The Legacy of President Donald Trump
He was America's tour guide on its loudest, most exhausting, and longest-ever journey in a circle.
Reports say Donald Trump has lost it. Unable to face the reality that he will no longer be president soon, stung by public repudiations from the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell, Vladimir Putin, Bill Barr, and other erstwhile pals, he is said to be canceling appearances left and right, retreating to a lonely schedule of golf and manic conspiracy theorizing on Twitter. He posted 550 times in just a few weeks of November, with three-fourths of that content, the New York Times for some reason calculated, made up of rants about a stolen election.
Unlike past presidents, who with the exception of Dick Nixon were all feted on the way out no matter what crooked or blood-soaked record they left behind, Trump is being ridden out on a rail. He exits politics as he entered it, as a human punchline, a ball of catnip to the commentariat, which gets to snicker now about his thinning schedule and “tiny desk” (the updated version of all those jokes about short fingers that drove him so crazy once). There is delight as “former close associates, longtime Trump observers, and mental health experts” whisper into the op-ed pages the cold final judgment that, as Politico put it, “Trump is a loser.”
Which is fine — victori sunt spoila and all that — but it’s already safe to say the Trump years will be remembered as a brutal black comedy that made winners and losers alike look very, very bad. It was supposed to be a historic, norms-smashing catastrophe, but the reality is that almost nothing actually happened during the Trump years, except for a very long, exhausting story. The major in-between change was a total loss of our collective grip on reality, beginning with the fact that most of the country thinks we just went to hell and back a thousand times, instead of making just one noisy trip in a circle, arriving just where we might have four years ago, if Joe Biden had run instead of Hillary Clinton. The tiniest conceivable step, but oh so much grief and self-deception to get there!
They’ll deny it, but huge portions of the snickering chatterati rooted for Trump at first. When he jumped in the 2016 race, cultural icons laughed, big-money Democrats cheered, and rubbernecking cosmopolitan media audiences clicked and tuned in by the millions. Except for the more favored Republican primary opponents who learned early on to look on Trump with genuine alarm, like a social disease persisting beyond the usual course of medication, most of upscale America thought the Trump Show was a hoot.
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What goes unmentioned is the role he and his administration played in producing historic change in the mideast with the raproachmont among several Arab states and Israel. Matt also, maybe because he is predisposed to not trust the private sector, failed to mention the booming Trump economy pre-Covid, which was partially attributable to deregulation, tax policy and favorability to the energy industry. The last was not only good for the economy but changed the international landscape with our being a net exporter of hydrocarbons and not at the mercy of countries not necessarily favorably disposed to us. His new judges will have a lasting impact on jurisprudence and particularly with regard to an overweening administrative state. Finally the economic growth improved the incomes of the lowest quintiles at a higher percentage than those above in contrast to the Obama years where improvement was experienced virtually only in the highest decile.
Many would say that 'except for Corona' Trump's presidency would have been successful. That's like saying except for invading Russia Hitler would have been a winner. Leaders are defined by the challenges they meet and overcome, not the found circumstances they simply manage. One thing positive for Trump is that he didn't start any wars. Bravo! On the other hand he has encouraged and emboldened low-lifes and tin-pots around the globe; he has sold out the Palestinians; he has sold public land to private interests; he has spent billions on useless border wall projects which Mexico will NEVER pay for; he has set back progress on combatting climate change indifference; he has packed the Supreme court with second-rate ideologues, debased the language, fostered division, suspicion and hatred, undermined the integrity of the free press, undermined the criminal justice system via vindictive pardons; and for his final curtain call he undermines the electoral process and throws his own party under the bus. Pretty good day's work for a social climbing reality TV troll from Queens.