Donald Trump is the gaudy peacock in our political menagerie. Because he demands and gets so much attention, we fail to notice how much a permanent feature of the landscape he has become. We seem to need him there, too. Given up for dead after his antics on January 6, 2021, he has been resurrected by unanimous demand from both his adoring fans and his crazed detractors, for whom he serves as the cause of, and solution to, pretty much everything.
Trump, who is seeking a second term at the presidency, just won big in the Iowa caucuses, cruised to victory in New Hampshire, and his Republican competition is surrendering without much of a fight. Immediately after Iowa, Vivek Ramaswamy quit the race and endorsed Trump. Florida governor Ron DeSantis bent the knee a few days later. The last obstacle to a Trump coronation is his former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, whose most rational expectation at this point is to be offered the second-best job. Unlike his pariah candidacy in 2016, Trump can now boast of the support of many grandees in the Republican Party: if there’s such a thing as a Republican establishment, he’s it. He’s also polling better than he ever has, and leads President Biden in most opinion surveys.