Reflections on 2018

Ken AshfordTrump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

1968 is often thought of as the most turbulent year domestically in modern American history, but I think 2018 is right up there. Sure, there wasn’t rioting in the streets, but the limitations of democracy and our constitutional rule of law remain tested.

Trump is, if not a criminal, certainly immoral, and without question the worst custodian of this country. He care not for the Constitution or reality. That’s a deadly concoction.

2018 saw Trump claim that he had solved the North Korea problem — he actually hadn’t — after cozying up to Kim Jong Un. And his obsession with Russia and Putin is mystifying — that is, until you accept the facts about his Moscow deals-in-the-making.

And Mueller’s investigation remains front page news, if only because Trump cannot stop tweeting about it (“WITCH HUNT!”) several times a week. (Certainly, Mueller cannot be blamed for the constant attention on his investigation). And then there is the whole SDNY investigation into Trump.

But Digby is right:

[T]he whole year is a low point. But to my mind nothing is lower than the fact that  Donald Trump believes that separating children, even infants, from their parents at the U.S. border — putting the kids in cages and then losing track of hundreds of them as their parents were deported — was a justifiable “deterrent.” Trump reportedly calls their nations “shithole countries” and threatens their leaders with a cutoff of aid if they don’t somehow keep their citizens from seeking refuge in the U.S. (Does he want them to build a wall to keep their people in?)

Trump has created a crisis where none existed — illegal immigration and asylum claims are quite low by historical standards — out of bigotry and rank political opportunism. His administration has changed the rules and procedures, forcing people to take more and more dangerous risks. And now children are dying. Two kids under age 10 have died in government custody under dubious conditions in the past month.


It is the very end of 2018. The government is shut down over Trump’s demand for a  wall at the border, while refugee children die in our government’s custody. Our president does not show even a scintilla of empathy or take any responsibility. That’s low, even for him. I hesitate to think what 2019 is going to bring.

So do I. But I don’t think Trump’s end-of-the-year gambit is going to turn things around for him. I don’t think his base really CARED about a wall that much. They just liked the chant. I mean, when you think about it, “Freebird” isn’t that great a song, but people asked for it anyway at concerts.

We haven’t hit the worst yet. But we’re coming to a head. A constitutional crisis.

Buckle up.