Nineteen seventy-two, the year I entered public-policy school, was also the year of the Nixon landslide. The day after the election I was in utter despair.
Fortunately, one of my instructors was the immortal Richard Neustadt. After hearing me rant for a minute or two about how Nixon was going to wreck the country, Neustadt said something which I thought, at the time, was merely designed to comfort me, but which turned out to be prophetic.
“Don’t worry. Nixon has no sense of limits. He will be destroyed.”
Yes, the country is in much worse shape normatively and institutionally than it was in 1972. Back then, there were Republicans prepared to tell their own President that he’d gone too far. On the other hand, Trump is much wickeder and much crazier than Nixon ever dreamed of being, has far less grasp of the mechanics of governing, and has surrounded himself with a weaker (and crazier) team.
So there’s hope for the future.
For now, there’s work to do.