The election of Donald Trump has torn public opinion in the western world. Arguably, opinion has never been so divisive, polarised or vicious. In the United States, traditional Democrat voters (lets call them 'liberals', although labels are far from useful in the current climate) - hate Trump. Traditional Republicans by and large adore him. And, whilst much of the media will tell us that Trump voters will support him come what may, the reality is much more damaging to democracy. Democrats will never - ever - give the President credit for the good he does. They will hate him, come what may.
As of February 21st 2018, the US economy is booming, millions of more jobs have been created and the biggest tax cuts since Reagan have directly led to pay rises for the poorest in society and huge corporation tax cuts for businesses. This progress is, perhaps inevitably, being side-lined by establishment media in favour of a Russia-Trump conspiracy that is going nowhere. So, to recap: the poor are better off, businesses doing exceptionally well and millions of new jobs. In addition, American manufacturing is experiencing a resurgence that promises to transform the rust-belt that was annihilated by thirty years of unfettered globalisation.
Obama would bite your hand off for this legacy.
Now, gun control. The most intractable policy issue in the country, which no government of any colour has managed to deal with - ever. Obama failed, Bush failed and Clinton failed. Nobody would ever expect Trump to even care. Yet, in the wake of the most recent school shooting tragedy in Florida, Donald Trump has somehow come up Trump. He is forcing through a bill to ban bump stocks. This is a piece of kit that essentially turns a regular semiautomatic weapon in to a machine gun - the kind used to pepper spray a field of concert-goers in Las Vegas in 2017.
Do my Democrat, peace-loving friends applaud this? No. They sneer. It's 'not far enough', or he's 'just doing it for the publicity' or 'just to win the next election'. It seems that Trump can do no good. Liberals hate him and they are committed to hating him for the long-haul, no matter what. Politics is now so toxic and hateful that liberals will refute absolutely any progress because they can not stomach the fact that a big brash rich white man beat Hillary.
This is a terrible shame for society, a shame for American politics and a tragedy for American democracy. Ultimately it weakens liberals' hopes of winning the next election. Because, if they could embrace his achievements and regain a reputation for putting the country before Party, those swing voters just might take them seriously enough in 2020 to kick Trump out.