Imagining a successful Trump presidency

Trump complains about allies freeloading more rudely than did his predecessors, Schake noted, but the complaint isn’t new; maybe he can get somewhere. Similarly, he’s hardly the first president to promise in a campaign to help those left behind by trade; maybe he will be the one to do something about it.

“There’s a lot of stuff that needs fixing,” Schake said. “He’s going to break a lot of china, but there are opportunities to do things better.”

In practice, experts here such as Richard Epstein hope that means fewer regulations and lower taxes, which they say could spur investment — providing that the positive effects are not swamped by Trump-initiated trade wars or Trumpian interference in market decisions, such as telling companies where and how much to invest.

Overseas, the administration might seek stability via understandings with Russia and China. China could promise fairer access to its market for U.S. firms, less theft of intellectual property, maybe even more direct investment and job creation in the United States.