There Are 15 Days Until the Possible End of the Trump Era: If you had asked any disappointed Hillary Clinton voter on January 20, 2017, what they thought the country would look like on the eve of the 2020 election, I think they may have been surprised by the specifics, but not the scale, of the destruction of the country under President Donald Trump.
More than eight million confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 220,000 dead—including 1 in 920 Black Americans. Our cities and schools half-shuttered. The goods trade deficit and federal budget deficit at record levels. Women dropping out of the workforce in droves. Students struggling to complete classes remotely, often without the strong home internet services this requires. Unemployment that spiked to the highest levels since the Great Depression. A mass wave of evictions on the horizon. Growing food insecurity. Elevated hate crimes. Our global reputation in tatters.
Please stop here and vote.
By any objective measure of the fundamentals—as election-watchers call the broad complex of general conditions at the time a campaign is held—Trump would be an unlikely candidate for winning reelection. The polls suggest this, too: Joe Biden has been beating Trump in head-to-head national matchups since 2017, and 2020 is looking more like 2018 than like 2016.
And yet Democrats’ collective post-traumatic stress disorder from 2016—along with the chip, chip, chip of Trump’s drive to decrease turnout, vote-counting, ease of voting, and the acceptability of Biden as an alternative—has left them on tenterhooks. Trump has blasted through norm after norm, strong-arming his way into getting his way, time after improbable time. Can Trump eke out an Electoral College victory through a toxic mix of smears and hacks, activated armed gangs patrolling voting areas, determined legal maneuverings around how the votes are counted, and elevated turnout by noncollege-educated white men?
The year 2018 was proof that regardless of the corruption of the federal government, American democracy remained fundamentally intact—that actions done in office continue to have electoral consequences. Two years later, we revisit that premise.
Do you think the End of the Trump Era will be soon?