What's the Worst Thing Donald Trump Has Done So Far?

On the day President Donald Trump moved to undercut the Affordable Care Act and to disavow the Iran nuclear agreement, a friend asked what I thought was the worst thing he has done in his nine months in office.It's not any specific act, as damaging as many have been, I replied. It's his concerted effort to denigrate the nation's most enduring institutions: the integrity of the electoral system, the independent judiciary, the separation of powers, the free press, and mutual respect with U.S. allies.Trump's incessant focus on himself makes him seem like a modern-day version of France's King Louis XIV, who equated himself with all national authority by declaring " 'l'etat c'est moi' — I am the state." In so doing, Trump is creating the greatest test for the nation's democratic system since it forced President Richard Nixon's resignation in the Watergate crisis four decades ago.Ultimately, there will be other presidents who can correct many of Trump's specific actions. But it may prove much harder to undo the damage to the nation's basic fabric, especially when so many fervent Trump backers accept his Big Brother-like repetition of lies that denigrate both rivals and allies and purvey the poisonous concept that intensive media scrutiny constitutes "fake news."Here are the most egregious examples: The electoral system. Before the election, Trump forecast widespread fraud and, after his narrow electoral victory overcame his 3-million popular vote deficit, erroneously claimed he "won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." Despite the lack of evidence of fraud, he created a commission "to study vulnerabilities in voting systems used for federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations, improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting." Its unstated goal: to establish new curbs on voting that could disenfranchise millions of voters.  Continue reading...

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