Ross Douthat has had quite a year.
But as Douthat looks back on the year, he chose to return to another poorly received column.
That’s a February piece in which he argued that President Donald Trump “has been tamed.”
Trump, Douthat wrote, “remains weak and trammeled and conventional in policy,” and, as such, conservatives like him had no moral obligation to support Democrats in the midterm elections.
In order to imagine a scenario where he would support Democrats, Douthat got “imaginative,” and pictured a world where “Trump started overruling his own foreign policy team and making various unwarranted, Manchurian-candidate-style concessions to the Russians.”
Douthat concedes he was very, very wrong in his year-end column, admitting that “all year there has been more and more overt Trumpishness” and that the White House staff now has the “island-of-misfit-toys feel that characterized Trump’s inner circle in the 2016 campaign.”
“So here we are, with Trump finally unbound, just as everyone who once opposed him had feared,” Douthat writes.
Douthat declines to guess at what comes next, so as to “save myself the embarrassment of future mea culpas” but argues that he’s not so much worried about “bad policy or sleaze or norm violations” as total and complete civilization-wrecking calamity.
If “the equivalent of 9/11 or the financial crisis” happens in the next year, Douthat writes, “things will get very, very dark before there’s even time to read the full text of the 25th Amendment.”