The Dr. Martin Luther King holiday this year serves as the beginning of Year Three of the Trump Era, and as WaPo's Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey remind us, the first two years were a disaster of mythical proportions and the next two will be an even larger conflagration.
Donald Trump was elected president partly by assuring the American people that “I alone can fix it.”
But precisely two years into his presidency, the government is not simply broken — it is in crisis, and Trump is grappling with the reality that he cannot fix it alone.
Trump’s management of the partial government shutdown — his first foray in divided government — has exposed as never before his shortcomings as a dealmaker. The president has been adamant about securing $5.7 billion in public money to construct his long-promised border wall, but he has not won over congressional Democrats, who call the wall immoral and have refused to negotiate over border security until the government reopens.
The 30-day shutdown — the impacts of which have begun rippling beyond the federal workforce into the everyday lives of millions of Americans — is defining the second half of Trump’s term and has set a foundation for the nascent 2020 presidential campaign.
The shutdown also has accentuated several fundamental traits of Trump’s presidency: his apparent shortage of empathy, in this case for furloughed workers; his difficulty accepting responsibility, this time for a crisis he had said he would be proud to instigate; his tendency for revenge when it comes to one-upping political foes; and his seeming misunderstanding of Democrats’ motivations.
Trump on Saturday made a new offer to end the shutdown, proposing three years of deportation protections for some immigrants, including young people known as “dreamers,” in exchange for border wall funding.
But before Trump even made it to the presidential lectern in the White House’s stately Diplomatic Reception Room to announce what he called a “straightforward, fair, reasonable, and common sense” proposal, Democrats rejected it as a non-starter.
Donald Trump is losing this fight, and each day that passes makes it more and more likely that he miscalculates with, at this point, negative room for error and really wrecks the country more than he already has. Considering what's coming down the pike, Trump is going to break something badly, and it may very well be our democracy. And yes, his base is starting to crack under the weight of his sins.
Two years ago, Jeff Daudert was fed up with politics. He wanted to shake up the status quo. He didn’t mind sending a message to the establishment — and, frankly, he liked the idea of a disruptive president.
But the 49-year-old retired Navy reservist has had some second thoughts.
“What the [expletive] were we thinking?” he asked the other night inside a Walmart here, in an area of blue-collar suburban Detroit that helped deliver Trump the presidency.
While Trump’s relationship with much of his base remains strong, two years after his inauguration his ties are fraying with voters like Daudert, the kind who voted in droves for Trump in 2016 in key pockets throughout the industrial Midwest and flipped previously Democratic states to him. The shutdown fight, as it has played out over the past month, is further eroding his support among voters who like the idea of beefing up border security, but not enough to close the government.
Many here, even those who still support Trump, say they hold him most responsible. They recite his comment from the Oval Office that he would be “proud to shut down the government.” When he said it, they listened.
“It’s silly. It’s destructive,” Daudert said, adding that all he knows about 2020 is that he won’t be supporting Trump. “I was certainly for the anti-status quo. … I’ll be more status quo next time.”
They didn't think they would be the ones to get hurt, just those people would suffer. They were wrong, and black voters told y'all this, but. again, the cruelty is the point.