When Mike Fleiss, the creator of “The Bachelor” and “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?” helped pioneer reality television in the early 2000s, he quickly realized that for any show to work, the audience needed to feel invested. “Whenever you’re developing one of these shows, you have to find stakes — true love or a million dollars,” Mr. Fleiss said.

The 2016 Republican presidential candidates and their surrogates sang the same tune. When Fox News pundit Sean Hannity asked Jeb Bush for his thoughts on exceptionalism, Bush replied, “I do believe in American exceptionalism,” unlike Obama, who “is disrespecting our history and the extraordinary nature of our country.” Rudy Giuliani was more explicit. “I do not believe that the president loves America,” he asserted, suggesting Obama did not think “we’re the most exceptional country in the world.” During a speech a month later in Selma, Alabama, the president pointed out that the ongoing fight for civil rights is a cornerstone of what makes America exceptional.
At a time when the big-tent TV show seems all but dead and niche shows proliferate (“Marvelous Mrs. Mais-who?” groaned many Emmy viewers), Mr. Trump has created an unscripted drama that has unified living rooms everywhere. Whether you’re rooting for the antihero or cheering for his demise, chances are Trump TV has you under steady — some would say unhealthy — hypnosis.
The concept of a permanent campaign also describes the focus which recent presidents have given to electoral concerns during their tenures in office, with the distinction between the time they have spent governing and the time they have spent campaigning having become blurred.[38] Political observers consider the rise in presidential fundraising as a symptom of the permanent campaign.[38]
But the most aggressive of the candidates-in-waiting by far has been Vice President Mike Pence. He has so far survived in Trumpworld by making sure that he is the first among equals in a West Wing full of suck-ups. (At a Cabinet meeting in December 2017, Pence praised Trump 14 times in three minutes.) “Pence wants to inherit the Trump base, so that’s why you see him saying these obsequious things. It’s so pathetic,” a prominent Republican said. In January 2017, Pence started a PAC, America First Policies. “Pence has a better political operation than the White House has. I’ve never seen that before,” Ed Rollins said. Pence has tight relationships with powerful donors, including the Koch brothers and billionaire Todd Ricketts. “Republican members of Congress like Pence. They’d much rather have Pence than Trump,” a top Republican strategist said.
What he's saying: Last night in Mississippi, he even promised "we will do a landslide" in 2020, after a razor-thin electoral victory (and substantial popular vote loss) in 2016. "Who the hell’s gonna beat us? Look! Who's going to beat us?" Trump asked, after amping up his frequent riff about former Vice President Joe Biden as a lightweight he'd love to crush.
Trump publicly speculated about running for president in the 2012 election, and made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. The speech is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.[362] On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president in the 2012 election.[363] In February 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president.[364]
Shortly after taking office, Trump put Iran 'on notice' following their ballistic missile tests on January 29, 2017.[640] In February 2018, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran's 25 individuals and entities, which it said were but "initial steps", with Trump's National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn adding that "the days of turning a blind eye to Iran's hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over."[641][642][643]

Granted, every politician has at least one eye on the next campaign at all times. They are in the survival business, and that means worrying about how what you do will be perceived next week, next year or even four years from now. But Trump takes this to another level. He basically continued the campaign even after it was over, going on a “thank you tour” that at times seemed to be more about Trump keeping up the fight rather than uniting the country.

^ Jump up to: a b Yoder, Eric (February 16, 2017). "Hiring freeze could add to government's risk, GAO chief warns". The Washington Post. 'We've looked at hiring freezes in the past by prior administrations and they haven't proven to be effective in reducing costs and they cause some problems if they're in effect for a long period of time,' Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.


