Regardless of his recent actions, anyone who denies the Donald Trump’s influence and, from the Right, his great accomplishments is not being honest.
Objectively, he won an upset presidential race, dominated the media environment, gave voice to and led a mass political movement, survived investigations and an impeachment officially unscathed, and bestrode the world like a colossus.
Subjectively he directed the American economy to heights never before reached, he restored American respect in the world, he rebuilt the military, his message strategy ran rings around the Democrats and the Left, he revealed the media for the leftist mouthpieces they are, he fought for law and order, and he successfully implemented border security. He also put three conservative justices on the high bench, thus assuring that branch remains sensible for some time to come. And that’s only a partial list.
So his, by my own analysis, sad ending is all that more tragic because it likely stops any positive influence, on the policy side, he may have had left. It is, for different reasons, reminiscent of the fate and first term of Richard Nixon. Though Nixon had a term and a half to go from hero to heel. Trump did it in one term. But then, he’s an overachiever.
Both men are prone to classic Shakespearean flaws. Yet both rose to greatness in spite of them and in some ways because of them. Nixon’s chip on the shoulder class paranoia drove him to relentlessly strive for position, while nursing deep seated grudges against those in his way. Trump’s over the top ego and penchant for bombastic exaggerations gave him a swagger that was a breath of fresh air to Republicans used to leaders who were content with comfortably losing. But Trump, conditioned to automatic obedience in board rooms, never realized government was different than that. He paid for that ignorance with his reputation and legacy. Sad for him. Sadder for the country.
We also should remember, much of the first part of their terms in office were unqualified successes. We noted Trump’s accomplishments above. Nixon honorably got us out of Vietnam within a decent interval of the war being lost. SALT I was his. The China Card was his. Some positive aspects of OSHA, EEO, and EPA were his. He rescued Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The list is longer. That’s why he won 49 out of 50 states in his 1972 reelection. But then the ghosts came back to haunt him.
The decades of battle with the Eastern Establishment, the ongoing loathfest with the media, remembered slights from an impoverished youth and Duke Law, all combined to stoke a fire in his soul that fed into his natural introversion and the resentment that came with it. It felled him. Two men very different, yet with similar fates. Such is history.