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Trump Fatigue Syndrome

President Trump from the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2019 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

I was surprised to read Robert J. Samuelson’s column in the Washington Post arguing for the impeachment and removal of President Trump. Samuelson is, above all, a realist who has looked on economics and politics with a tough and somewhat cynical eye for some 30 years. He’s one of my favorites. He’s not the sort of writer to endorse efforts doomed to failure.

Samuelson recognizes that the odds of Congress following through on his advice are low-to-zero. He acknowledges that forcing a president from office less than a year before an election would undermine the legitimacy of our political system. But he is for impeachment nonetheless. It is, he says, the “lesser evil.”

When you read Samuelson’s column, you notice how small a role Ukraine plays in his argument. The charge that Trump held up aid to Ukraine to force an investigation into Hunter Biden is buried under paragraphs of additional criticisms. Trump’s behavior, rhetoric, and withdrawal from northeastern Syria take precedence. “The lesson of the Syrian debacle is that Trump is increasingly impervious to outside evidence and influence,” Samuelson writes. I could have told him this four years ago.

Samuelson has reached his breaking point. And he isn’t alone. A large part of the country suffers from Trump Fatigue Syndrome. This is related but not identical to Trump Derangement Syndrome. The sufferers of Trump Fatigue aren’t driven mad by the president. They are just tired of having to wake up every morning to another of his sudden attacks, reversals, exaggerations, and boasts. They want the show to end. That is why the impeachment polls mirror the job approval polls. If you like Trump, you can’t have enough of him. If you dislike him, you want him to go away. Now.

As I write, Trump Fatigue hasn’t spread to the 43 percent or so of the country that supports the president. But the future in politics is never a straight-line projection of the present. There were hints that Republicans are growing weary after the president announced the Syria withdrawal and awarded his Doral resort the G-7. (He later rescinded this contract.) If more voters come to agree with Robert Samuelson in the coming months, our politics are going to look very different.


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