Donald Trump made history by reaching the White House without any political or military experience while being its oldest (70), wealthiest (a billionaire) and most-divorced (twice) occupant. America’s forty-fifth president has unabashedly broken traditions and shattered norms involving the judiciary, free press, intelligence community, international alliances, etc, etc. He once used the White House’s bully pulpit to describe some neo-Nazis and/or their sympathizers as being “very fine people.” Conversely, perhaps no ex-president has publicly rebuked his successor with the forcefulness of Barack Obama, starting in September 2018 — breaking an informal rule that spanned more than 70 years. Pointing out Trump’s iconoclasm, Obama explained that the consequences of deference had turned “dire.”
Ahead of the pivotal midterm elections (November 6), Trump and Obama conveyed disparate visions while trying to sway voters. The blue wave gave the Democrats their largest gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974: Obama’s party netted 40 House seats while the Republicans saved face by gaining two Senate seats (securing a 53-47 majority). The midterms, which produced their highest turnout in the past century, ended Republican congressional rule, empowering the Democrats to stifle Trump’s legislative agenda. Democrats also earned several key governorships and state legislative control.
The results gave Obama hope after he’d watched Trump’s most successful stretch as president highlighted by Brett Kavanaugh, 53, winning confirmation to the Supreme Court amid accusations of sexual assault. The development positioned Trump to leave an indelible mark on modern American history, reshaping the bench by shifting power to staunch conservatives, presumably for decades, on third-rail issues such as abortion, gun rights and affirmative action. Of course, Trump’s opportunity to seat a second Supreme Court justice occurred because Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, was blocked by Republicans in 2016. Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate conservative whose pivotal votes occasionally swung in favor of monumental Democratic causes.
Obama, age 57, vs. Trump, 72: Whose vision of America — and the world — will endure? Who will prevail in this clash of political titans? Or do such questions partly depend on the conclusions of the long-time elephant in the room: special counsel Robert Mueller?Read More