Trump is not making anything great again.
During the first 33 full months of the Trump administration, from February 2017 through October 2019, the federal government has spent roughly $11.762 trillion, according to tabulations of monthly statements from the Treasury Department. If you flash back to the equivalent 33-month period during the beginning of Obamas first term, from February 2009 through October 2011, spending was approximately $10.3 trillion. That was the period of all the bank bailouts and the stimulus. That was the period where we saw the expansion of welfare and unemployment benefits. Yet, today, outlays are 13.2 percent higher than the infamous spending binge.
Recent research by political scientists at Vanderbilt University and other institutions has found both Republicans and Democrats distressingly willing to dehumanize members of the opposite party. Partisans are willing to explicitly state that members of the opposing party are like animals, that they lack essential human traits, the researchers found. The president encourages and exploits such fears. This is a dangerous line to cross. As the researchers write, Dehumanization may loosen the moral restraints that would normally prevent us from harming another human being.
The United States is undergoing a transition perhaps no rich and stable democracy has ever experienced: Its historically dominant group is on its way to becoming a political minority, and its minority groups are asserting their co-equal rights and interests. If there are precedents for such a transition, they lie here in the United States, where white Englishmen initially predominated, and the boundaries of the dominant group have been under negotiation ever since. Yet those precedents are hardly comforting. Many of these renegotiations sparked political conflict or open violence, and few were as profound as the one now under way.
The history of the United States is rich with examples of once-dominant groups adjusting to the rise of formerly marginalized populations, sometimes gracefully, more often bitterly, and occasionally violently. Partisan coalitions in the United States are constantly reshuffling, realigning along new axes. Once-rigid boundaries of faith, ethnicity, and class often prove malleable. Issues gain salience or fade into irrelevance; yesterdays rivals become tomorrows allies.
Of course, the most catastrophic collapse of a democracy in the 19th century took place right here in the United States, sparked by the anxieties of white voters who feared the decline of their own power within a diversifying nation.