(((Richard Cohen))) warns that the Trump presidency is doomed:
Whether he knows it or not, the specter of Lyndon Baines Johnson haunts Donald John Trump. There are some jarring similarities — two big, fleshy men given to vulgarities and gauche behavior, boastful, thin-skinned, politically amoral, vengeful, unforgiving and, most important, considered illegitimate presidents. For Johnson, that took some time to sink in; Trump is already there….
The president-elect will take the oath with a minority of the popular vote — a substantial deficit of almost 3 million votes. He enters the Oval Office with historically dismal poll numbers, lower now than right after he won the election. He has done nothing to woo the majority of Americans who rejected his candidacy and has, instead, adhered to his schoolyard habit of tweeting his every grievance, denigrating his every critic, making cameos with vaccine and global-warming doubters and, as if to show some versatility, rascals such as Don King and Kanye West. It is a “Gong Show” with no gong in sight.
Lyndon Johnson would no doubt warn Trump that he is already on thin ice and he will plunge through it the moment Congress takes the measure of his unpopularity. Johnson was a man of huge political abilities and experience, and his achievements in civil rights entitled him to greatness. Yet, when Vietnam went sour, so did the public, and it seemed, after a while, that his personal characteristics, scathingly caricatured by artists such as David Levine and Jules Feiffer, oozed out of him so that they obscured both him and his accomplishments. He was deemed capable of anything — of lying and perversion of all kinds. This is where Trump stands now.
By the end of the week, Trump will be the president. I wish him the best; I wish him the worst. The dilemma is how to separate loathing for him from love of country. I am leaving it to time to work that out. Meanwhile, Trump will have his moment, that’s for sure, but when things go wrong he will be chased from office — just like Johnson once was. The ancient Greeks knew why: A man’s character is his fate. In that case, Trump’s presidency is doomed.
My two-word rebuttal: Bill Clinton.
Now, LBJ was, in my opinion, the very worst president the USA has ever had, with the arguable exception of Lincoln. Say what you will of Wilson and FDR, (much less trivialities such as Carter, the Bushes, and Obama) but in both cases, the nation-state not only survived their administrations, but came out of them at least temporarily stronger than before, even though various seeds for long term problems had been planted. And LBJ managed to do his mortal damage to the nation in less than two full terms.
By signing the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 and instituting the Great Society, LBJ murdered the American nation-state, which no longer exists any more than the Chickesaw nation in northern Mississippi or the Cherokee nation in Georgia do. The USA is now a multinational, multicultural, multireligious state, with less stability and worse long-term prospects than the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1900.
We should hope and pray the Trump presidency is as significant as LBJ’s doomed one, although, of course, in the opposite direction. MAGA! MAWA! MAAA!