Why is Donald Trump Still President?
By every measure, Donald Trump is unfit to be president. This is not hyperbole. Despite all the evidence in his past–lack of experience, repeated bankruptcies, tumultuous personal life, sexual assault allegations, racist/sexist comments–that supported his lack of fitness, he achieved enough electoral votes to become the American commander in chief. After becoming president, it is worse than one could imagine.
His words and deeds as president provide much for analysis, enough to fill books for years to come. If I could reduce Donald Trump to one value, the sine qua non, it would be Donald First. It seems very simple, and it is. He is not a complex, nuanced person. His emotional and intellectual development was stunted. By what? I do not know, but now the world is at his mercy. I will not spend time repeating all the corruption, authoritarian behavior, and general degradation that has characterized his “reign.” The deep question I want to consider is this: Why is Donald Trump still President?
The GOP: The Republicans have made a calculation. If they can spin his actions and in most cases deny basic facts, they will hold on to power permanently. Donald Trump will provide cover for them to take away voting rights, fill the Supreme Court with extremist judges, enact policies to benefit the richest of Americans, and do just about whatever they want to do. Why is Donald Trump still President? The GOP will not do anything to stop him.
The infamous Trump base: At a campaign rally, Donald Trump said he could shoot someone and his base would continue to support him. He may not be a fan of the truth, but he was correct about that. The starting point for the base is that Donald Trump is a bastion of American ideals. Anything to the contrary is untrue. Any evidence to the contrary is part of an anti-American conspiracy to be taken down by any means necessary. White evangelicals accept Trump even though his words and deeds go against all he values they supposedly hold dear.
The Democrats: I know Democrats are out of power, but I feel they could be doing more.
The Media: For an industry that thrives on sensationalism, Trump is a media darling. He brings it consistently. Many journalists and pundits report on Trump fairly and accurately. Others seek to normalize and elevate him in.
American Institutions: The courts push back against Trump. Advocacy organizations like the ACLU fight every day to undo the harm he is causing. Unfortunately, the various governmental departments are crumbling under neglect and brain drain as career, non-partisan professionals resign.
America’s future will be determined by how we, the American people, respond at the ballot box as long as we still have the right to vote.