Thursday, December 28, 2017

Why Trust Anything Privileged, Cozy And Personally Dependent On The Status Quo?

NewYorker |  Even in a stable constitutional republic, a cynical or unmoored citizenry presents an opportunity for demagogues and populists. As much as stagnant wages in former manufacturing regions, glaring economic inequality, or white backlash after the Obama Presidency, the country’s disillusionment with institutions enabled Donald Trump’s election. Trump had a sound instinct as he took office that public disgust with √©lites, including those running the Republican Party, ran so deep that he—even as a New York billionaire—could get away with outrageous attacks on people or agencies previously believed to be off limits for a President, because of the political backlash that the attacks would generate. After his Inauguration, for example, Trump did not hesitate to denigrate the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies for promoting their independent judgment that Russia had sought to aid his campaign. And the President’s opportunistic assaults on less popular institutions—such as the news media and Congress—have riled his base.

It is tempting to think that an institution like the F.B.I. enjoys such credibility and public support that its agents and officials—and Mueller himself—can rely on cross-party backing in a crisis, even if Republicans remain silent now. Perhaps. But this was a party that refused to challenge Trump’s backing of Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race. And an understanding of what core Trump supporters believe about the F.B.I. and Mueller has to take into account Gallup’s trend lines. While celebrating this new year, it will require a certain degree of evidence-light optimism to be convinced that the center will hold.