Consider that all this happened in 2014: ISIS executions of American captives; the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice by police and the ensuing protests; the annexation of Crimea by Russia; the downing of a civilian airliner by Russia; and a wave of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border illegally in what then-President Obama called “an urgent humanitarian situation.”
Numbers can’t prove that 2014 was a pivotal year for the Trumpian political era to come, but they can show it was a year when Americans’ institutional trust bottomed out, something that would come into play in 2016. A few days after the election, I wrote about the erosion of trust in American institutions over the past decade. There was a link, I wrote then, between our loss of trust and electing a man who promised to start a new American order. And in 2014, overall trust in American institutions, which started falling in the mid-2000s, hit 31 percent — its lowest point since Gallup starting tracking the metric in 1993.