The most consequential politician since FDR

As the American political world hurtles closer every day to the seemingly inevitable official return of Donald Trump to presidential politics, I find myself often stepping back out of the fray only for a moment, to observe just how much the 45th president has changed our political and ideological landscape.

It's truly remarkable to me just how towering and consequential of a figure he has become, arguably more so than any political figure in decades. To be sure, I don't mean his accomplishments are greater or his contributions better than any of his predecessors. I mean that neither Ike, nor Nixon, nor Reagan, nor Clinton, nor Obama could spark a political realignment as Trump has done – not through policy, but just by being. Trumpism has turned long-time Republicans into Democrats, union-strong Democrats into Republicans, neo-cons into socialism apologists, and family-values conservatives into pragmatists. It's jaw-dropping.

I think I can say without fear of contradiction that he is a singular, political line of demarcation in the United States. There is Trump, and all of America is expected to come down on one side or the other. Of the nearly 159 million ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election, it's not a stretch to say that an overwhelming percentage of them were motivated to vote by Trump's presence on the ballot – either to vote for him, or against him…Joe Biden was as inconsequential a winning candidate as has ever existed in presidential politics. Down-ballot races around the country were referendums on Trump. Even school board races two years later are being impacted by Trumpism and the MAGA influence.

The number of politically active citizens who remain largely aloof to the Trump tempest – meaning neither loyal to his movement nor unwilling to partner with it – is both a numerically insignificant and increasingly ostracized number.

  • Refuse to join the MAGA movement and true believers will question your moral commitment to combatting evil like abortion and transgenderism.
  • Refuse to become an angry resister to the MAGA movement and hostile anti-Trumpers will question your moral commitment to combatting evil like racism and misogyny.

This all became glaringly apparent once again these last few days – another sign that even though Joe Biden currently lives in the White House, it's clear that Trump and Trumpism remains the driving force in the political world.

When Trump attacked Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell recently on Truth Social, referring to McConnell's wife Elaine Chao as, "his China loving wife, Coco Chow," the pushback from his loyal supporters was intense. Not against Trump, but against those on the Right who dared to criticize Trump for the insult. Trump is always right, never to be criticized for fear of weakening him in his courageous fight against those who will destroy our civilization.

Conversely, when the president's son publicly expressed frustration that the U.S. government would be spending far less on its own (taxpaying) citizens suffering in Florida, than the $75 billion it has sent to Ukraine, the anti-MAGA crowd went ballistic.

Really? There's no place for a rational discussion about the largesse that has been shipped to Ukraine? It's all acceptable and necessary because they are fighting for "democracy and for a liberal society?"

President Zelensky has a checkered relationship with "democracy," having jailed his top political rival, legally banned his opposition, mandated a crackdown on any opposition to the war, and eliminated the free press there.

Isn't there a reasonable discussion to be had? Apparently not. That's how this works now.

All that matters is: "Where do Trump and MAGA World come down on the issue?" If they oppose something, good people will support it, and vice versa. It's all paralyzing and stupid. Conversation and debate are now reduced to a simple survey of Trump's Truth Social posts, and the electorate takes its cues accordingly.

Fanatical support, deranged opposition – it's all why I think it's virtually inarguable that Donald J. Trump has somehow managed to become the single most consequential American politician since at least FDR.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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