Four years of Trump slugging it out with the permanent political class he calls the “Deep State” has proven that president is at best a ceremonial post. Why are we still biting our nails over who won, when it changes so little?
Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump has done more than any other politician this century to pull up the curtain on the entrenched political interests that really run Washington, drawing them out of the shadows to defend what they believe is their turf against the spray-tanned barbarian at the gates. Between his uncouth mannerisms and his alarmingly sane policy promises, Trump in 2016 broke all the unwritten rules of being president, leaving his Deep State nemeses to pick up the pieces and try to put them back together.
Four years later, Trump has been largely neutered, his media crucifixion and lamentably orthodox term a cautionary tale to all future presidents who might try to buck the system. The powers that be no longer need to assassinate a troublesome president – it’s far easier (and less messy) to kill their spirit. Trump has not ended any wars (indeed, he’s dropped more bombs on more civilians than superhawks George W. Bush and Barack Obama), nor has he drained the Washington ‘swamp’ of lobbyists, career politicians and think tank goons (unless you count appointing them to his cabinet as ‘draining’).
Instead, he’s cut taxes for the rich, rolled back the regulations that kept Big Business from polluting America’s air and water, and given away the store to Israel, even assassinating one of its most powerful enemies, the Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
While some of his supporters no doubt love those latter policies, these are the kind of ‘wins’ any other president would secure to please his wealthy masters – hardly the actions of a maverick like Trump fans believe their hero to be. The square peg has been stuffed into the round hole. Trump has become a creature of the establishment that (ironically) still hates him, even as he blusters about locking some of them up.