Anyone jumping aboard the Trump Presidency was never going to have the smoothest of rides. For those desperately clinging on for dear life - and that includes the man himself - it remains quite the rollercoaster; the ups being in perilously short supply compared to the downs, which thus far have been considerably more hair-raising than that infamous coiffured confection caught in an unforeseen gust of wind.
It’s a widely recognised fact that the fate of all politicians, regardless of experience, is to end their careers in varying degrees of failure. A failure to deliver on their electoral promises. A failure to make a difference to the lives of the voters who once bestowed on them unrealistically high hopes for a brighter future, only to be let down by the very person they initially placed so much faith in. And finally, a complete failure to blame themselves for their crimes and misdemeanours, preferring instead to lay the fault anywhere else but at their own door.
Before then, there is always a honeymoon period. Those brief first few weeks and months when the news outlets, general public and opposing colleagues from across the divide give them the benefit of the doubt, treat them well and afford them the respect their electoral victory deserves. After this, all bets are off and it gradually goes downhill. They then bow out of office, frequently not of their own making, and usually under some sort of a cloud, having been unable to leave behind any lasting legacy that can be looked back on kindly in years to come.
For Donald Trump, there was no honeymoon period. Not even the political equivalent of a romantic weekend in Scarborough. From the very beginning nothing has gone to plan and there’s no immediate sign of that changing. Admittedly Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t yet made it to Number 10, but compared to Trump’s administration it’s hard to imagine a more appalling start to another one anywhere in the world.
In such a short space of time, he’s successfully managed to alienate whole countries, offended entire sectors of society and made enemies of those who used to be friends. Meanwhile, the media loathe him, the party he represents loathe him and if reports are to believed, members of his own family frequently find him barely tolerable. Ivanka, in particular, seems to see him as an embarrassing stepping stone for her own White House aspirations. On the surface, at least, even the Russian love-in appears to be at an end.
Furthermore, he’s constantly labelled as being boorish, dumb, deceitful and semi-literate. If you didn’t know better, you could be forgiven for thinking that David Brent had been elected President of the United States.
But before the 45th Commander-in-Chief is entirely written off as a joke, and an unfunny one at that, let’s not forget that it’s still relatively early days in his first term. And according to the lyrics of a well-known Broadway show tune: “it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish”.
When people are asked what words they associate with Trump, they don’t exclusively cite the obvious ones; the ones everyone might think. Among other things, they also describe him as being determined, strong, patriotic and, above all, American. As A words go, the latter has got to be a slight step up from A**hole.
Suppose therefore, he can bring manufacturing jobs back home? Suppose he can increase productivity? Suppose his tax cuts genuinely can stimulate growth? Suppose he can manage to keep the economy vaguely on track? Suppose he can win those trade wars he’s deliberately started? (Let’s face it, there were always going to be wars of some description). Suppose, as part of his ‘America-First’ initiative, he really can make his country great again? Not just in the eyes of his supporters, but in the eyes of his detractors too. What then?
Perhaps those who didn’t vote for him will think that he’s not so bad after all. Suddenly the more unpalatable traits of his personality might feasibly be a little easier to swallow. It’s amazing how pragmatic people become when the decisions being made on their behalf actually begin to benefit them. When, for instance, workers open their pay packets and they’re fuller than they were under the last guy.
In short, could a President slowly growing in confidence eventually turn out to be a cohesive rather than divisive leader, maybe to such an extent that he helps heal a nation by bringing in stricter gun controls? Something none of his predecessors were brave enough to contemplate.
Alternatively, he could, of course, simply fall victim to the shenanigans surrounding him and by this time next year be a dim and distant stain on American political history. Although, on the subject of stains, they never exactly ruined Bill Clinton.