The reason so many people are having fever dreams and waking up
with a knot in the gut is not that they are political crybabies,
not that a Republican defeated a Democrat. It’s not that an
undifferentiated mass of “coastal élites” is incapable of
recognizing that globalization, automation, and
deindustrialization have left millions of people in reduced and
uncertain circumstances. It is not that they “don’t get it.” It’s
that they do.
Since Election Day, Trump has managed to squander good faith and
guarded hope with flagrant displays of self-indulgent tweeting,
chaotic administration, willful ignorance, and ethical sludge.
Setting the tone for his Presidency, he refused, or was unable, to
transcend the willful ugliness of his campaign. He goes on
continuing to conceal his taxes, the summary of his professional
life; he refuses to isolate himself from his businesses in a way
that satisfies any known ethical standard; he rants on social
media about every seeming offense that catches his eye; he sets
off gratuitous diplomatic brushfires everywhere from Beijing to
Berlin. (Everywhere, that is, except Moscow.)
It’s going to be a long four years, but take comfort in this: Trump is already deeply unpopular.