Trump's presence on social media has attracted attention worldwide since he joined Twitter in March 2009. He communicated heavily on Twitter during the 2016 election campaign, and has continued to use this channel during his presidency. The attention on Trump's Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as president. He uses Twitter as a direct means of communication with the public, sidelining the press.[338] Many of the assertions he tweeted have been proven false.[339][340][341]
^ Jump up to: a b c d "The Rise of the President's Permanent Campaign". www.kansaspress.ku.edu. University of Kansas. n.d. Retrieved July 11, 2017. Brendan Doherty provides empirical evidence of the growing focus by American presidents on electoral concerns throughout their terms in office, clearly demonstrating that we can no longer assume that the time a president spends campaigning for reelection can be separated from the time he spends governing. To track the evolving relationship between campaigning and governing, Doherty examines the strategic choices that presidents make and what those choices reveal about presidential priorities. He focuses on the rise in presidential fundraising and the targeting of key electoral states throughout a president's term in office – illustrating that recent presidents have disproportionately visited those states that are important to their political prospects while largely neglecting those without electoral payoff. He also shows how decisions about electoral matters previously made by party officials are now made by voter-conscious operatives within the White House.
Think of this as part of a post-Vietnam Reagan reboot, a time when the United States in Rambo-esque fashion was quite literally muscling up and over-arming in a major way. Reagan presided over “the biggest peacetime defense build-up in history” against what, referencing Star Wars, he called an “evil empire”—the Soviet Union. In those years, he also worked to rid the country of what was then termed “the Vietnam Syndrome” in part by rebranding that war a “noble cause.” In a time when loss and decline were much on the American brain, he dismissed them both, even as he set the country on a path toward the present moment of 1 percent dysfunction in a country that no longer invests fully in its own infrastructure, whose wages are stagnant, whose poor are a growth industry, whose wealth now flows eternally upward in a political environment awash in the money of the ultra-wealthy, and whose over-armed military continues to pursue a path of endless failure in the Greater Middle East.
Some TV executives say the only way for the Trump show to get canceled is for ratings to fall off — forcing the president to fade into obscurity or an awkward fox trot in a “Dancing With the Stars” spray tan. But TV history shows that the most successful series — “American Idol,” “Lost,” “The West Wing” and, yes, “The Apprentice” — don’t see sharp declines in viewership or talk of cancellation until around Season 6.
On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote, and he remained the front-runner throughout the remainder of the primaries. By March 2016, Trump became poised to win the Republican nomination.[381] After a landslide win in Indiana on May 3, 2016—which prompted the remaining candidates Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns—RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.[382]
The data tell conflicting stories. Mueller’s approval rating has indeed sunk under the weight of Trump’s withering Twitter barrage, but some analyses suggest that Stepien and DeStefano are engaged in magical thinking. An NBC News poll in late June reported that only a third of voters in the swing states of Arizona, Ohio, and Florida felt Trump deserved to be re-elected. Trump’s immigration crackdown also sent his numbers crashing, if perhaps only temporarily. A Gallup survey conducted days after the Duluth speech recorded a four-point drop in his approval rating, to 41 percent; while his disapproval numbers spiked five points. Seventy-five percent of voters said immigration was a “good thing.” Trump’s siding with Putin over America’s intelligence agencies at the Helsinki summit had the rare effect of bringing Democrats and Republicans together against him. But one lesson of 2016 is that numbers like that may not mean very much when it comes to Trump. Everyone knows unicorns aren’t real, and yet, there it was.
Some news reports contained ambiguous phrasing which created the impression (without explicitly stating such) that the Trump campaign had ordered the production of Chinese-made campaign flags. For example, the New York Post described materials being manufactured in Chinese factories as “Trump’s re-election banners,” while USA Today called them “Trump’s 2020 banners.”
There are other economic trends that are cause for concern. The most obvious one is debt. And as my colleague Jeff Spross pointed out last month, corporate debt may be a ticking time bomb. It's already at a record high and the portion of it that's considered high risk is larger today than it was even before the financial crisis. Consumer debt has also returned to historic levels and is set to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2018.
