When the two major parties failed to agree on a deal to raise the government’s debt ceiling, frustration turned to horror as global market reaction to Uncle Sam’s first-ever default sent shockwaves rippling through the financial system. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,000 points before trading was halted, with key individual stocks crashing more than 50 percent. Scared straight, so to speak, the two parties cobbled together a fix with cosmetic changes to assuage both parties’ wings. Markets rebounded, but not to their pre-default levels, and Uncle Sam’s credit reputation was permanently damaged.

Then came Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Republican Party and declare that he would run as an independent candidate. Trump, who had been a member of each party, denounced them both as hopeless cases, caused by Republicans who would not raise any taxes and Democrats who would not cut any entitlement spending. It was time, he thundered, for real change. He would run as the anti-politician. (It also helped that Trump discarded his “birther” mantra.)…

In running as an Independent, Trump jettisoned much of the baggage he accumulated in having publicly switched positions on major issues several times. He ran as a pragmatist who, unencumbered by ideology of any stripe, could manage the government, bring true fiscal discipline and regain respect abroad.