Next Tuesday is only the beginning

Next Tuesday is only the beginning

by digby

Paul Waldman points out
the daunting fact that all this chaotic ugliness is a preview of what the next two years are going to be like:

While it isn’t uncommon for presidents to roll out appealing initiatives in their fourth year to build a case for their reelection, with Trump it will likely be driven by alarm that increases as the election approaches. There’s a good chance he’ll be trailing in the polls — after all, even with the economy in excellent shape right now his approval ratings barely top 40 percent, so if there’s a slowdown he’s likely to dip even lower. Even so, with partisan attachments so rigid, it’s a near-certainty that the race will be close. As we get into October 2020, Trump could be ready to panic.

What will he do? It’s hard to tell this far in advance, but we’ve seen over and over again that Trump believes playing to his base — and making it as angry and fearful as possible — is the only way for him to win. That means heightening divisions, playing up xenophobia and appealing to white racial resentments.

It will have to be big and dramatic, in a way that’s impossible for voters to ignore. It will probably be profoundly anti-democratic, in a way guaranteed to generate outrage not just from Democrats but also from the news media and anyone else Trump can characterize as the “elite.” That way Trump will be able to pose as the rebel taking on powerful forces in the service of his regular-guy supporters.

Right now, Trump is afraid, as he should be, of losing one or both houses of Congress. But when his own job is on the line, that fear will be multiplied tenfold as he confronts the possibility that he’ll be forever remembered as the thing he hates most: a loser. We don’t know what he’ll do, but we know it will be ugly.

And, by the way, the presidential campaign starts next Wednesday morning.

Oh God.