-- A nation divided shocked itself a year ago with an election that upended politics as we know it and took the country in a vastly different direction.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll tells the story of the big divide in dramatic fashion. Two-thirds of Americans surveyed doubt the president’s honesty and trustworthiness, with a similar share saying he lacks the appropriate personality and temperament for the job.
As a reflection of society, Trump at times seems well suited for an impassioned, chaotic, short-attention-span era. His instinct to divide rather than unite leaves him at the helm of a country that has seldom seemed angrier.
It has been a dizzying year.
Racial tumult, threats of nuclear war, national tragedies, suffering from natural disasters, legislative failures, revelations of Russian interference with American democracy, indictments from a special counsel — headlines blow through at the speed of a presidential Twitter feed.
Trump has redefined the boundaries of political discourse deemed appropriate for a president. He has repeatedly stated and tweeted things that are simply not true.
The few GOP leaders who have outright denounced him have done so in leaving the national scene, meaning the president can and does claim victory over even more vanquished rivals.
Trump is broadly unpopular, yes, but he was when he won the election too. The Trump base is about as solid as it was last fall, when “Make America great again” signs across rural America were manifestations of how a New York billionaire spoke to the hopes and dreams of those who felt forgotten and left behind.
There will be no forgetting this period. The fever that produced the wild 2016 campaign has most definitely not broken.
As for the president, for all the reasons for discomfort, he is in many ways where he is most comfortable operating.
Trump has set a tone and a pace for America that tests the nation’s institutions in fundamental ways.
But he remains at the center of all the wild action — right where he wants to be.