But Trump has nonetheless brought about an astonishing transformation of his party – and of American politics – over the last year.
His election marked the end of the conservative movement that controlled the GOP since Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964 and the rise of a nationalist-populist movement that is, for the time being, characterized by warring factions with different views on Trump himself as well as the issues of immigration, trade, and elitism that he has raised.
“Trump’s presidency could be the usual model in reverse,” said editor Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, a leading conservative policy journal. “The general pattern is a productive first year and then a steady decline toward exhaustion, incompetence, and scandal. Trump’s first year has felt like the eighth year of recent presidents, but the beginning was likely worse than the end.”