Analysis and commentary by Dan Rather:
By any objective analysis, President Trump is succeeding in his effort to move the U.S. in more hard-right directions.
I have a sense Americans who detest and/or are appalled by Trump know it in their bones. I have heard from many that this is a particularly tough day. It’s not just progressives. Even many of those who consider themselves “moderates” are deeply concerned, even if they haven’t been unalterably opposed to everything Trump has done. Also in this group are many who consider themselves genuinely “Independent”–those who swing back and forth on Trump and in their voting patterns.
The record is what it is: Mr. Trump got the “Tax Reform” law favoring big corporations and the wealthy that he wanted. He’s rolled back healthcare, environmental protections, and the protection of public lands, among other centrist and/or left of center initiatives. He’s on a tariff tear and has embarked on trade war policies. Many of his anti-immigration policies are in place–an important part of them just approved by the Supreme Court. Republicans who control both houses of Congress have swung in strongly behind him as supporters and enablers.
And now he has the power to increase his Supreme Court majority.
Throw in his historic meeting with the leader of North Korea and a possible meeting with Russia’s Putin this summer, plus his poll numbers well up from their lows…and, well, you see why he–and others–conclude, with considerable justification, that he’s “on a roll.”
Yes, the Mueller investigation is out there, with possibly more negative “bombshell revelations” soon to come. All of his implementation of tariffs and other trade war moves make Wall Street jittery. And a majority of the country still tells pollsters they don’t approve of him, his bombastic personal style nor the overall tone of his Presidency. And if one is truly disheartened, remember the Democratic wave election in Virginia. See other special elections and surging Democratic enthusiasm. But nothing, nothing at all, can be taken for granted. President Trump is the living embodiment of that reality.
So, if nothing else, consider the headline of this piece and analysis in the writing a reminder that Trump has gotten far by people underestimating him personally, his followers, and his ability to get his way. And, with November’s mid-term elections in mind, a reminder that elections have consequences, often far-reaching ones. Sometimes with the power to change the heart, soul and character of the nation. But time and time again, the American people have said this country has gone too far towards political extremism and wrested our nation back at the ballot box. It can happen again, but not without being clear-eyed about the stakes, the odds, and the fight ahead.