Donald Trump…The person?
Is well known to all…
Donald Trump has a history….
People know his sidewalk act…
Things won’t be a surprise….
His poll numbers show THAT….
As he rode down that escalator in June 2015, it felt like a lark, a curiosity, just another staged television spectacle. At most, many assumed that Donald J. Trump’s candidacy would be a sideshow, sure to be entertaining but hardly decisive.
Four years later, as President Trump kicks off his campaign for a second term on Tuesday with an eardrum-pounding, packed-to-the-rafters rally in Florida, no one doubts that he is the dominant force in the arena today, the one defining the national conversation as no president has done in generations.
But the coming election is shaping up as a test — not just of the man but of his country. Was Mr. Trump’s victory the last time around a historical fluke or a genuine reflection of America in the modern age? Will the populist surge that lifted him to the White House run its course or will it further transform a nation and its capital in ways that will outlast his presidency? What kind of country do Americans really want at this point?
Whatever voters thought about Mr. Trump in 2016, they have now had more than enough time to take their measure of him, and their judgment arguably will say more about the mood of the world’s last superpower than whatever roll-the-dice decision may have been made last time. Mr. Trump promised to blow up the system; voters will decide if more disruption is still needed.
“You go from what was probably a pretty low-stakes election to a high-stakes one,” said Brendan Buck, a former counselor to Paul D. Ryan, the last Republican speaker of the House. “When there were so many people who didn’t think he was going to win, who didn’t think it was even possible, your vote didn’t seem as important. That today has totally shifted.”…
Mr. Trump remains more vulnerable than many presidents heading into a re-election year. Even with a strong economy, he is the only president in the history of polling who has never once, not for a single day, earned the support of a majority of Americans surveyed by Gallup. His own internal polls this spring showed him losing badly in key states, prompting him to first deny their existence and later to fire some of his pollsters.
Mr. Trump has never expanded his support beyond the people who elected him — and never really tried. He has remained focused intently on retaining the support of his base to the exclusion of reaching out to those who have opposed him. Whether by inclination or calculation, it is a strategy for a divided era when Americans are less interested in getting along…..