A sizable minority of the American electorate can be forgiven for choosing, in 2016, a bombastic, shallow, and self-absorbed TV personality who, thanks to his inherited wealth, corporate cocoon, and tabloid-driven notoriety, appeared to be “the only one who can fix this mess” — the Obama economic recovery, affordable health insurance for millions of Americans, the freezing of Iran’s nuclear program, and the dawn of a new age of multilateral trade agreements.
In his inaugural address, this serial-adulterer and sex predator with a history of racist and xenophobic rhetoric invited us to look over the American landscape and see the “carnage” left behind by his corrupt, ignorant, and incompetent predecessors. He promised to build “new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports ... all across our wonderful nation.” The era of politicians “who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it” was declared over.
So now it’s 2020 and we can see clearly what his “historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before” has wrought: one-party minority rule, jaw-dropping corruption, non-stop scandals, record-breaking White House turnover (predominantly legal convictions and forced resignations), right-wing court packing, human-rights violations, unprecedented government deficits and debt, trade wars, damaged alliances, and reckless military decisions; serious charges in the Mueller Report, Articles of Impeachment in the House, and the prospect of a whitewash in the Senate; epidemic mass-murders and drug addiction, with no federal remedies; increasing anti-Semitism and racial violence; gutted environmental protections, no infrastructure program, climate-change denialism; and shameful treatment of refugees and immigrants.
If this is how we “start winning, and winning like never before,” it may be time for a change.
Let’s give his voters in 2016 a mulligan. With the benefit of corrected vision in 2020, they will have no such excuse.