My friend emailed me the other day and asked, "one year in, how do y'all feel?", regarding Trump. Here's what I said:
The lesson I keep relearning is that many Americans aren't that interested in policy and just want a show. We speak often of how Trump tapped into working class anger over economic issues and there's some truth to that. But aside from immigration, he hasn't governed as a populist. Style aside, he's just another country club republican.
The base doesn't seem to care. What they like is the style, thumbing his nose at the establishment, the political incorrectness, attacking the elite, etc. He has a certain crass charm and appeals to people as sort of a mean version of Archie Bunker. I read an article recently about a small town in PA that voted for Trump. The reporter went back to see if people's opinions had changed. In short, they still like Trump and they don't care about economics. They do care about whether football players kneel during the national anthem and, not surprisingly, are fervently on Trump's side on that issue. Trump might be an idiot but he knows how to push people's buttons.
But the show will get old. It's fun to be outraged but eventually even a moron catches on. Furthermore, Americans are not strongly political people (they are mostly unaware) and I think that tendency will eventually reassert itself. It's surprising the base has lasted as long as it has. But in a few more "seasons" they should be getting tired of it. In concrete terms that means fewer of them will show up to vote.
The big hope near term is the midterm election swinging heavily democratic. It happened here in Virginia which not only got a democrat as governor but nearly brought our house of delegates to an even split. It's still a 51-49 republican majority as of today, however, because one district tied (yes, tied) and had to be decided by a coin toss, which then went to the republican. Still, it's way better than before when it was a +15 delegate majority for republicans and locked that way for years. The reason for this can accurately be described as a Trump backlash since the republican gubernatorial candidate campaigned in trumpian fashion and turnout was heavy among nominally anti-Trump voters. We also got a bunch of women elected and the first transgender delegate. Hopefully as goes Virginia so goes the nation.
As for impeachment, I love Bob Mueller too. My bet is that Trump and his henchmen did in fact collude with the Russians. That would make them a bona fide criminal organization. But impeachment is a hard road and, even if successful, will forever be tainted by political bias in the eyes of republicans. Remember Bill Clinton's impeachment? His crimes were nothing compared to Trump's but, as a Clinton supporter, I was convinced he was the victim of political persecution. And I didn't care whether the accusations against him were true or not (in fact I believed the perjury accusation). So it would be with Trump. The better alternative is that he loses decisively in the 2020 election. That is, if he doesn't push the nuclear button in the meantime.