/ / The maddening nature of a successful presidency

The maddening nature of a successful presidency

Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online weighs the accomplishments and deficits of Donald Trump’s presidency.

For those who supported the president’s reelection (including me), the result is hard to swallow. It was not, however, hard to see coming.

In 2016, Trump barely won a close election against a historically weak and deeply unpopular Democratic candidate for whom there was little enthusiasm. In 2020, Trump faced a very weak but not nearly as unpopular Democratic candidate – and while there was little enthusiasm for Biden, the desire to defeat Trump was rabid in the Democratic base. Given the statistical miracle of Trump’s 2016 triumph, he was going to have to do more than marginally better this time in order to win. …

… The power of the presidency can mask a lot of deficiencies. Yet the hole in which the improbable Trump presidency began is worth revisiting. In her endless “I wuz robbed” dirge, Hillary Clinton never tired of saying she’d won the popular vote. That was not just irrelevant in constitutional terms, since the state races (translated by the Electoral College) decide the outcome; it was also Clintonian spin to deflect attention from the fact that she did not win a popular majority. But what does that say about Trump? …

… The right way to look at Trump’s unlikeliest of triumphs was as a gift . . . and an opportunity. It was a chance to appeal to Republican skeptics and the vast middle, to do the hard work of changing a 46–54 deficit into 54–46 support, and beyond. Trump had the policies to do that, along with a unique way of appealing to voting blocs who’d tuned out traditional Republicans.

Yet the president could never get over himself.

That was clear from the start. Instead of coming to grips with the low level of support with which he started his term, the president bantered from the beginning about his “Electoral College landslide.” It was an ironic illusion of broad support. …

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Credit: Original article published here.