Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-13-2019, 12:07 PM
Running with Scissors is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Small blue-green planet
Posts: 1,392

Which Trump administration policies won't the next administration be able to undo?

Donald Trump has apparently made it his mission to undo almost all of the Obama-era policies. Are there any of these policies (or any new policies) that can't be undone or redone by the next administration? There are obvious things, such as the SCOTUS change, or the Iran treaty, which would require re-negotiation. How about the net-neutrality thing? Or the new public-charge immigration rule?

Inquiring minds want to know.
"You can't really dust for vomit." -- Nigel Tufnel
Old 08-13-2019, 12:42 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 84,439

I can see factual questions, here, and I would like to remind all Dopers to keep their replies factual, as well. This is GQ, not GD nor the Pit.
Old 08-13-2019, 01:09 PM
Horatius is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 1,150
I'm not sure if there are any policies that could not be undone, but the effects of some policies will be hard to fix. There are a lot of experienced government employees in things like the sciences and the intelligence community who are leaving the government because of Trump's policies. Even if the next President reverses the policies that caused this, getting those people to come back will be difficult if not impossible.

And for a lot of those jobs,it takes years to develop the knowledge and skill sets needed to be good at the job. The loss of institutional knowledge will be felt for years after Trump is history.
Old 08-13-2019, 02:34 PM
md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,905
The obvious one is the Supreme Court nominees. The only option the next president has is if they choose to invoke FDR's threat and expand the Supreme Court to a larger number (maybe, 11 judges) to "rebalance" it.

The other real question is - even if the policies can be reversed, how much damage has already followed? Very much under the radar is Trump's pick for FCC, Ajit Pai - who appears to be more of a lobbyist for large telecom than one enforcing the rights of consumers. (Again, straying into politics, but...) By removing the mandate for net neutrality, it may provide a serious impediment to the development of some new internet enterprises, but that too is a debate topic.

The tax cuts appear so far to be mainly creating a larger deficit - the positive feedback cycle claimed has yet to appear. This really isn't a Trump thing only, but he's aggravated it by cutting taxes bigly. The US government ahs for years spent consistently more than it takes in (deficit) and this has in the last decade or two been about $1.25 for every $1 taken in. Something has to give - more taxes or less spending. It was one thing to spend to get the economy moving again, it's another to reduce taxes while the economy is booming and more money is needed by the government.

People deported are pretty much irreversible too, unless there's a "please come back" movement brewing - which I sincerely doubt.

The Jerusalem embassy move could be reversed, but that has broken an unspoken agreement of some sort of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian relations that will be very difficult for the USA to repair; the Palestinians will no longer regard the USA as having any semblance of consideration for the Palestinian position. Trust once broken is hard to re-establish. China too is working hard (spending hard) to earn the hearts and minds (and resources) of the third world as the USA abandons attempts to maintain good diplomatic relations. Again, every year that goes by makes it harder to change things. Even NATO - do you think that the other members will quickly forget that the USA at any time is only one election away from being an abusive uncooperative member?

These are not explicit, written policies but they are damage.

Last edited by md2000; 08-13-2019 at 02:34 PM.
Old 08-13-2019, 03:51 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 19,853
Trump is trying to get as much timber from our National Forests into logging companies hands without dealing with the long term regulations. So, for example, clearcutting largish chunks of our forests won't require environmental review, etc.

Once an old growth forest is clear cut, that's it. Forget the next administration trying to undo it. The recovery time is centuries if you're lucky.

Note that by easing the rules, etc., there is a glut of forestland for the companies to deal with. So when the USFS puts tracts up for auction, they will go for bargain prices. This is not an unintended consequence. Like with such overselling of coal and offshore oil sites in the past. Once they go for a song, the next admin can't get them back and sell them later, more slowly, for a fairer price.
Old 08-13-2019, 05:40 PM
Hari Seldon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 12,913
The biggest think he will not be able to undo is loss of trust. The whole world now realizes that an agreement with the US ain't worth the paper its printed on and it will take a long long time to recreate the trust. The tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum on the grounds of national security were especially hard to bear here. They destroyed the supply chains that had been built up since the first free-trade agreement 25 years ago.
Old 08-13-2019, 06:00 PM
scr4 is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,958
Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
I'm not sure if there are any policies that could not be undone, but the effects of some policies will be hard to fix. ..
e.g. if they go ahead and weaken the Endangered Species Act, the consequence (extinction of species) will be impossible to reverse.

Last edited by scr4; 08-13-2019 at 06:00 PM.
Old 08-13-2019, 06:09 PM
Velocity is online now
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 14,882
The only thing that is truly undoable is the judiciary. Trump has Kav and Gorsuch on SCOTUS and has also been quietly getting many judges put onto the circuit courts (which in some ways can be even more important than SCOTUS itself.)

Otherwise, everything else is reversible. It's just a matter of how willing and how far the next administration is willing to go to undo it. It could be worth more trouble to the D's than good to undo some things.
Old 08-15-2019, 06:29 PM
PoppaSan's Avatar
PoppaSan is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: West shore Lake Michigan
Posts: 2,345
Trump was not able to EO a reversal of Obama's EO known as DACA. That is still proceeding through the judicial branch. As Trump found out, EO's are not automatically valid. His successor will learn that also.
This place is beginning to feel like a tin foil hat convention.
Old 08-15-2019, 06:52 PM
md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,905
The biggest thing by far, I think is how much precedent has been endangered. The 2-term limit was a gentleman's agreement until FDR went for 4 terms (admittedly under interesting circumstances). Then it became a constitutional limitation.

The current issue the last while is the public bullying of the Fed to lower interest rates. Interfering in Federal Reserve interest rate polices is a violation of a strong "hands off" precedent that has helped keep the market stable for several decades. It could be a slippery slope to recession and third world style economic disaster. I don't suggest previous presidents have not done this, but the current rhetoric, like much of Trump's rhetoric, crosses a line and sets a new norm that future presidents might be tempted to follow.

Like much of what's happening in Washington, it's not as much what is being done as how it is being done. Once everyone is rolling in the gutter it's hard to get clean.
Old 08-16-2019, 07:14 AM
Napier is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,525
There are Constitutional elements that don't seem to have any teeth behind them, such as the ditched SCOTUS appointment of Garland -- the Constitution describes how the Senate functions, but doesn't throw anybody in jail when it refuses. This one is broader than Trump's administration and happened before Trump took office, but it was part of the system that stole a SCOTUS seat for Trump to fill. The Constitution is empty other than people's belief in following it, like money or language or law.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017