PHOTOS: Donald J. Trump. (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons.) He’s President of the United States, you know! Below: Hillary Clinton (Wikimedia Commons), who won the vote but lost the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised to fix Canada’s electoral system, and didn’t.
Today is the first anniversary of the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who promised to Make America Great Again.
On Monday, a single column in the New York Times, a respectable newspaper if ever there was one, and by a regular columnist no less and not some sketchy op-ed contributor, contained the following characterizations of Mr. Trump and his Administration:
Authoritarian … autocratic demagogue … erratic racist who engages in nuclear brinkmanship on Twitter … nightmare year … metaphysical whiplash … systematic derangement and corruption … destruction of our civic inheritance … satanic….
You can read it for yourself here, but it’s a testament to the quotidian record of the Republican president and former TV personality’s rule, I suppose you could say, that from the vantage point of November 2017, not very much about columnist Michelle Goldberg’s assessment seems particularly over the top.
Certainly, it leaves no room for doubt about what Ms. Goldberg and the Times make of the current American president.
Mr. Trump, as is well known, beat his Democratic Party opponent Hillary Clinton despite Ms. Clinton having out-polled him by nearly three million votes. She was only the fifth presidential candidate in the history of the United States to win the popular vote but lose the election.
This outcome apparently astonished many Americans, even some of those who supported Mr. Trump, and even some of those who were paying attention in 2000 when George W. Bush pulled off the same stunt. Apparently many of our American cousins do not understand the vagaries of their own United States Electoral College!
Canadians, as the citizens of one of the few countries in the world that continues to use a pure first-past-the-post system to elect governments at the federal and regional level, have a much better grasp of how a politician can emerge the winner of an electoral contest with fewer votes than the loser.
To help us sort out that problem once and for all is presumably why we elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government in 2015. Well, we all know how that turned out. Promises, promises …
Even so, it must be conceded, the acknowledged dysfunctionality of Canadian democracy seems mild indeed compared with the state of outright derangement and disintegration apparent south of the Medicine Line.
It is fair to say that whatever he is trying to achieve, and for whatever reasons, Mr. Trump has not made America great again. And Mr. Trump wasn’t actually sworn in as No. 45 in the job to start tearing the place apart until Jan. 20 this year!
Whatever else they may think, surely even die-hard Republicans and their unexpectedly quiet Canadian supporters must privately long for the days when grownups were still in charge of “the shining city upon the hill,” as Ronald Reagan and sundry other American presidents have cribbed the Gospels to describe the United States.
Well, as Someone said, “a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” And there’s no hiding Boss Tweet’s United States, or hiding from it. More’s the pity.