November 20, 2018

Trump's Shock Factor Is Waning

“It’s hard to prove intangibles, harder still when they are in motion, like October clouds, moving rapidly across millions of minds.

One obvious but neglected intangible is worth noticing in the weeks before the elections: The country—consciously or unconsciously—has gotten used to Donald Trump. Twenty-one months into his administration, Mr. Trump has been processed, or half-processed—even subtly domesticated—by the large, complicated American mind, which is improvisational and on the whole incoherent except in moments of national crisis.

Even progressives to whom he is a monster treat him now as, at least, a familiar monster, another of the many disruptive, destructive realities of the 21st century. Life is a matter of learning to live with monsters. Mr. Trump hasn’t destroyed the world yet, as his enemies predicted he would.

In fact, life goes on, much for the better in many neighborhoods. To progressives this is disconcerting—anticlimactic. The market is up. Unemployment is way down. North and South Korea are talking. The Mueller thing goes on and on, but who knows about that? It’s off the screen for the moment.

These days, you only rarely see those psychiatric manifestoes on Facebook and Twitter claiming that the man is psychotic or infantile. They were common in the first year of Mr. Trump’s presidency but the diagnosis loses its force when a voter reflects how psychotic and infantile the culture itself has become. Mr. Trump’s peculiarities don’t seem unusual when compared with the extreme bizarreness, not to say pathology, that is routine on the left.”

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