I should be doing many things today. Writing up more Israeli companies for our economic App that will be coming out next month. Working on the Postwar period of American history for our website, or even working on one of our other Apps, but it is hard to get any work done today. It is election day in the United States and although I am thousands of miles away, and have a government here in Israel that is problematic, I find myself spending the day worrying about what will happen in the US. I do not think that despite being a political junkie I have never cared so much about the outcome of an interim election.
The question is why?
I have been a student and teacher of American history all my life. I have written biographies of FDR and JFK, and the institution of the Presidency of the United and never have I seen the institution demeaned in the ways that I have seen it happen in these past two years. Never has the Presidency been run in such a poor way. Never has there been a President who has worked to divide the nation instead of at least trying to unite it.
But worse than all, never has there been a President who has walked away from so many international agreements. Never has there been a President who seems valueless in his foreign policy. Never has there been a President who has not met a dictator he does not like.
And never has their been a system that has not put the breaks on a President who has done all of these things and more.
The American system was designed to never let someone like Donald Trump become President. That was what the Electoral College’s original role was, to stop a populist who was not qualified to become President becoming one. But that role was long ago removed. That is what the system of checks and balances was supposed to do, but a Republican Congress afraid of its base has been unwilling to do that. So what is left is midterm elections to correct.
I have no idea how today will turn out. I am cautiously optimistic, but still its hard to concentrate. It’s hard to do any other work. I know I am far away, but what happens in America has an impact here in Israel. While many say Trump has been good for Israel I beg to differ- but this is not the time-
Rather I anguish as a Historian of the American Presidency- I can only hope that as I am writing this the American people are going to the ballot boxes and taking the only corrective measures they can make- Voting for Democrats!