One year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to take the oath of office, Democrats were in disarray. Supporters of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were pointing fingers at each other, the Democratic National Committee was in disgrace, and Democratic voters were demoralized.
Now, Trump has succeeded in doing something extraordinary, something neither Clinton nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could do — he has united and energized Democrats.
Moreover, if national polls are accurate, the president has taken his own party to the edge of a political cliff, the 2018 midterm elections.
This has occurred in spite of a growing economy, a booming stock market, a shrinking unemployment rate and tax cuts intended to stimulate even more growth.
While economic dislocations and low wage growth certainly played a role in boosting Trump’s presidential run, it was his view of America that mobilized key voters behind his anti-establishment candidacy.
Trump voters were angry about how the country has changed. They saw liberals encouraging diversity (through same-sex marriage, transgender rights and immigration) at the expense of traditional values, roles and institutions (e.g., traditional religious beliefs and organizations).
Even worse, Republicans were unable to roll back or stop the tide of change. Trump’s cultural populism was an important part of his campaign message, and it continues to underlie his appeal to older, less…