But what if Trump turns out to be a pretty good—maybe even great—president? Certainly there were other charismatic figures, like Teddy Roosevelt, that did pretty well (last time I checked, he’s still on Mount Rushmore). And it’s not like people didn’t warn us about Ronald Reagan being a dangerous loose cannon. Likewise, comparisons to dictators are nothing new (remember “Bushitler”?). And long before all that, the Founders worried obsessively about “Caesarism.”
Still, there is a possibility that Trump could take being president seriously—and it’s more than likely that he has no intention of doing many of the things he’s promised his most enthusiastic supporters that he’d do. There’s also the hope that he would rise to the occasion and accept the incredible responsibility that comes with the Oval Office.
This sometimes happens. Prince Hal became Henry V, after all. But the most famous example may be Thomas Becket. Once a drinking buddy of King Henry II, and after becoming Archbishop of Caterbury, he assumed the responsibilities and ascetic lifestyle befitting the role. This led to his standing up against the crown in defense of religious liberty – and ultimately, to his death. But the point here is that sometimes people grow into the job.