Leaders of both political parties and the most prominent voices in media, all make the same mistake that poisons our politics: concentrating on the president’s personality, not his policies. On cable news as well as the neighborhood pub, debates always seem to center on Trump’s character: is he a breath of fresh air who’s appropriately shaking the system, or a bigoted buffoon, who’s corrupt and incompetent? Democrats obsess on exaggerated charges of Russian collusion but won’t debate crucial issues like health care and tax reform. Arguments over Trump’s personality may boost ratings and political fund-raising but they’re ultimately pointless and polarizing.
Love him or hate him, he’s president for the next three-and-a-half years. Democrats could meet him halfway on legislation or foreign policy, but there’s no constructive compromise if your main concern is savaging his character. On reality shows, contestants play clear roles as heroes or villains but government should be about progress and programs, not nasty games.