As time moves on and our capacity for retaining long-term memories continues to weaken, it's easier than ever for politicians to rehabilitate themselves. This happens even without them doing anything in particular: Presidents tend to be remembered fondly after they leave office, as people forget why they were mad at them. Even one-termers like George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter had 74 and 69 percent approval ratings, respectively, by the end of the 20th century.
Case in point: George W. Bush. It's only been nine years since he left office with a 30 percent approval rating, but turns out a couple naive paintings and a single speech suggesting Trump is bad can really turn things around for a man believed by historians to be one of America's worst presidents. According to a recent Economist-YouGov survey of 1,494 adults, 51 percent of Democrats have a very favorable or somewhat favorable view of George W. Bush, along with 76 percent of Republicans.
I could spend the rest of my life shouting about why George W. Bush is bad, and why we shouldn't forget about him fibbing his way into a war that killed hundreds of thousands, his violently Islamophobic policies that paved the way for Donald Trump, and his secret scheme to wiretap Americans without warrants. But I guess I understand the impulse to retroactively endorse Bush—Trump is horrifyingly bad in way we've never seen before, and it can make the Bush years, during which the US had one of the worst economic collapses in its history, seem rosier. At least we didn't have Twitter back then, right?
But given this impulse for nostalgia, we're faced with a pretty awful future, one in which we all start reassessing Trump the same way so many have reassessed W. By 2029, when President Scott Adams signs a law requiring all kindergarten teachers to carry Dilbert-branded firearms, and Secretary of State Tim Allen decides that we should launch all of our nukes at the sun to fight global warming, a lot of former resistance members may feel softer toward Trump.
Perhaps they'll decide that his insidious tweets were actually kind of cute, or that at least he got a Goldman Sachs guy to run the National Economic Council instead of OJ Simpson. Compared to Secretary of Education Slenderman, Betsy DeVos seemed so nice.
When you get down in the dumps about our current politics, it helps to remember that old saying: Things are never so bad that they can't get worse.
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