News analysis

Trump's departure leaves troubling questions

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave as they board the Air Force One on Jan 20, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - After four turbulent years in which he achieved the lowest approval ratings since polling began, Mr Donald Trump leaves many Americans more aware of the fragility of democracy, and of the danger when complacent - or conniving - elites allow space for populists to ride to power on identity and grievance politics.

The brash real estate developer from Queens who muscled into Manhattan, parlayed himself into a reality TV star and four years ago, rode into the White House itself, never sought to unite the country, but continually stoked division, partly by using the power of social media platforms, until finally, on Jan 6, he overreached when he incited supporters to mob the Capitol itself.

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