Trump Wasn’t a Dictator, but He Played One on TV

Trump was the Jimmy Carter of the Right. Just another corporate liberal, who was perceived to be especially incompetent and often made out to be far worse than he actually was, and who presided over an economic disaster and turned out to be a one-term president.

By Gene Healy, Reason

My fellow Americans, our long National Infrastructure Week is over. The whole thing’s been exhausting: a four-year assault on the sensibilities and senses at a relentless death-metal pace. Every day brought a new enormity, from that uncomfortably Freudian spat with Kim Jong Un about whose “nuclear button” was “bigger & more powerful” to the eerie “I’m meltinggg!” rants about voter fraud near the end. Midway through Donald J. Trump’s tenure, in a desperate attempt at self-care, I moved my iPhone from nightstand to dresser—just to delay my what-fresh-hell-is-this early morning scan of the president’s Twitter feed until I was actually upright.

But was it all as radically disjunctive as it felt? Humor me: Try, if you can, to mentally mute @realDonaldTrump’s Twitter feed; conjure up a President Trump who in his public conduct is as impeccably boring as Vice President Mike Pence. Thus limited to concrete actions taken and new powers seized, you might be able to make out something that looks closer to a bog-standard version of the imperial presidency—not quite as “not normal” as the Trump presidency seemed.


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