One hundred days of Trump

World War III has not broken out yet, but there are 1300 more days to go.

by

    At times, the past 100 days have felt like 100 years, where every day resembled the last - like a recurring nightmare.  

    But this nightmare isn't a figment of our subconscious; it's real, inescapable and destined to continue for another 1,300 days or so.

    In the face of this surreal, mind-numbing prospect, much of the sentient world inside and outside of the US is struggling with how to respond to a dystopian-tinged Donald Trump regime.

    In this depressing context, the pat "report card" accounting of Trump's first century of days in office strikes me as a silly, meaningless anachronism.

    An obituary is, arguably, the order of the day. Despite the death of rationality and decency in America, the good news is that several apocalyptic prophecies about a Trump presidency have also proven to be dead on arrival.

    We're still here. World War III has not broken out (yet) even after Trump lied about which way an "armada" was headed in the Pacific and bombed a barren Syrian airfield because Ivanka told him to. Oh, and the only (trade) war he's declared is on loveable Canada over milk and lumber.  

    Meanwhile, the US constitution's intrinsic system of checks and balances has thwarted signature chunks of Trump's legislative agenda - from his odious travel bans to his bigoted attacks on funding for sanctuary cities. Happily, judges are giving Trump the legal middle finger, as are some rogue members of the Republican party who think he's gone too far or not far enough.

    Trump's self-interest

    Trump is pretending to try hard to wrest free from the straight-jacket of Washington's deeply entrenched, corrective ways. He's stuck in the swamp he promised to drain. On cue, Trump wails like a colicky baby, pointing an accusatory finger of blame at everyone but himself.

    There is more poseur in Trump than president.                

    Still, the Trump presidency can't be measured using the familiar domestic and geopolitical formulas to pass judgment on the essential essence and political acumen of a nascent presidency.

    This trite ritual at this traditional benchmark assumes, absurdly, that Trump has a bona fide interest in governing and in the welfare of the governed.

    Clearly, this textbook narcissist is preoccupied exclusively with the fortunes of his family, his gold-tinted brand, his hotels and golfing.

    Trump is the only cause he's interested in.   

    OPINION: Bombs away! Wag that dog!

    Beyond this axiom, the past 100 days have confirmed what ought to have been understood long ago - Trump is the embodiment of much of America's unabashed celebration of ignorance and trademark Lord-of-the-Flies-like selfishness disguised as "libertarianism".

    Solid support

    Trump was vaulted into the White House with the zealous backing of 63 million Americans who either explicitly share, or have veiled sympathy for, his overt racism, xenophobia and jingoism; and, I suspect, they don't give a damn if the "elite" media gives their political messiah a failing grade or not.

    Like Trump, the president's legions of disciples not only take comfort in their manifest ignorance and retrograde nationalism, but also reject outright the notion that government can be a salutary force in any way, for any cause, anywhere - unless it involves dropping bombs in the same places and on the same people a succession of other US presidents has dropped bombs on.  

    The hope is that a 70-year-old with the attention span of a squirrel will, after a moment of introspection, recognise that he's been doing it all wrong and abandon his pernicious ways.

     

    And, like Trump, their understanding of how and why governments work is distilled into bumper-sticker slogans they find, not surprisingly, persuasive and easy to comprehend.

    I doubt Trump's supporters seriously expected that he would make America great again or build his fantasy wall during his first 100 days. 

    So, beyond affirming what we already know, the proverbial catalogue of Trump's litany of humiliating policy failures, brazen lies, nepotism, incompetence and volte-faces has had, to date, little, if any, tangible political consequence.  

    Indeed, a recent opinion poll revealed that a stupefying 98 percent of those 63 million Americans stand squarely behind their transparently inept man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who once confidently boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and "not lose any voters".   

    Why?

    Trump's rabidly loyal voters are, like their leader, giddy nihilists. Trump is a mirror reflection of most of them - seething, white, grievance-addicted and determined to destroy any political, societal or diplomatic progress and norm while they seize the stunning opportunity to restore their ugly, insular idea of America.

    Nothing to be redeemed

    Trump's victory remains, as well, an indictment of Barrack Obama's jarring naivety. Not too long ago, No Drama Obama publicly assured the rest of us nervous nellies that he had faith in the wisdom of Americans to ultimately reject Trump. They didn't.  

    Since January 20th, the defining nature of Trump's administration has been on routine and often gob-smacking display. Obama's pollyanish assurances about America's inherent "wisdom" are as cockeyed today as they were on the eve of the election.  

    OPINION: America was a 'stan' long before Trump

    "Progressives" or "liberals" - take your pick - are loath to acknowledge this. The so-called resistance prefers, instead, to bury these uncomfortable truths in an endless blur of cobweb-like conspiracy theories and to direct their anger and recriminations at more palatable villains in far away lands. Paging Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange.

    Then, there is the delusional band of liberals who, while fatally allergic to Trump's brand of populism, looked forward eagerly to his presidency's possible "good bits" - including nixing NATO, one-sided multi-lateral trade agreements and renunciating US interventionism.

    The past 100 days should have taught them a swift and blunt lesson: never trust a weathervane-like demagogue to keep his word.  

    From North Korea, to Syria and Iran, Trump has clutched his generals and the the military-industrial-security complex even closer to his tough-guy bosom. NATO is, for now, safely intact.    

    Finally, and perhaps most grating of all, are the pundits who cling like starved leeches to the moronic theory that somehow, at sometime, Trump will "grow" into the job.

    The hope is that a 70-year-old with the attention span of a squirrel will, after a moment of introspection, recognise that he's been doing it all wrong and abandon his pernicious ways.

    Note to the fantasists: Trump has already shown that he is genetically, as well as temperamentally, incapable of managing such a miraculous metamorphosis.

    There is nothing to be redeemed because there is nothing remotely redeeming about a Trump presidency. 

    Donald Trump's first 100 days are a template for the remaining 1,362. The question is: will we be able to see the horror through? 

    Andrew Mitrovica is an award-winning investigative reporter and journalism instructor.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.


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