Just think about the odds Donald Trump has been forced to overcome.
First, just think about what it took for him to actually win the presidency. He has to overcome his mainstream reputation, which had painted him into a box of coverage that allowed very few people to take his seriously. He was a reality TV star, not a serious politician. Even to the extent he was successful in the business world, he was seen as something of a joke, always wrapped up in some kind of tabloid fodder and always overselling the degree to which he was the most amazing tycoon in American history. This guy was going to run for president? Please.
But he did it, and he did it in his own inimitable style. To get to the White House, he had to overcome 16 Republican challengers, take on the GOP establishment, and wade through one scandal after another – most of which he caused himself by veering outside the realm of political norms. Then he had to overcome the mighty challenge of the Hillary Clinton $1 billion war machine, to say nothing of a media establishment that was doing everything possible to take him out of the game. And on election day 2016, with every single poll saying that he didn’t have a prayer, he shocked the world to become the next President of the United States.
His uphill struggle didn’t end there. In many ways, it was only beginning. No president in history has faced the kind of hostility that Trump has faced in his first year in office. Not only are all of the major news organizations against him, so is the Democrat Party and at least a quarter of his own Republicans. Putting that aside, he’s also facing a major federal investigation into his dealings with Russia during the campaign, a “resistance” on the ground made up of angry liberals, and a weak Republican majority in Congress that can’t seem to remember how to govern, spread effective political messaging, or pass legislation. That’s a bad hand by any estimate, and it’s made only worse by the fact that Trump has exactly zero Washington experience.
So what does it all add up to?
Well, as people are starting to slowly realize and (very grudgingly) acknowledge, it added up to an AMAZING first year in office.
Even with the odds stacked this high against him, Trump has managed to put an extraordinary conservative judge on the Supreme Court, defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, implement an important travel ban that has shored up our national security, rev up deportations and clamp down on border security, blast away hundreds of terrible Obama-era business regulations, and appoint dozens of excellent judges to the federal and circuit courts.
Democrats will revile and mock this president until his term in office is over, but reluctant Republicans are beginning to realize that they were too quick to dismiss this champion of the real estate industry as a lightweight. He has accomplished much in just twelve months, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. If Republicans can finally get their act together and pass tax reform, Trump’s first-year legacy will be one for the history books.