Trump’s advisers, such as Newt Gingrich, are already vowing to go after the federal employees’ union, and breaking it would give the President sweeping power to bend the bureaucracy to his will and whim.The Supreme Court will soon have a conservative majority.
In the long run, the Democratic Party faces two choices.
It can continue to collapse until it’s transformed into something new, like the nineteenth-century Whigs, forerunners of the Republican Party. Not every four years but continuously; not with celebrity endorsements but on school boards and town councils; not by creating more virtual echo chambers but by learning again how to talk and listen to other Americans, especially those who elected Trump because they felt ignored and left behind. The country will need an opposition capable of pointing that out.
The Party has allowed personality and demography to take the place of political organizing.
The immediate obstacle in Trump’s way will be New York’s Charles Schumer and his minority caucus of forty-eight senators.
How dependent are our fundamental values—values such as decency, reason, and compassion—on the fellow we’ve elected President? To be sure, the country voted for a leader who lives by the opposite code—it will be a long and dark winter—but the signs are that voters were not rejecting these values.
They were rejecting élites, out of fear and fury that, when it came to them, these values had been abandoned.The democratic institutions that held Nixon to account have lost their strength since the nineteen-seventies—eroded from within by poor leaders and loss of nerve, undermined from without by popular distrust. Among the institutions in decline are the political parties.Bipartisan congressional action on behalf of the public good sounds as quaint as antenna TV. “All right we are two nations,” John Dos Passos wrote, in his “U. This, too, was both intuited and accelerated by Trump.The press is reviled, financially desperate, and undergoing a crisis of faith about the very efficacy of gathering facts. In succession, he crushed two party establishments and ended two dynasties.The Democratic Party claims half the country, but it’s hollowed out at the core.I grew up in Ohio, in a small town in the poorest county in the state, and talked after the election to Jim Young, a longtime family friend there.He’d spent thirty-five years at a local animal-feed manufacturer, working his way up from a feed bagger to a truck driver and, in his fifties, a manager, making thirteen dollars an hour.During Obama’s Presidency, Republican senators exploited ancient rules in order to put up massive resistance.Filibusters and holds became routine ways of taking budgets hostage and blocking appointments.Nearly seventy per cent of working-age Americans lack a bachelor’s degree.Many of them saw an establishment of politicians, professors, and corporations that has failed to offer, or even to seem very interested in, a vision of the modern world that provides them with a meaningful place of respect and worth.