The default future for the Trump presidency is much less change from Bush – Obama policies than people fear or hope for.  Trump, like most presidents,  will attempt half of what he says and succeed at maybe half of what he attempts.  An interesting question is what of that subset of things he tries and achieves might work to the good or the bad?

Politically Trump is an authoritarian moderate, closest to politicians like Giuliani and Christie who have been his neighbors his whole life.  Personally I’m no authoritarian, I support legalization of all drugs and other extreme{!] libertarian positions like shutting down a good three quarters of the federal government. But as a mental exercise it’s interesting to ask  – how might an authoritarian president achieve something good or useful.

Trump’s pitch to black voters was “what do you have to lose?”  Funny pitch with our first black POTUS in office, except for the BLM protests and return of 60’s style race riots over Obama’s tenure.  Whatever else you say about BLM, it shows that many people across the country, especially blacks in inner cities, do not trust their local police force. It is a failure of government, in fact, a failure of government by Democratic political machine with unionized public employees. And the failure is deeper than just policing.  In most of the major urban areas of the country, neighborhoods that were thriving black business districts in the 1950s are now war zones with abandoned properties, junkies living on welfare plus panhandling, and criminal gangs that commit a few thousand homicides a year.

Obama, in response to BLM  protests (which he likely had a hand in planning), has proposed to federalize law enforcement across the country, starting with training. That’s is a terrible idea that will ensure zero accountability continues.

When the Ferguson riots first occurred there was a wonderful discussion of the issue by Charles Barkley and Kenny Johnson, more intelligent than anything else in the MSM. About that same time I was thinking that the solution is to privatize the police forces and let the voters choose among competing private security forces.  I will admit there are ways this plan could backfire, with someone like Louis Farrakhan, or the Crips, or the Bloods, or the Zetas, or the Nortenas in charge of policing a neighborhood. The best protection against that is to decentralize the private policing decisions down to the lowest precinct level.  I realized I was not the right person to lead an effort to make this happen. I tried to contact Charles Barkley,thinking he had the name and the charisma to push this forward. He must have real busy back then cause I never heard from him.

The opposition to private policing would be enormous.  It is not going to happen. Another way to decentralize is to elect the police chief or sergeant in each lowest level precinct and allow him to operate free of unions and with minimal regulation and full authority to hit and fire.  Decentralization eliminates single points of failure, such as big urban political machines.  Opposition to this will be very strong as well.

Realistically libertarian, decentralizing solutions aren’t happening. What could an authoritarian do? How about martial law in the inner cities?  Apart from black neighborhoods in inner cities police are generally trusted across the country more than most institutions, but the military is even more trusted.

As a libertarian I really don’t like the idea that the government would get in the habit of declaring martial law.  So I would want to limit it as much as possible.  So will the Democrats, I am sure.  In fact, they will probs all out oppose it, but they took the filibuster out of Senate rules when they last had control.  So how could we work together and limit martial law?

  1. Confined by time, say two years.
  2. Confined by mission to assure public safety and enforce only gun laws, in particular keeping guns out of the hands of felons with violent history.
  3. Confined to cities that have been targets of protests and accusations, i.e. Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, St Louis Ferguson.whatever others

Then there are the rules of engagement.  The RoE between police and other citizens is the core issue in disputes over police shootings.  Better political leadership would focus on clearly communicating these RoE to all citizens.  But calling Americans racist is an easy out for lots of people including BH Obama. It avoids accountability for a failure of government.  If survey on trust is true, most americans will support giving as much or more respect, deference and obedience to the military as to the police.  But military, in carrying out this mission would be wise to clearly communicate the RoE directly and repeatedly via social media.

If this limited dose of martial law significantly increases public safety and lowers crime in inner cities, that’s a win for everyone.