There are two Trump presidencies.
One of them is the official presidency of Donald Trump, leader of the Republican Party, driver of the legislative agenda, head of the executive branch.
A year in, that presidency looks surprisingly normal. Trump has largely outsourced his agenda to the congressional GOP and their allies inside his administration.
As a result, he has pursued policies similar to what Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush might have pursued: repeal of Obamacare, tax cuts for corporations, deregulation for the energy industry. When he goes to Davos — and, note, he goes to Davos! — he gives the kind of speech any Republican might give at Davos.
Ideologically disruptive forces like Steve Bannon have been forcibly ejected from Trump’s orbit, and the president himself has abandoned his more heterodox views on taxes, trade, health care, and China. Trump remains an immigration hardliner, but of a sort that has long been represented within the Republican Party.
Trump’s opponents can take comfort in their success at resisting and wounding this incarnation of Trump’s White House. Given the economy’s performance and the GOP’s dominance of Congress, it is surprising how little the Trump administration has achieved, and how steep the price has been. The effort to repeal Obamacare was a debacle.
The tax cuts passed, but they passed while polling in the 20s and 30s — a disaster given that the policy, at least in its early years, is designed to shovel free money at families and corporations.