Trump’s win exposes Obama’s struggle to speak to the entire nation

From The Washington Post:

At the top of Obama’s list — the physical embodiment of those gathering and potentially existential threats — was Donald Trump, from whom Obama sat inches away in the Oval Office Thursday.

The president had mocked Trump as a temperamentally unstable reality TV star who regularly demeaned women and minorities and was unfit and unworthy of the country’s highest office. Following their first-ever meeting, Obama emphasized the need “to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.”

Trump’s win raises difficult questions for Obama that he and his top advisers have only just begun to confront: What role, if any, did Obama, his policies and his approach to the presidency play in Trump’s winning the White House? For more than a decade, Obama has forged a national political identity around the uplifting idea that Americans share a core set of liberal, democratic values that run deeper than the country’s racial, class and ideological divisions. Why did those divisions only seem to deepen over the course of Obama’s two terms in office?

“This has been a deeply dispiriting election year,” Obama recently told donors at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Ohio. “Sometimes you wonder, how did we get to the point where we have such rancor?”

Intentionally or not, some of the president’s actions likely contributed to that rancor. He was insulated by a White House bubble and a staff with fewer ties to those parts of the country that were most alienated. His executive actions, essential to advancing his agenda in an era of gridlock, inflamed an increasingly partisan electorate. Meanwhile, a micro-targeted media strategy sometimes took precedence over speaking to the entire country.

Inside the West Wing, there were tears, sadness and a general feeling of disbelief that even though Obama’s approval rating now stands at …

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