A friend of mine asked the other day if I expect American politics to “return to normal” once the presidency of Donald Trump is behind us. Wow! One could spend hours responding to such a query. The short answer is that politics in the post-Trump era will be much different. The longer answer […]

 

 

A friend of mine asked the other day if I expect American politics to “return to normal” once the presidency of Donald Trump is behind us.

Wow! One could spend hours responding to such a query.

The short answer is that politics in the post-Trump era will be much different. The longer answer is that politics never stays the same.

My disdain of The Donald is as strong as anyone's, but I'm not kidding myself that the body politic eventually will revert to what it was in the pre-Donald era. The best I can hope for is the disappearance of some of Trump's worst habits.

You see, Trump is like every major political player in American history. He's  changed everything, for better or worse. Even relatively boring presidents have had considerable impact. The so-called do-nothing presidents have pushed their own   political styles. And they've left their fingerprints all over the place.

So no, I don't expect the post-Trump era to bring a return to the pre-Trump era. It will bring an era of its own, reflecting or rejecting, to one degree or another, all that has happened in administrations of the past.

In the 50-plus years I've been covering government and politics for newspapers, radio and television, the changes have been broad and profound. The impact of women and racial minorities in politics over this past half-century has been almost beyond measure. Then, too, today's electorate is much different from the voters of the early 1960s. The World War II generation is gone, and the Vietnam generation is starting to disappear.

Yes, Republicans can boast that they now control the presidency,  both houses of Congress and the legislatures and governorships in most states.  They also can brag that this current situation is a reversal from  not so long ago when the Democrats controlled almost everything.

But the social fabric of America, which partly mirrors our politics, is far more liberal than it was when I got into the business.  Most people back then would have laughed if I had told them that I would live to see  a  massive legal and political retreat from prohibitions  on gay marriage, marijuana usage and various other social bugaboos.

A socially-liberal electorate is not going to force  a retreat from the libertarian trends of recent years.

The new “normal” will not be a  return to the old  “normal.”