Okay. I think I get it. In 2016 a significant portion of the American electorate voted to roll a grenade into the Washington, D.C. establishment. They wanted to destroy the liberal consensus, broadly defined, that has exerted some sort of hegemony in the federal government, and the national consciousness, since (let’s say) the 1960s. They wanted to terminate coastal elitism, turn back the regulatory clock, undo almost everything Obama accomplished, seal the nation’s southern border, overrule the rule of PC, and turn their backs on established expertise, whether scientific or otherwise. And Trump was the man to do it. Fortunately for him, he had an opponent, in Mrs. Clinton, who symbolized many aspects of this kind of elite entitlement, even down to her implicit claim that it was time for a woman in the Oval Office.
Given this framing of the reasons for Trump’s election, it was not surprising that he, in turn, would leave a trail of broken norms behind him once he assumed the presidency. He ignored divesting himself of business interests or revealing his income tax returns. He continued to tweet in an undignified manner – for instance, damning and insulting his political adversaries. He attacked the mainstream press calling anything he didn’t like therein “fake news.” He more or less ignored the emoluments clause, sending even military personnel to his hospitality properties and (gasp!) inviting the G-7 to stay at his Florida resort for their next meeting. And on and on and on it went. He didn’t care. Sometimes he didn’t even seem to know or realize that he was violating longstanding rules or codes. When he released the summary notes of his fateful call with the new Ukrainian president he called it “perfect” and didn’t seem to understand that the “favor” he was requesting represented a violation of American election law. Continue reading