Yesterday, on June 12th, 2029, President Donald Trump, two days short of his 83rd birthday, died peacefully in the White House, just five months after winning a fourth term. Vice President Sarah Palin was immediately sworn in as his successor.

The announcement has shaken the country to its core, provoking a quiet period of contemplation about the Trump years and what comes next. America has changed in ways that few believed possible.

When he was first elected in 2016, Trump offered what many Americans wanted. He projected himself as a “strong man” who would turn back the clock and restore the country to what he thought was the greatness of the past, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Working-class men, in particular, overwhelmingly supported Trump’s perplexing promise to return their manufacturing jobs and their middle-class lives, as though they faced no new competition from women, minorities and other countries.

Those who understood the dangers to democracy that a man like Trump represented had assumed that our system of checks and balances would keep him from going too far. But they were wrong. Once in power, Trump accumulated more power with each passing year, relying in part on a fiercely partisan Congress and a compliant Supreme Court, which included the three new members he’d appointed. Those who disagreed with him, including the press, were slowly silenced by lawsuits, threats, personal attacks and imprisonment.

Trump came to power in one of the nation’s most bizarre presidential elections. It featured two widely unpopular major party candidates and two smaller party candidates. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s main competitor, was widely expected to win the election, according to polls and pundits across the spectrum. Trump, however, shocked the political world, winning with just 46 percent of the vote after voters either ignored the polls or thought their vote didn’t matter.

Once inaugurated, Trump quickly acted on the promises he’d made during the campaign, many of which were laid out in his “First 100 Days” plan.

 Over time, all taxes on the rich and corporations were eliminated, while spending on the military was increased by a third. The national debt exploded.

• Trade deals were torn up, but instead of creating new manufacturing jobs, it caused the loss of 5 million jobs dependent upon exports. The cost of imported goods doubled and tripled with new tariffs and trade wars. Hundreds of Wal-Marts and bargain stores were forced to close.

 Abortion was outlawed.

 Same-sex marriage was criminalized.

 Coal mining and offshore drilling were dramatically increased, while all support for renewable energy was halted.

 To reduce “burdensome” regulations, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act were gutted, and in just a few years Americans once again saw smog clouds over its cities, acid rain in places like Maine and rising pollution in its rivers and shorelines.

 All actions to respond to climate change were stopped.

 Nearly all gun laws were eliminated, including the ban on military-style heavy and tactical weapons.

 Millions of children of illegal immigrants were sent back to the country of their parents’ origin, even though they were born here. Many died trying to return, while the nation’s food industry nearly collapsed from the lack of harvesters. Food prices skyrocketed.

 Immigration was sharply curtailed, except for white European Christians. Muslims were excluded altogether. In an aging country, many companies were forced to close because of a lack of employees.

 Nuclear weapons spread to 12 new countries, including at least four in danger of being overtaken by extremists, who have pledged to use those weapons to eliminate America’s major cities. Reckless taunting and over-reactions have engaged the country in five new wars since 2020.

 As Trump promised, the world fears America. But most of that fear is felt by our former allies, who increasingly see the U.S. as an erratic, unreliable and dangerous superpower.

The country is now deeply settled in a second Great Depression, leading to more calls for a dictatorship.

The children of America have begun to ask some hard questions of their parents at kitchen tables across the country. “What did you do to stop the rise of Trump?” they ask. Parents often deny voting for Trump.

Others offer sheepish explanations. “I never thought he would win. All the polls had Clinton winning. I thought I was free to use my vote as a protest against the system.”

“But Dad, didn’t you hear what Trump was saying? Didn’t you know that there was only one candidate who could have stopped him? Why didn’t you vote for her, Dad?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie. I didn’t like her very much.”

“But why?”

“Well, she used a personal computer at home when she should have used a government computer. And she made a lot of money-making speeches.”

“You risked our future for that, Dad?”

Alan Caron is the owner of Caron Communications and the author of “Maine’s Next Economy” and “Reinventing Maine Government.” He can be contacted at:

[email protected]