Trump is not a despot. Far from being an autocrat, he is a weak president susceptible to the views of the last person he’s talked to and so deferential to Congress that he spent all of last year pining for a signing ceremony for literally anything lawmakers could send him on health care or taxes.
At its worst, the Trump White House isn’t sinister; it’s farcical. It’s not Recep Tayyip Erdogan carefully and deliberately creating a one-party state; it’s Donald Trump getting miscued by a TV show into a tweet undermining his administration’s own position on the re-authorization of a surveillance program.
The Trump alarmists thought that a brittle democratic culture and set of institutions were about to encounter a man representing a dire, determined threat to their integrity; instead, a robust democratic culture and set of institutions encountered the guy sitting down at the end of the bar yelling at the TV.