With less than 18 hours left to run in the Trump administration, it’s time to take stock.
Besides firing off tweet-storm broadsides and creating a few new words, what’s to be made of this president’s time in office?
– Appointed a shit ton of vaguely originalist judges not just to the Supreme Court but across the federal bench
– Ended American participation in the appeasement of Iran
– Asserted that a rapidly strengthening China is an increasing threat to America’s global interests
– Entered into a new and improved free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico
There are more, but those are fine exemplars of the modest improvements, mostly around the margins, that we can attribute to the Trump Administration. The question, then, is what was the cost?
– Abandoning the centuries old traditions of American political life by subverting the electoral process and attempting to raise and insurrection
– A general foreign policy legacy best labeled “America only” that badly damaged relationships with our most important global allies and empowered some of our most bitter enemies
– An inexplicable failure to respond to the dangers of a new and deadly pandemic as it swept the globe and the United States
– Ratcheting up government spending and driving up the national debt to unprecedented and unsustainable levels
Even leaving out the sedition, historians would have eventually filed this administration away as inconsequential at best and a failure at worst. There was simply too little forward motion on priority efforts when weighed against how much was guided so badly off the rails.
The damage done to America’s standing in the world and the mortal division of our internal politics will be the work of generations to patch up – if the job can be done at all. The alternative, though, is simply unthinkable, so let us begin.