The awful irony of Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president is that a man who is still frequently described as “erratic” has governed as an entirely predictable corporate conservative—as everyone paying attention knew he would. Trump was always going to choose billionaire-ism over economic populism. The outsider who promised to “drain the swamp” was always going to pack his administration with Goldman Sachs cronies and corporate lobbyists pushing privatization, deregulation, and austerity. The fabulist who inflated claims about his opposition to the Iraq War was always going to drop bombs and escalate conflicts. A political newcomer, Trump was always going to revert to xenophobic bombast and a permanent campaign of fear and bigotry in order to hold on to a base of supporters who will never get the security and prosperity that he promised.
Yes, of course, Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller drafted an inaugural address that reflected their dystopian vision of “American carnage.” Yes, of course, White House press secretary Sean Spicer shredded his credibility on his first full day on the job, and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway shredded her credibility on her second full day as whatever it is she does. Yes, of course, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos turned out to be incapable of discussing the basics of the system she was nominated to oversee. Yes, of course, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put partisanship above principle in order to secure the confirmation of DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, as well as equally unsettling figures like his own deregulation-obsessed wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and conservative judicial activist Neil Gorsuch, who will prove that there is space to the right of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. And yes, of course, Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan bumbled the task of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act because, it turned out, “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”