The reality TV presidency begins

There will be many fake fights and half-fake fights. Trump thinks feuds and reconciliations make for compelling drama. So he had a public spat with Roger Ailes, and another with Megyn Kelly. And then he reconciled with them, as a demonstration of his magnanimity.

When the opportunity comes, Trump will take it to melodramatic extremes — like when he presided over snarling chants of “lock her up” at the convention and then, after he won the election, said that he would not pursue an investigation into Hillary Clinton, because he wanted her “to heal.” He doesn’t just do this for the public either. His feud with reporter McKay Coppins ended privately with a friendly, even motivating, outstretched hand. He tried the same technique with The New York Times.

I would expect him to feud on and off again with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan throughout his four years, or more, in office. Because Trump is the star of the party, he can easily make Ryan’s popularity crumble, and when Ryan breaks down and compromises, Trump will paw his shoulder like a mentor when they get a bill passed.

Expect dramatic plot twists. Trump has always said that being “unpredictable” is an important part of his business and media strategies. The same is true already of his political one. Expect at least a few major betrayals of his campaign promises to be presented as very special episodes of character development. Trump may promise to increase border security, but embrace a form of amnesty. You can almost hear the moment when he narrates his own epiphany: “I was tougher than anyone on illegal immigrants, but I heard their stories and I have to bring everyone together. That’s the president’s job.”