I posed the question to a few friends last week. Some of them were liberal, some moderate, and a couple were to the right of Barry Goldwater’s ghost. I asked them “in one word, what is the state of the union?”
One said “chaos,” one said “divided,” another said “stronger than ever” (so much for a one word answer, eh?), but the answer that really struck a chord was this: “Twilight Zone.”
Never in the history of our country has a celebrity who has never held public office been elected President. Many forget that even though Ronald Reagan had been a movie star, it was 30 years before he became President and he served two terms as Governor of California.
Secondly, Trump brings a new definition (whether good or bad, depending on who you are) to the term “presidential.” His demeanor, speech, policy, relationships, and, well, everything really, is vastly different than his predecessors. All he really needs is a big block of cheese in the main lobby and he’ll be Andrew Jackson 2.0.
Trump was elected as someone who would disrupt Washington. And, again, no matter your party affiliation, you can’t fault voters for wanting a change in the way government works. Was Trump the right solution? Probably not. But he had the excited support of a large block of voters and was considered an alternative to Hillary Clinton, who had been on the national radar for 25 years straight and epitomized the “same old, same old” of Washington.
He’s had a hard time making good on his promises of a border wall, repealing Obamacare, passing a tax cut, and to “drain the swamp.” It would have made sense if his band of staffers, including the likes of Steve Bannon, had any clue how government works. Not only did they fail at making the trains run on time, but they built zero good will with Congress to get recalcitrant Republican members to stick their necks out for him.
While the Russia investigation and legislative battles will continue over year two, which Donald Trump will we see? Will it be a more on-message, reserved President, or a loud, twittering, brash meathead?
It’s just weird to think about.
Patrick Pfingsten is an award-winning journalist, political consultant, and PR expert. You can find him on Twitter @pfingsten1 or email him at email@example.com.