Expect the Unexpected

By Sarah Schroeder

On Friday our group will attend the inauguration ceremonies of the 45th President of the United States.

As you all know, this election season was very different from what we are used to. Unexpected candidates, unpredictable campaign events and debates, and a seemingly consistent stream of scandals and gaffes made for a campaign that is unlike one I have ever heard of. The Atlantic (whom we visited on Tuesday) called the current political atmosphere a “chaos syndrome,” or a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. This includes weak parties and party leaders, and political elites no longer having any structural control, developing a loss of organizational politics. This helps to explain some of the chaos that happened during the campaign.

During an election that not even the most seasoned and accurate pundits and pollsters predicted, the motto of many became ‘expect the unexpected.’

And that has been the message we’ve received so far during our trip in Washington D.C.

What we can expect from the Trump administration is completely unknown. This is for a variety of reasons, namely a lack of specific policy proposals during the campaign and transition period, and a lack of consistency regarding his positions on issues.

Another area with a considerable amount of uncertainty is Trump’s relationship with Congress. With both the House and Senate controlled by Republicans, it is possible that Trump will fall in line with the Republican party, or the Republican party will fall in line with him. Or the opposite could happen and the two will continue to be at odds. We don’t know how Congress will work or what will happen with the triad of Republican power.

It is unknown which of Trump’s promises will translate into policy and what was just campaigning. Every politician makes a certain amount of promises to get elected that are not realistic, or the candidate has not intention of actually pursuing. Because Trump made such a vast amount of promises, it is extremely difficult to distinguish what he will prioritize and intends to implement.

What will come on Friday is also very unexpected. Details from logistics to entertainment to Trump’s inaugural address are all mirky at best. At this point it is only fitting that an extremely unpredictable candidate will have an unpredictable ceremony, presumably followed by an unpredictable presidency.

Throughout the past two years of the 2016 Presidential election, a lot of unexpected events have occurred. I don’t know what to expect Friday and I don’t know what to expect during the next four years.

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