Transformation? Or Aberration?

A few days ago, a front-page NY Times headline read, “Under Trump, a Once Unimaginable Presidency Becomes a Reality.”  Written by the estimable Peter Baker, the article argues that Trump has “transformed the presidency.”

According to Baker the list of transformations is long, including among others:

  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never spoke immoderately not to mention outrageously.
  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never kept on the side a profit-making business.
  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never attacked institutions they oversaw (the F.B.I and C.I.A, for example).
  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never waged war against members of their own party and even their own cabinet.
  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never appealed to Americans’ basest instincts on race, religion, and gender.
  • Trump’s different from virtually all previous presidents who never rattled the nuclear saber.

The list goes on. The key question though – to which the definitive answer is at the moment unknowable – is whether the changes to which Baker alludes are authentic transformations or simply aberrations? In other words, will the changes that Trump made prove permanent – in which case they are transformations? Or will they prove evanescent – in which case they are aberrations?

One could argue – and I do – that the behaviors that Trump is evidencing in the White House will prove not to be transforming at all, but simply aberrant. In fact, I predict that with every new revelation related to his overweening unfitness for the presidential office will come a heightened aversion to repeating our electoral error. I am predicting, in other words, that the next American who is elected president will be the anti-Trump. The antithesis of the man who currently sits in the Oval Office in both his style and substance.

Peter Baker is an estimable reporter, all right, but on this one he’s wrong. Trump will prove not to be an agent of change. He will prove a deviation as well as a deviant.

 

 

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