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Under Trump, will Republicans and Democrats swap identities?

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Crystal balls have been in short supply lately, since so many were smashed by their angry owners around 3 a.m. on Nov. 9.

I found an inexpensive one that works pretty well (disclosure: it was made by an outsourced U.S. factory in Mexico) and so I gave it a tryout. I asked how the election of Donald Trump will change the identities of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

{mosads}According to the crystal ball, the parties are about to exchange their historic roles. Domestically, Republicans will implement public works projects (a giant infrastructure program) that would have made President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Dealers beam in delight.

That program’s mega-cost, together with Republican advocacy of tax cuts and expanded defense spending, but no cuts in Medicare and Social Security, will make Republicans the party of big government and runaway budget deficits. Since Trump is the last person to accept any restrictions on his authority, the Republican Party will also be the party of broad, unrestrained executive power.

In foreign policy, the Trump administration will cede the western Pacific to China and offer unilateral concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin, such as withdrawing support for the moderate rebels fighting the Syrian government, recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and weakened American guarantees to NATO countries.

That means that the Republican Party will no longer be the party of President Reagan (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”), but the party of appeasement. Comparisons will be made to Democrat Henry Wallace, a secretary of Agriculture in the Franklin Roosevelt administration and later a third-party candidate for president, who contended that the United States should work with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and not confront him.

However, the crystal ball assured me, some things never change. The Republican Party will stick to its traditional conservatism on social and cultural issues.

My crystal ball had to struggle over the future identity of the Democratic Party.

Democrats will vigorously fight Republicans nationally over civil rights and civil liberties, Supreme Court appointments, mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, ending the Affordable Care Act and dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency.

When I asked about the outcome at the national level, though, the crystal ball was a bit cloudy. At the very least, Democratic governors and legislatures in the blue states will take aggressive measures to protect their own citizens from Trumpism and create, in effect, protected spaces for traditional American values.

They will enact tough local environmental standards to limit pollution; take steps to protect undocumented immigrants (New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will make good on his promise to destroy databases that identify undocumented immigrants); expand press freedom by limiting the use of state libel laws to sue journalists; use local laws to protect black, Latino and LGBT rights, and enact state-level Affordable Care Acts.

Inevitably, this will lead to major legal battles between the Trump administration and the blue states. Legal fights will occur, for example, when the Trump administration cuts off federal financing to states with “sanctuary cities” or tries to block strict state environmental pollution laws on the basis of the Supremacy Clause of the constitution.

The Trump administration will argue for a broad interpretation of federal constitutional powers. States and municipalities will advance principles of local autonomy and federalism and might even cite opinions of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Democratic mantra will be “Let Californians run California” and “Let New Yorkers run New York.” In so many words, the Democratic Party will be the party of states’ rights, or, more accurately, blue states’ rights.

Some Southern Republican senators, without the slightest sense of irony, will call them the “reb states.”

Since I am a Democrat, revere the ideals underpinning American greatness and would like to have my country back, I asked about America’s future.

The crystal ball suggested that America’s future depended on something that neither party is doing: addressing both the plight of the working class and preserving American ideals.

Yes, but what’s the path forward to that?

“Stranger, there are no paths,” replied the crystal ball, paraphrasing a Spanish proverb, “paths are made by walking.”

Wallance is a writer, lawyer, former federal prosecutor and the author most recently of “America’s Soul in the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR’s State Department, and the Moral Disgrace of an American Aristocracy. Follow him on Twitter @gregorywallance.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Appeasement blue states Debt deficit Democratic Party Democrats Donald Trump GOP local Republican Party Republicans spending States' rights

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