It is now less than a year before the inauguration of the next US President.
Barring a widespread epiphany amongst Republican Senators, Donald Trump will be the GOP candidate for President in November's election. Throughout the three years he has been sitting in the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave there have been occasional news items about why voters chose him in 2016. The most popular theory is that he was elected to shake up the Washington establishment and bring much needed change to a Federal Government that had become sclerotic and unresponsive to the needs of the American people. Trump's wrecking ball for anything that interferes with his own self interest was seen as the perfect antidote to the logjams plaguing US politics. "Drain the Swamp" said he and it will be done, they hoped.
There is no doubt that Trump's erratic decision making and persistent ignorance of even the most basic norms of government have dealt serious, perhaps fatal, blows to the Washington Bureaucracy. He declined to fill many Presidentially appointed posts. His relentless attack on regulations has neutered Federal agencies' ability to enforce their mandates. His disdain for the briefs prepared to inform his decisions is well publicized, further eroding the effectiveness of the work paid for by US tax payers. Trump's assault on the truth and the very notion that the President must be truthful has encouraged other politicians to plumb the depths of their own mendacity.
On the International stage, Trump's "Mad man" tactics have impaired a global approach to climate change, shaken NATO to its core, strained decades old alliances with Japan and South Korea, comforted decades old rivals and generated trade tensions that now threaten global consequences.
He has encouraged division at home between races and politically within the European Union. In sum, Trump has abundantly fulfilled his supposed mandate to be Whirlwind-in-Chief.
It is not difficult to see that US Federal politics needed shaking up. The US has not passed a budget on time since Bill Clinton was dallying with Monica Lewinsky at the Resolute Desk. US debt is on an ever rising ride to oblivion. US health care is an ongoing hot mess. There are serious challenges to US global leadership that pre-existed Trump. The Washington Establishment badly needed to be torn down and rebuilt. For all of his enthusiastic bashing, Trump's thoughtless, nearly random destruction has not yet succeeded in tearing down much that needs removal. His term has created opportunities to build improved structures of governance but Trump is incapable of realizing the gains to be had from them. Trump has also overlooked important targets.
The time has come for a President who has a vision of what still needs to be destroyed and what needs to rise from the rubble. The US needs a President who can lead the US to better governance and the world to better trading systems, a global approach to climate change, better alliances and better containment of threats to a liberal democratic world order. It is up to the Democrats to produce a leader with the right qualities to meet America's needs. Democratic primary debates need to focus on this, not just the question of who can beat Trump. If the Democrats can nominate that person and run a campaign focused on that theme, they will trounce Trump.