What’s happening now?
What are the major issues facing the US right now?
And what can we do about them?
Our political system is so broken that I’m starting to wonder if it is the first time in modern American history that the country has seen a president of the opposition win the presidency.
And this is not a coincidence.
As this article by the New York Times noted last week, it’s happened twice before.
The first was George W. Bush, who became the first president to win re-election by less than 50% of the vote in 2000, a year before Trump was inaugurated.
That year, Democrat Al Gore, the then-Vice President, also lost the popular vote to Bush by less that 50%.
The second was Barack Obama, who came in second in the popular-vote race to Clinton in 2008, but still lost the election by less.
In other words, in 2000 and 2016, Trump won because his base was so uneducated and alienated that they had no idea that the US was a democracy.
But the gap between Trump and Clinton widened over time, especially among white voters, and the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump rhetoric and messaging is now seen as increasingly toxic, as is the party’s position on climate change.
And while Trump’s rhetoric and the party itself may be toxic to many Americans, there is a growing appetite for a new approach.
In a new book, “The Trump Era: How to Stop the Trump Apocalypse”, the former president’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, a top Trump ally, argues that “the next two years will determine the trajectory of American history, the course of our political life and our country’s place in the world”.
Bannon’s vision of a “post-truth politics” is central to his worldview, which he has articulated on Twitter.
It sees the US as a “bipolar superpower” and believes the US is a “nation of losers”.
It’s not just a fringe view; Bannon’s writings are being picked up by conservative media outlets such as Breitbart and Fox News.
And if Trump is not the only one trying to rein in his populist base, he has some allies within the GOP, who are now looking to take advantage of Trump’s unpopularity and appeal to the anti-establishment vote.
Bannon is also an ardent Trump critic.
Trump’s presidency has left his party and the country divided, he says, and if he wins, he’ll have “no respect for the US Constitution”.
This week, he wrote in an op-ed for the New Yorker, “There’s a lot of talk that we’re living in a time of ‘post-fact’ politics, of a world in which facts are irrelevant, and where our country is divided into a small handful of facts, and which can be used to shape our future.”
Bannon’s argument is that the United States is a divided society, with millions of people who are “seduced” by “false information” and who are unwilling to challenge “the system” on any level.
He sees a political party “built on an American identity that can be shaped by an anti-American agenda”.
He sees “a country that has been divided into its various tribes, and is divided by ethnicity and race, by gender, by sexual orientation, by political ideology”.
“The American experiment has been turned upside down,” he wrote.
Trump won the presidency despite being the least popular politician in modern history, but his popularity is falling and his approval ratings have fallen to historic lows.
His approval rating fell to 34% in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, down from 38% in October, the highest of his presidency.
He was the most unpopular US president ever.
But while Bannon’s worldview is that America is on a collision course with its future, it is unlikely that the Trump era will be the first to see the US fall apart.
It’s unlikely that America will ever return to a stable political system.
But there is reason to believe that it will eventually return to its traditional form.
This is partly because there will be some sort of agreement on what constitutes a stable American political system, and partly because it’s more likely that a Trump presidency will bring about a “regime change” in the US.
The US is in a period of profound political instability that could end up leading to the country’s “death spiral” if a Trump administration fails to bring about an “America First” foreign policy.
The United States and Russia are at a crossroads.
But it’s unclear that the American political landscape will look quite the same after Trump’s return to the White House.