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The preceding chapters lay out an innovative but straightforward argument: While Trump is an extraordinary president, his presidency is quite ordinary. The distinction between president and presidency is extremely important and one that is too often overlooked in assessments of any US administration. Since US politics is widely characterized as a presidential system, the person of the president is all too often conflated with the success or otherwise of his presidency. But distinguishing between them facilitates a more nuanced assessment of the presidency that any individual president leads.
President Trump’s presidency is ordinary in two main ways. First, the number and scope of his achievements are rather meager, and this is quite normal for American presidents facing the constraints of separated institutions sharing powers. Second, the few accomplishments that Trump can lay claim to are largely mainstream Republican ones. The alleged tribune of the working class has morphed into a classic Republican plutocrat, with the richest cabinet in history, cutting the taxes of the wealthy and the healthcare and social provisions of the poor, and striking free-trade deals that mirror those they replaced. If Trump had delivered on his promises to protect the economically precarious and insecure, it would have been a truly extraordinary accomplishment for a Republican president. But there is a huge chasm between Trump’s words and actions, his promises made and promises delivered. He is a faint-hearted revolutionary, talking the talk but not walking the walk.
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- Conclusion: Extraordinary President, Ordinary Presidency
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