What if Donald Trump wins the 2016 United States presidential election? While the odds remain stacked against a Trump victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to expert political observers, election forecasters give the New York businessman and first-time political candidate a significant chance of victory — and that has led numerous experts to try to figure out the actual consequences of a Trump win in November.
Top election forecasters, who use polling averages and other statistical data to calculate the probability of a Trump win, have come up with varying estimates of his chances. The best-known election forecaster, FiveThirtyEight.com founder and editor Nate Silver, is the most optimistic about a Donald Trump win.
— Jordan H. Green (@jordanhgreen) July 20, 2016
Silver’s statistical model as of July 23 gave Donald Trump a 42.3 percent chance of winning the November election, based on accumulated current polling figures. The New York Times election-predicting site, The Upshot, is less bullish on Donald Trump, estimating a smaller, but still significant 26 percent probability of a Trump win, while Princeton Election Consortium, a 12-year-old project of Princeton University, assigned Trump just a 20 percent chance of victory as of this week.
The numbers show that a Donald Trump win, while less likely than a Hillary Clinton victory, remains a very real possibility. But given the unusual candidate’s often volatile and unpredictable nature exhibited on the campaign trail, what would happen if he became president. What if Trump wins?
Experts say the consequences could be unprecedented.
One unprecedented development that could happen if Trump wins, according to Foreign Policy Initiative fellow James Kirchick, writing July 19 in The Los Angeles Times, could be a military coup, that is, a rebellion against the government by the armed forces — similar to the coup attempted in Turkey last week in which that country’s army attempted to overthrow an elected president who they say was moving toward becoming a dictator.
“Throughout the campaign, Trump has repeatedly bragged about ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, and has dismissed the possibility that he would face any resistance.”
Faced with orders from President Trump to commit unlawful acts, the military — which is also sworn to defend the U.S. Constitution — could find itself backed into a corner, with no choice but to rebel against the Commander-in-Chief.
Another consequence of a Trump win on the international front, say foreign policy experts, may be a takeover by Vladimir Putin and Russia of eastern Europe — and even beyond.
In an interview with The New York Times this week, Trump said he would not honor the NATO treaty, which requires the U.S. to defend other members of the alliance against foreign attacks or invasions.
Trump said that as president he would defend nations threatened by Putin and Russia only if those countries paid a certain amount of money.
“I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself,'” Trump said — essentially giving the green light to Russian invasions or other aggressive acts.
“All of this indicates Trump would be willing to let Vladimir Putin exert and expand his hegemonic impulse across Eastern Europe — and even further — in order to preserve American resources,” wrote Teo Armus of the National Memo news site on Thursday.
tbt the time Donald Trump invited Russia to invade several European countries https://t.co/gq6Hqk2x66 pic.twitter.com/o1PwwzOsoa
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 21, 2016
On the domestic front, a Trump win over Clinton would mean a dramatic rise in racial tensions, even leading to a sharp increase in violence and hate crimes, as extreme right-wing “white nationalist” and other neo-Nazi groups feel newly empowered by Trump’s often extreme statements on race and immigration, according to former Harvard University National Security Analyst Harvey Simon, who is also author of the speculative novel, President Trump.
“White nationalists, and those who sympathize with some of their views, will become emboldened, should Trump win in November. After his election, Trump’s rhetoric will become policy,” Simon wrote in The Huffington Post. “The new Deportation Force he promised will start to sweep 11 million illegal immigrants off the streets, wreaking havoc in Hispanic communities and demonizing Latinos in the eyes of many Trump supporters.”
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For Hillary Clinton herself, the consequences of a Trump win could be grave. The investigation into her use of a private email server while Secretary of State would be reopened, according to former New York Mayor and U.S. Prosecutor Rudy Giuliani — with criminal charges as the result.
“If Donald Trump becomes president, the statute of limitations is not up. There is no double jeopardy. We can reopen the case,” the 2008 Republican presidential candidate said in an interview this week. “She’s going to be running to try to prevent getting an orange jumpsuit.”
Donald Trump has also said that if he were to win, he would prosecute Hillary Clinton over the email case, and on the campaign trail he has called for her to be jailed.
[Featured Image By Alex Wong / Getty Images]