During his first year in office, Trump has proved to be the most brazen white supremacist, misogynistic, anti-working class and authoritarian U.S. president in decades.
He has praised Nazis in Charlottesville, encouraged police brutality, stopped federal oversight of murderous police departments, slandered African-American athletes, pardoned the anti-Hispanic former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ended DACA, increased arrests of migrants, demanded a border wall, issued a Muslim travel ban and called African nations “s----------” countries.
Trump has stopped funding global family planning programs, appointed anti-choice federal judges, supported alleged child molester and Senate candidate Roy Moore, tried to drive transgender people out of the military, sought to gut legal protections for workers and consumers, supported a $1 trillion-plus reduction in taxes for capitalists, ended U.S. participation in the Paris climate accords, sent U.S. military forces to Syria, increased drone bombing in other countries and threatened to attack North Korea.
Trump’s actions have made unmistakably clear that he cares nothing for the vast majority of people at home and abroad. Most people do not care much for him, either. An Associated Press-NORC poll last month showed that only 32 percent of the public approves of Trump’s performance, making him “the least popular first-year president on record.” By Jan. 9, The Washington Post’s “Fact-Checker” had reported 2,001 lies or misleading statements by Trump since he became president.
Trump’s utter disregard for the truth and highly erratic behavior concern many mental health professionals. As John Gartner of Johns Hopkins University Medical School has pointed out, Trump is a “malignant narcissist.” And retired Harvard psychiatry professor Lance Dodes has concluded that Trump’s “sociopathic characteristics are undeniable.”
Gartner is right that Trump “evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader.” But the Trump presidency is a symptom of a far graver underlying social condition, which explains both his rise to power and the limitations of the “mainstream” opposition.
As Adam Serwer, Steve Phillips, and other analysts have emphasized, Trump was elected in large part because of many white people’s racist reactions to the first African-American president and “the browning of America.” Republicans have been exploiting racism to gain white voters since Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in 1968, but done little to better their economic conditions. When Trump promised to “Make America Great Again,” he was voicing a commitment to “Make America White Again” and uplift “forgotten” white workers.
It is urgent that Trump be forced out of office. But most Democratic politicians do not support impeachment, and even if they regain control of Congress in November, a two-thirds vote to convict may not be forthcoming in the Senate. The prospect of millions of people stopping work, taking to the streets, and driving Trump out of the White House may seem far-fetched. But if the choice is between allowing a nuclear-armed and extremely dangerous white supremacist to remain as president — and supporting a mass popular uprising against him — I will see you in the streets.