Trump’s second year could be worse

Those who remain will rally around the president as best they can to do tax cuts, the one thing Trump and his estranged party still agree on. That would give the GOP an actual legislative achievement as congressional Republicans head into the midterms. But after that? Perhaps the Russia probe will dead-end at Manafort. Perhaps the GOP will come off of tax reform newly energized and proceed to attempt other major legislation—an infrastructure bill, a serious immigration reform. One can describe a scenario in which Trump recovers from his rookie mistakes and goes on to create policy. What one struggles to do is believe it.

More than likely, the second year of Trump’s presidency will look a lot like his first: shambolic, unfocused, and largely driven by external events. That’s troublesome on the domestic policy front, but it’s downright scary when it comes to foreign affairs, where Trump’s flaws—impulsivity, lack of preparation, and an unwillingness to listen to advisers—present the greatest dangers. We can’t predict what the crisis will be, only that if and when it arrives, we’re all in for sleepless nights. The physicist Niels Bohr is said to have remarked that predictions are hard, especially about the future. But Trump’s lack of vision or preparation has plunged the country into a sort of permanent dread. The only thing we can definitely expect for 2018 is a great deal of uncertainty. And, probably, insomnia.