When Trump bad mouthed John McCain, I was outraged. I’ve had enough combat experience to know what heroism under fire looks like. John was a genuine hero. He spent most of his life unable to comb his own hair. The torture he endured in the Hanoi Hilton rendered him incapable of raising his arms high enough to perform that function.
I found it impossible to believe that a plurality of Republican primary voters would pull the lever for anyone who talked about McCain in that fashion, especially someone who had dodged the draft on the flimsiest of excuses. Boy . . . was I wrong.
That was followed by a series of damaging revelations and outrageous statements that were continuously touted as the end of the line for Trump. The end didn’t come. When he won the nomination, we were assured by the great and good that Hillary would win in a landslide. Boy . . . were they wrong.
The essence of Democracy is that losers respect election results. Not in this case. The first impeachment resolution was introduced in the House within days of the inauguration, and the impeachment effort went on for 3 years. Journalism abandoned the distinction between news and opinion. The entertainment industry scraped the bottom of the creativity barrel to find one more way to heap scorn on the buffoon in the White House. None of it worked. His approval rating stayed in the 40's and he had enough support in the right places to pull off another electoral college victory.
I believe the reason for the Trump victory and the resilience of his support was that, like most successful politicians, he was in tune with the mood of a major sector of the populace. The deplorables, a much larger group than Hillary and the great and good imagined them to be, had a message for the political establishment: YOU STINK. The polls got it wrong because a lot of Trump voters feared shaming and lied to pollsters or refused to talk to them. Unfortunately, the leadership of both political parties failed to ask themselves, before or after November 2016, why so many voters felt that way.
I believe the mood has now changed and Trump has failed to grasp the change. The new mood: LESS TURMOIL; WE WANT SOME CALM REASSURANCE. The politician who captured the mood was the governor of New York. He said a lot of things during his daily sermons that weren’t true. He made some very bad decisions. But . . . he sounded like he was on top of the situation and was telling the truth.
It is possible that the Progressives will push the agenda so far to the left that it will scare flyover and suburban voters. It is possible that Basement Biden will get both feet stuck in his mouth and choke. Barring that, I think Trump will not be reelected. I’m willing to bet on it. I won’t give long odds or make a very big bet — he has fooled me badly before — but I’d go two to one.
If I was a Republican candidate or officeholder running for reelection, I would start putting some distance between me and the President. If I was a voter worried about the progressive agenda that might be heading our way — ending the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, “free” college for all, admitting DC and Puerto Rico as states, Medicare for All, ending the electoral college — I would focus on Senate races. It will take 51 senators to keep the country on the rails.