Quick Takes: Can Normalcy Return Post-Trump?

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* James Walcott asks, “Will We Ever Return to Normal After Trump?

In the sorriest days of the Watergate scandal, the iconoclastic journalist and 60 Minutes commentator Nicholas von Hoffman compared the Nixon presidency to “a dead mouse on the American family kitchen floor. The question is: who is going to pick it up by the tail and drop it in the trash?” It would be premature to write off the Trump presidency as a deceased rodent lying on the linoleum. In its nasty defensiveness, it is closer to a cornered rat. It still has plenty of ugly fight left. But we are at the beginning of the endgame and it is not premature to start imagining how to pick through the damage the Trump presidency will leave behind and future-proof the republic so that It Can’t Happen Here never happens again. So much headspace will be opened up once Trump is no longer occupying it that we must make the most of it.

The moment Trump leaves the White House for early retirement, jail, a sanitarium, or a Russian refuge, let the reckoning begin. Cue the exodus of his cronies from the Cabinet and commence the shunning…Post-Trump, the country needs its own, domestic version of the de-Nazification program established in Germany after World War II, an inquiry into how so many alleged neo-Nazi, white-supremacist sympathizers had input into this presidency, and their connection with neo-Nazi and nativist movements overseas.

* There are probably hundreds of little ways that we’ve all normalized Trump’s presidency by lowering the bar for what we expect. I thought of that when I saw this tweet.

You know what? It hasn’t been that rare. Do a google image search on the words “former presidents” and you’ll get an idea of how often they’ve gotten together in the past. It just feels rare right now because Trump has so thoroughly deepened the divide.

* Here is the first sign that the Bannonization of the Republican Party is working.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has become a flashpoint for Republicans running for Senate in 2018.

The Hill asked nearly two dozen Senate candidates this week if they would support McConnell as leader if elected. Not one campaign said outright that they would support him, although two candidates appear to have expressed support in the past.

Several candidates declared their opposition to McConnell and attacked their GOP primary opponents for not taking a stance on the question. Other candidates deflected, or spoke on background about the bind they’re in over the question of McConnell’s leadership. Most candidates were eager to avoid the question entirely, and ignored multiple requests for comment.

* This doesn’t bode well for the Republican tax cuts.

President Trump campaigned as one of the world’s greatest dealmakers, but after nine months of struggling to broker agreements, lawmakers in both parties increasingly consider him an untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted negotiator.

As Trump prepares to visit Capitol Hill on Tuesday to unify his party ahead of a high-stakes season of votes on tax cuts and budget measures, some Republicans are openly questioning his negotiating abilities and devising strategies to keep him from changing his mind.

The president’s propensity to create diversions and follow tangents has kept him from focusing on his legislative agenda and forced lawmakers who might be natural allies on key policies into the uncomfortable position of having to answer for his behavior and outbursts.

* The Senate race in Alabama is going to be interesting to watch. The Republicans couldn’t have come up with a more extremist candidate. But Doug Jones is running a very different kind of campaign than the ones we got used to from blue dogs in the South. He isn’t equivocating an inch. Take a look at this ad. I can’t imagine anything more powerful.

* Finally, this was the day two years ago when I became convinced that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a good president.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.