As for the Right’s reassessments, every conservative publication has been forced to admit, however grudgingly, that President Trump had significant accomplishments in his first year. The Weekly Standard called his record “reasonably impressive.” But this bombshell appears alongside their default position: “Trump’s character and temperament made him unfit for office.” How to reconcile these?
Partly through wishful counterfactuals. “[S]imilar ends,” the editors assure us, “would have come from almost any Republican president given a Republican Congress.” Really? That seems far from inevitable. More importantly, one must first become president to be a good or bad one. We know that Trump won the presidency by carrying states that had eluded Republican presidential nominees since the 1980s. It is not only uncertain but unlikely that a more conventional politician would have duplicated this success against Hillary Clinton.