Rushing toward the breaking point
Directing the prosecution of political enemies is a habit of autocrats. As Benjamin Wittes, my Brookings Institution colleague, wrote recently, Trump is "normalizing for an entire political movement the politicization and weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence." Is this the legacy the Republican Party wants?
In the midst of all this, Republicans and Democrats in Congress go about their business, trying to negotiate a budget agreement to avoid a shutdown and, in the Democrats' case, trying to protect the Dreamers and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
And, who knows, maybe we can manage with a kind of split-level politics. While we sit back and wait on special counsel Robert Mueller to issue his findings, we pray that regular governance will be possible because there is no other choice.
Yet doing so means continuing to absorb Trump's blows to our system and to our country's influence around the globe. It also requires great faith in our capacity for restoration despite the readiness of the president's allies to place his survival above the health of our polity.
The United States does have extraordinary gifts for self-correction. But we must face the fact that Trump is accelerating us toward the breaking point. No matter how confident we are in our resilience, we should not imagine otherwise. Not even Mueller has a button on his desk he can press to get us out of this without scars.
E.J. Dionne's email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.
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