I wish it were otherwise, but I agree with Andrew Sullivan. Regardless of what the Mueller report holds, Trump has severely damaged the country and made our Nation weaker, not stronger.
Regretably, Mr. Trump has been exactly the sort of president many of us feared he would be. And his supporters, Donocrat and Trumpublican alike, actually like it that way. That is the grim reality that his opponents must face. His bombast and bluster and poutiness and pettiness appeal to large numbers of Americans. This charlatan’s charlatan seems authentic to them in ways that other more competent and legitimate leaders do not. Absent a meaningful challenge from within his own party, nowhere evident, that sentiment is unlikely to change.
I am reminded of this essay in the New York Times published before the dust of the 2016 election had truly settled. Zingales argues that opponents of Italy’s Trump-like prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, learned the hard way that the only way to defeat a larger-than-life autocrat is to sweat the details.
The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character.
The deficit has exploded, the border is insecure, North Korea remains a mortal threat to its neighbors, America’s reputation, power, and influence have declined, the rule of law has been weakened, and we have magnified the already challenges we must inevitably face in responding to climate change. Trump has not, will not, and cannot make America great. And his supporters have not, will not, and cannot acknowledge it.
But as John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” And it is the facts and evidence of Trump’s incompetence we must highlight, relentlessly and fearlessly, to defeat him.