For example, Trump will benefit from a more conservative Court for as long as he is president, but otherwise the political benefits for him are only likely to shrink. His standing with social conservatives has nowhere to go but down—and as the fiasco over separating immigrant children from their parents at the border demonstrates, even figures like Franklin Graham are willing to break with Trump on some things. And although the court was a useful motivation for conservatives in 2016, they may lose interest, having secured a conservative majority. Early polling on the current vacancy shows Democrats are far more engaged on the issue than Republicans.
As for North Korea, the summit itself seems likely to be the peak of the diplomatic overtures, rather than the beginning. The document that Trump signed with Kim is vague unto meaninglessness, and it’s already becoming clear that North Korea doesn’t accept the American definition of “denuclearization.” The U.S. has no clear timetable for denuclearization, and there’s no detail about how it would be verified. A follow-up visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week was a disaster. Each day, it seems more and more likely that North Korea has pulled the same bait-and-switch that it pulled on previous American presidents—but with the added victory of the Singapore summit.
The tax bill was meant to be the Republican Party’s big advantage headed into the midterm elections—a move that would please the GOP base and win over independents by putting extra cash in their pockets. But from the start, there were troubles.