At this late date, it’s painfully apparent to anyone but his most fervent supporters that Donald J. Trump desperately wants to be loved and respected. He may be prone to incoherent outbursts and petulant tweetstorms, but these are a response to the world’s contempt for him, not an attempt to cultivate it. As someone whose every whim has been indulged for longer than most of us have been alive, it is no doubt baffling and infuriating that his every move lowers his popularity and generates even more scorn for his astonishingly inept and frankly dangerous presidency.
And yet, he could do something about it.
It may be too late for Trump to save his presidency, or to win the sorts of popularity ratings his predecessors achieved, but Trump does have it in his power to rehabilitate his reputation with millions of Americans.
• He could demand that millions of imperiled Dreamers have their lives given back to them.
• He could work to enact Medicare for all, ending once and for all the disaster of the American health care nightmare.
• Most urgently, he could partner with those calling for common sense gun reform and enact policies that will prevent another tragic mass shooting. Sure, the NRA donated millions to his campaign. Donald Trump, successful billionaire, can give it back and become a hero overnight.
These are just a few of the ways Trump could win back the love and respect of those supporters who have fallen away, and gain grudging appreciation from those who have been critical of him. At this late date, though, one thing is agonizingly apparent to us all. Despite the fact that so many policies that would truly make America great again are well within his power, one thing is tragically certain: He won’t.
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