The Republican convention has provided a very detailed portrait of what the party imagines would be possible during a Hillary Clinton administration. The predictions mostly sound like they were taken from IMDb summaries of the worst-grossing action films of the past 20 years and entail entering an endless series of nouns in the sentence, "She will let ________ invade the U.S. and destroy us all." By the end of the event on Thursday, the list of nouns will probably stretch to include not only ISIS, immigrants, criminals, Black Lives Matter, her dastardly lies, liberal values, solar panels, and corruption, but also the mother of dragons, extraterrestrial beings, the general plot of The Leftovers, and 100 horse-size ducks.
The convention has been less illuminating about what would await us in a Donald Trump administration, perhaps partly because most of the speakers have avoided mentioning his name. A few speakers have mentioned concrete ways in which they believe Trump would influence policy, but most of the interesting revelations about what a Trump administration might look like have been more … accidental, or were unearthed in reporting.
Here's a quick rundown of some of the clues the convention has given us about Trump's governing priorities.
Trump will protect your guns.
As The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza tweeted last night, "Chris Cox of the NRA was actually the first speaker to make a coherent policy-based case for Trump." The National Rifle Association's head lobbyist was the eighth speaker that night. However, his argument for electing Trump mostly entailed arguing that "a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court means your right to own a firearm is gone."
He didn't actually describe Trump's specific ideas on guns, but did mention that he was a lifetime member of the NRA. We can call this a policy plan only through inference, assuming that Cox believes that the nominee's views on guns can be discovered by taking Clinton's views and writing down the exact opposite and headlining said document, "Trump's Policy Memo on Freedom and Firearms."
Politifact has rated the claim that Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, "False."
Trump will protect coal.
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito gave a speech about how Trump will protect the coal industry on Tuesday night. At least we think she did, if we again apply Newton's Third Law and assume that the Republican candidate will just do the opposite of Hillary Clinton, who has, per Capito, "promised to devastate communities and families across coal country. Hillary Clinton understands coal miners and blue-collar workers about as well as she understands secure emails."
Trump will DESTROY HILLARY CLINTON.
Hmmm, I thought we agreed that this wasn't a policy? Aren't you supposed to be talking about jobs to LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!
Trump will do anything in Mitch McConnell's dream diary.
The Senate Majority Leader, who has said that Trump "doesn't know a lot about the issues," argued that his administration would make it possible to implement all the policies that Republican leaders have been daydreaming about ever since President Obama got elected. Obamacare? Trump would get rid of it. The Keystone pipeline? Trump would build it. He would defund Planned Parenthood. In other words, a Trump administration would let Republicans in Congress raid the candy store.
Trump will HILLARY CLINTON SHOULD FACE A FIRING SQUAD.
New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro told a radio show on Tuesday, per BuzzFeed, that Hillary Clinton "should be put in the firing line and shot for treason." When asked to explain his comments to WMUR, he did not take them back. "As far as I’m concerned," he added, "it is treason and the penalty for treason is the firing squad — or maybe it’s the electric chair now."
When attending an event with Trump in May, Baldasaro said, "I think the liberal media, you need to get your head out of your butt and focus on the real issue."
It is not clear what that issue is.
Trump will make America great again and maybe just delegate most of the policy issues to Mike Pence.
New York Times Magazine published a story on Tuesday that explained how Trump picked Mike Pence. It began with a story about John Kasich that revealed the depth of Trump's interest in actual governing.
Or as New York magazine put it, "Trump Plans to License His Name to His Administration, Not to Run It."
Trump tweeted that this story was untrue, however, so let's just replace this with an assumption that President Trump will enter all of his Rose Garden speeches while air-drumming to dramatic ’70s and ’80s music.
Trump will fire people.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Trump is going to urge Congress, when it isn't busy passing all the bills that have been hibernating for the past eight years, to consider legislation that would make it easier to get rid of government workers. Chris Christie reportedly discussed this move in a meeting with donors and said that Trump's people were worried that Obama appointees would become civil servants before the end of his term, making it much harder for Trump to get rid of them. Reuters also notes that Christie said "the Trump team wants to let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector. Trump frequently says he is better equipped to be president because of his business experience."
So Trump wants to bring manufacturing back by turning his administration into a conflict of interest factory, perhaps?
Trump will GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!
As the theme of last night's event was Make America Work Again and Hillary Clinton was mentioned more than anyone else, it seems like we are left with no choice but to assume that Trump is planning to create many jobs in the Hillary Clinton sector — building a wall around Chappaqua to keep Clinton trapped inside, and revitalizing the textile industry by increasing production of Hillary Clinton–related apparel. Unfortunately, the scenario where Clinton wins will also create lots of jobs in the Hillary Clinton sector — giving Republicans four years to continue airing the same arguments that we've heard for the past two days, and employing massive resources to do so.
But there are still two days left — including Trump's big speech. Maybe he'll fill in some details about the immigration and economic promises that helped make him intriguing to voters — promises that most of the other people at the convention seem to want everyone to forget ever happened. Or maybe no one cares what Trump wants to do because defeating Hillary is good enough. Or maybe revealing these plans would be a spoiler, and we have to wait until the new season of the presidency starts in January to find out what happens.