A new administration in Washington, DC always involves a change in priorities and new policies. But if President Trump loses to Joe Biden in November, it could trigger a more abrupt turn than usual.
Some Trump policies are based directly on the president’s preferences and ideas, with little institutional support from either party. If Trump isn’t there to push them, no one will. Biden has identified many ways he could change the Trump agenda, mostly through legislation or executive action, after taking office next year. But some things could change sooner. Five areas to watch:
Business negotiations. Trump says he would be fine with a new economic bill totaling $ 2 trillion, close to what Congressional Democrats are aiming for. But Trump would likely change his mind if he lost. A massive new stimulus package would obviously benefit Trump ahead of the election as he could apply for credit for aid to millions of voters who fall back on their bills. But Trump has been lukewarm the whole time about more incentives, even at one point Break off negotiations until after the election. He quickly changed his mind, but Trump will have little to gain from showing a big business cycle after the election, whether he wins or loses.
The next economic stimulus package now depends entirely on the election result. If Biden wins and the Democrats seize the Senate to take full control of Congress, they could pass bill the size of the $ 2.4 trillion package the House passed in May. That’s probably why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been having slow conversational talks all fall. An outcome where Republicans have control of the Senate or the White House, or both, is likely to result in a much smaller package since Senate Republicans are only willing to make up to $ 500 billion or so. Without the pressure to vote, they couldn’t even go that high.
The Google antitrust case. Trump has Google beat up for discriminating against conservatives (with no evidence), so it’s worth asking if his administration’s new antitrust lawsuit against the search giant is due to Trump’s personal hostility towards the company. Eleven states, all with Republican administrations, joined the Justice Department’s lawsuit, giving the case a partisan touch. Advocates General in several Democratic States say they too could sue Google for anticompetitive behavior, but with a different focus.
Regulators have been scrutinizing Google’s market power since the Obama administration, and there is a non-partisan interest in limiting the company’s weight. However, a Biden government could take a different approach. The Trump administrative suit focuses on Google’s near-monopoly online search result. Some Democratic regulators are advocating a broader effort that could focus on splitting entities like YouTube, the Google search engine, and other departments. It’s also possible that Democratic states that are unwilling to join a Trump administration lawsuit may be more willing to join a Biden lawsuit, making an antitrust lawsuit against Google more imposing. Even so, such a suit is likely to keep going for years and Google could catch on.
The TikTok-Oracle-Walmart Deal. Trump threatened to ban the popular Chinese app TikTok this year unless an American company bought it. Oracle and Walmart reached an agreement to purchase the social media service from Chinese parent company ByteDance in September, but the Chinese government has not yet approved it. If there is no agreement, the Trump ban is due to go into effect on November 14, 11 days after the election. It’s a safe bet that the Chinese government will hold out to see who wins. If it’s Trump, China could have good reasons to go along with the deal. But if Biden wins, China could foreclose the purchase and increase Biden’s chances of winning. Trump himself could even throw in the towel and lift his ban if Biden wins, as Trump tends to lose interest in issues once he’s out of stake.
The case of the Supreme Court of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The High Court will hear a case a week after Election Day seeking to invalidate the entire ACA. The plaintiffs are multiple Republican-run states, but the Trump administration has joined them to kill the law. If Biden beats Trump, the federal government’s position is sure to change in that case, as Biden and most of the Democrats are strong supporters of the ACA. If Biden wins, the court will hear the case in full in November, knowing that the federal government will switch sides on the case once Biden takes office. Additionally, if they win and Dems take over the Senate, Biden should be able to pass an amendment to the 2010 law raise the case of the Supreme Court for discussionand therefore preserve the ACA. Again, the court would know this will come when it tries the case on November 10, but it wouldn’t happen until early 2021. That alone could weaken the plaintiffs’ case, which is why a Biden win dramatically improves the ACA’s chances of staying intact.
The Trump tariffs. Trump has introduced tariffs on around $ 355 billion of imports from China and other countries, in an unsuccessful attempt to direct more production back to the United States. Some foreign manufacturers have moved to other low-tariff countries, but not back to the US coast. Biden probably Trump tariffs won’t be eliminated immediately if he wins, but it will embark on a new course on trade that will focus on alliances and a multilateral approach to containment of China, rather than Trump’s militant stand-alone strategy. China and other trading partners are preparing for this, which means that if Trump loses, Trump’s trade reforms are likely to dissolve quickly. Trump has already indicated He’s gone out of a “Phase 2” trading business with China, originally due in 2021. Biden is likely to leverage Trump’s tariffs to make other concessions, but expects a surge in optimism about trade if Trump leaves. The challenge for Biden would be to maintain optimism when he takes office.
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounder: How winners move from setback to success. ”Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: [email protected]. Encrypted communication available. Click here to Receive Rick’s stories by email.