Trump isn't stupid. Contrary to popular opinion in Europe you don't get elected as US President if you are. No matter what many on the left want to believe about the clever 'folksy' manipulator that was Ronald Reagan.
It is of course entirely possible that Trump's arrogance and insecurity coupled with his genuinely extremist political views will result in such a complete mess in such double quick time that everyone who voted for him will see the full horror of what they have ended up with. But don't hold your breath. It is much more likely that it will take a lot longer for him to be fully exposed than any of us on the left would like and - whisper it - some of the things he tries might even work, in his own terms, for a short period of time. Predicting a rapid crash and burn may simply play straight into his hands and weaken the credibility of his critics.
So I think it is wise to try and work out whether in any areas of policy he might be able to appear to be successful. I've already written about the economy and predicted that his tariff barriers and his ban on immigration coupled with a major programme of public works and a massive tax hike will have two economic impacts. One is a temporary boost to the US economy which is highly likely to go down well with voters. Another is a major spike in inflation that will hit US living standards, particularly for the poor. That won't go down at all well. And the third is a serious increase in the gap between government spending and revenues. That is a dangerous gamble.
A short period of deficit finance to get over a recession is quite a good anti-austerity policy. A desperate hope that tax savings will generate enough extra economic activity to pay for themselves is not. All in all, his economic policies may very well result in a temporary boost for the economy. They will also drive up inflation and leave the US economy highly vulnerable to further wild swings in the financial markets - particularly the currency ones. If this analysis is even remotely right then it is not impossible some of his policies might achieve short term economic growth at significant human cost. The more economically damaging consequences of Trump's policies are much more likely to kick in a couple of years down the line.
When it comes to international relations the picture may also not be just a rapid and dramatic negative on every count. Start with relations with Russia. I happen to believe that Trump did benefit from deliberate manipulation of the election by a hostile foreign power. I also happen to believe that Putin is a very determined narrow minded nationalist who has the expansion of Russian territory and Russian influence as one of his prime motivations. I opposed Russian actions in Syria and don't for one second think that his actions in the Ukraine are those of a peace loving man who simply wishes to protect the rights of Russian speakers who ended up on the wrong side of the border. That doesn't mean I think it is a great idea to re-start the cold war. Or that every inch of land within the current borders of Ukraine is the sacred property of extreme Ukrainian nationalists. Or that what the West has done in Syria or the Yemen in alliance with Saudi Arabia is much, if any, better than what Putin has been doing.
What is better? A hard stand-off between West and Russian nationalists both determined to re-arm themselves to the hilt? Or a far right political leader in the US who wishes to cut US foreign involvement and negotiate an arms reduction treaty with Putin? Trump may very easily get taken for a ride. He may very easily lose his cool and suddenly switch into a very aggressive stance. It is also just possible that he might be able to get the right to accept a peace deal that it wouldn't take from anyone else. After all it was Nixon who signed the deal with Mao's China. If Trump does the unthinkable and cuts American arms spending in order to put the savings into investment in domestic infrastructure then on this one issue many of us might find ourselves struggling to say why that would be so very wrong. I am not saying I expect him to do this. I am simply saying it is on the possibility map and we would be foolish to write it off as something that couldn't happen.
It is also just possible that things might not be every bit as bad as most of us are predicting when it comes to a Middle East peace deal. Trump has said some dangerous things about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and one of his first acts after holding hands with May was to welcome the Israeli leader to the White House. But what Trump had to say after that visit wasn't quite what the far right in Israel had hoped for. He asked for a pause in settlement building. He said he was happy with any solution that both the Palestinian and the Israeli's liked. Admittedly stating that he didn't care whether it was one state or two state could be viewed as a dangerous abandonment of the UN position. It is also remotely possible that he meant what he said. Two peoples have a future in Israel/Palestine and both need to sign up to any deal. That isn't entirely what the extreme nationalists in power in Israel expected to hear from a President they thought was one of their own. The implications for a Middle East peace deal are not easy to read but it may be a mistake to assume Trump's stance will be naively pro every fantasy of Israel's own religious extremists. It may take a far right US politician to tell these people the truth. They can't wipe out the Palestinians. Israel is going to need to be pressurised hard by the US if there is ever going to be a lasting peace and it will be easier for Trump to do this than anyone else. If, repeat if, he has the appetite.
Again, don't get me wrong on this. I do not expect Trump to do this. I am simply saying he might. I don't expect him to head for the centre ground. I do not expect him to become more moderate in power. I do not expect him to start sounding Presidential and to move beyond the petulant antics of a spoiled kid who has got everything that money can buy but still feels empty and insecure to the depths of his soul. I disagree profoundly with his genuine racism, his appalling attitudes to women and his determination to destroy the last remnants of the welfare state so that the rich can enjoy an even bigger share of the pie. I think we should be opposing him at every opportunity we get and I'll certainly be out on the streets trying to get over the message that he is not welcome in the UK no matter how many times our Prime Minister holds his hand.
But what I am saying is that I want to oppose him effectively. I think we risk playing into his hands unless we try to analyse realistically any policies which he might possibly follow. It only serves to make our analysis look weak later down the line if we predict immediate and universal chaos and collapse in every sphere and then universal chaos and disaster doesn't immediately materialise. Enough bad things are happening for us to have plenty of targets to attack. Let's attack those targets carefully not fire off at every mirage we think we see.