Trump now stands not between the parties, or above the parties, but beyond the parties—in some strange political twilight zone where neo-Nazis are seen as a constituency not to be insulted. As events shift Trump to that bizarre place, even his one authentic achievement as president—the steep reduction in illegal immigration—risks becoming an anti-achievement. Trump and his white-nationalist advisers seem determined to corroborate their critics’ accusation that enforcement is concerned not with protecting the wages and working conditions of legal residents of the United States—part of a pro-worker agenda that also could include a big investment in construction, trust-busting of college tuition, and a defense of existing social-insurance programs —but instead as a component of a white-nationalist agenda that also includes attacks on minority voting rights, a rollback of affirmative action, and compliments to authoritarian leaders worldwide.
The conventional wisdom is that dissension is a party killer; safer to stay united around even a low-polling president than to act against him. But what if it is the president who is fomenting the dissension, because his ego requires that every failure be blamed on somebody else?