NYT: Obama Policies, Vision Face Reckoning With History...
As he raced across the country before the election, President Obama warned supporters about the stakes. “All the progress we’ve made over these last eight years,” he said, “goes out the window if we don’t win this election.”
Hillary Clinton, his anointed successor, did not win, and so now Mr. Obama will find out whether his prediction was just campaign hyperbole or if his legacy really has just gone out the window. Not only are specific initiatives like his health care and climate change programs at risk, but so, too, is the broader vision Mr. Obama articulated for America.
Suddenly, the progressive, post-racial, bridge-building society he promised has given way to an angry, jeering, us-against-them nation to be led by a new president who relishes reality-show name-calling with racial overtones. In none of Mr. Obama’s worst-case scenarios when he came to office was this the way he imagined leaving.
Since the electoral earthquake that made Donald J. Trump his designated successor, Mr. Obama has consoled his team — and himself — by telling them that they moved the country forward despite this obvious setback. Change does not follow a straight line, he told crying aides. Instead, it tends to zig and zag.
But Mr. Obama’s place in history looks considerably different than a week ago. The transformation he envisioned may not survive his administration. He is leaving near the peak of his popularity, yet many of the voters who made Mr. Obama the nation’s first black president chose to replace him with a man who had peddled racially incendiary suggestions that he might not have been born in this country.