April 29 will mark Donald Trump’s 100th day in office. While this milestone is far from perfect, it is still useful to take stock of the nation’s mood after a president’s first 100 days. According to the New Yorker, the nation’s mood is rather bleak.
The storied magazine described Trump’s first 100 days in office as a destabilizing influence on our democracy.
‘On April 29th, Donald Trump will have occupied the Oval Office for a hundred days. For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. His Presidency has become the demoralizing daily obsession of anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, constitutionalism, civil rights, criminal justice, a free press, science, public education, and the distinction between fact and its opposite.’
Trump built his reputation on the idea that he was a confident businessman whose instincts and talent allowed him to build a real-estate empire. Whether real or not, there can be no doubt that Trump has managed to sell himself as a dynamic figure. Unfortunately, that very persona makes him completely unfit for the office he now holds.
‘This is the brand that Trump has created for himself—that of an unprincipled, cocky, value-free con who will insult, stiff, or betray anyone to achieve his gaudiest purposes. “I am what I am,” he has said. But what was once a parochial amusement is now a national and global peril. Trump flouts truth and liberal values so brazenly that he undermines the country he has been elected to serve and the stability he is pledged to insure. His bluster creates a generalized anxiety such that the President of the United States can appear to be scarcely more reliable than any of the world’s autocrats.’
One of the most consistent problems with Trump’s administration is his ongoing feud with the media. He views himself as the perpetual victim who is constantly under attack by a dishonest and biased press. Ironically, as the New Yorker points out, that same press is likely to grade Trump on a curve the moment he behaves somewhat reasonably.
‘This Presidency is so dispiriting that, at the first glimmer of relative ordinariness, Trump is graded on a curve. When he restrains himself from trolling Kim Jong-un about the failure of a North Korean missile test, he is credited with the strategic self-possession of a Dean Acheson. The urge to normalize Trump’s adolescent outbursts, his flagrant incompetence and dishonesty—to wish it all away, if only for a news cycle or two—is connected to the fear of what fresh hell might come next’
Perhaps the most insightful part of the article came at the very end where it warns that Trump’s seemingly foolish outward behavior is merely a mask for a very dangerous brand of politics.
‘The clownish veneer of Trumpism conceals its true danger. Trump’s way of lying is not a joke; it is a strategy, a way of clouding our capacity to think, to live in a realm of truth. It is said that each epoch dreams the one to follow. The task now is not merely to recognize this Presidency for the emergency it is, and to resist its assault on the principles of reality and the values of liberal democracy, but to devise a future, to debate, to hear one another, to organize, to preserve and revive precious things.’
Featured image via Getty Images.