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[Easy Chair]

The Uncertainty Principle


The first year of the Trump presidency is behind us. The unimaginable has become the historical. But time, the reputed healer of all wounds, has somehow only aggravated this one. Are we any closer to understanding what happened, or how to respond?

In December, when I sat down to write about my experience of Trump’s reign of error, I realized my need to reflect indicated that I was still in shock. I shouldn’t expect to say anything definitive — indeed, I should be careful not to try. Reality has not been kind to those who’ve made pronouncements about this presidency, from the pollsters who predicted it wouldn’t happen to the pundits who bet it wouldn’t survive this long. Despite being wrong so consistently — deluded, perhaps, by wishful thinking and a view of American history as basically sensible and forward facing — many of these so-called experts continue to confidently forecast Trump’s imminent downfall, precipitated by his corruption or his incompetence. Anyway, just look at those disapproval ratings.

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