorative). . . . Well, I’ll leave you to answer that one yourself.
With that as preamble, let’s examine the specifics of Trump’s first year accomplishments: [Read more…]