A year after his election to the presidency, Donald Trump remains in many ways an enigma. Everyone observing our politics, or serving in it, still has the sense that anything could happen at the White House at any time. But neither the most hopeful nor the most fearful prognostications about the effects of Trump's presidency on our political system have been confirmed.
Those who dreamed that Trump would be a populist Machiavellian, ingeniously reviving our system of government by breaking through our hackneyed partisan categories, have certainly been disappointed so far. It would be hard now to claim that the surface appearance of reckless incompetence at the White House is just a mask for deep strategic genius. Yet, in part for that very reason, those who feared that Trump would usher in an autocracy — assaulting our constitutional system and trampling our freedoms — have also been proven wrong so far. Trump not only couldn't pull off any such assault, he shows no serious sign of wanting to.