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100 Days in and the Reichstag Hasn’t Burned Yet

Walter Russell Mead

With President Trump’s 100 day mark approaching, those prophesying apocalyptic doom under have not come out looking so good.

There have been no mass arrests of peaceful protestors. Federal judges rule against presidential orders, the President sputters in indignation—and the rulings stand. Putin hasn’t been offered the code to the nuclear football. Late night comics excoriate the president and the Gestapo doesn’t knock at their door. The grifters and mountebanks who hopped on the campaign wagon back when nobody in the establishment was willing to help the Trump operation are either learning to play in the big leagues or being edged toward the exits. The stock market is strong; the economy hasn’t tanked. An avalanche of leaks hasn’t exposed the collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign that so many people were sure was going to lead to impeachment.

In other words, life in our constitutional republic is still rolling on much as usual—or at least, closer to usual than any of the hyperventilators predicted. Congress and the courts are functioning as they did before; the powers of the President are still limited by the rule of law.

That doesn’t mean that the Trump Presidency is off to a roaring start. It isn’t, and there have been some expensive misfires and mistakes. Critics of the Trump Administration have plenty of things to point to, and friends of the Administration still look nervous and jumpy.

But the Trump-Hitler folks made buffoons of themselves with paranoid fantasies and steamy, overheated scenarios of impending doom. Some will be big enough to admit their mistake, look hard at what they got wrong and why, and emerge as smarter and more creditworthy participants in the national conversation. Others, many others, will try to act as if nothing has happened, and will wonder why nobody listens the next time they cry “Wolf.”

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