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, in which contestants competed for a one-year management job with the Trump Organization; applicants were successively eliminated from the game with the catchphrase "You're fired".[244][238][245] He went on to be co-host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities compete to win money for their charities.[244][245][246]
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has alleged that she and Trump had an affair in 2006,[739] which Trump denied.[740] In January 2018, it was reported that just before the 2016 presidential election Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as part of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); Cohen later said he paid her with his own money.[741] In February 2018, Daniels sued Cohen's company asking to be released from the NDA and be allowed to tell her story. Cohen obtained a restraining order to keep her from discussing the case.[742][743] In March, Daniels claimed in court that the NDA never came into effect because Trump did not sign it personally.[744] In April, Trump said that he did not know about Cohen paying Daniels, why Cohen had made the payment or where Cohen got the money from.[745] In May, Trump's annual financial disclosure revealed that he reimbursed Cohen in 2017 for payments related to Daniels.[746] In August 2018, in a case brought by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York,[747] Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to breaking campaign finance laws, admitting to paying hush money of $130,000 to Daniels and $150,000 indirectly to Playboy model Karen McDougal, and said that he did it at the direction of Trump,[748][749] with the aim of influencing the presidential election.[750] In response, Trump said that he only knew about the payments "later on", and that he paid back Cohen personally, not out of campaign funds.[751] Cohen also said he would cooperate fully with the Special Counsel investigation into collusion with Russia.[752]
Seeking other counsel, Trump has increasingly turned to a shadow political operation, composed of a few very familiar faces. The outside group was put together by, of all people, Trump’s former campaign chairman Steve Bannon. Members include 2016-campaign veterans like Lewandowski, Bossie, and communications director Jason Miller; former national-security aide Sebastian Gorka; Breitbart Washington editor Matthew Boyle; and former Trump aide Sam Nunberg. Throughout the day, Bannon checks in by phone with his allies to hash out talking points that Trump surrogates can deploy in the media. For much of the past year, John Kelly banned Bossie and Lewandowski from the West Wing. But after Trump sidelined Kelly this spring, the pair have been welcomed back. In mid-June, Bossie and Lewandowski flew with Trump aboard Air Force One to a fund-raiser in Las Vegas.
Following Trump's controversial statements about illegal Mexican immigrants during his 2015 presidential campaign kickoff speech, NBC ended its business relationship with him, stating that it would no longer air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageants on its networks.[204] In September 2015, Trump bought NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.[205]
In every move President Trump has made in terms of foreign policy, wildly, he has kept consistent on two levels. He has kept his campaign promises. He has also delivered an America First policy without apology. I use the word apology purposefully. The previous administration apologized for America endlessly. The lack of appreciation for the country that gave Barack Obama everything he ever deemed of value in his life took a psychological toll on our people. But decades of policies allowing trade, security, and immigration imbalances took tolls on our welfare. From NATO to the G7, Saudi Arabia, to Israel, North Korea to Iran, from Russia to China, Trump’s unapologetic stance of advocating for his nation’s best standing is reversing that psychological effect. And he now lives rent free in the minds of all who believed America was weak.
Mr. Trump won, in part, because he campaigned in places Republicans have had difficulty winning—Flint, Michigan, charter schools in inner-city Cleveland, and Hispanic churches in Florida.  He went there because he wanted to bring his message of economic empowerment to all Americans. Millions of new Republicans trusted Mr. Trump with their vote because of his commitment to delivering prosperity through a reformed tax code, an improved regulatory environment, and better trade deals. President Trump’s victory has brought Americans of all backgrounds together, and he is committed to delivering results for the Nation every day he serves in office.
On October 25, the president traveled to Texas for a fundraiser hosted by the Dallas County Republican Party for both the RNC and his reelection campaign.[218][217][220] The event was closed to the media. Mark Knoller noted, "By my count, this will be Pres Trump's 10th political fundraiser since taking office. 9 of 10 were closed to press coverage including today."[221]
Jump up ^ Records on this matter date from the year 1824. The number "five" includes the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. Despite their similarities, some of these five elections had peculiar results; e.g. John Quincy Adams trailed in both the national popular vote and the electoral college in 1824 (since no-one had a majority in the electoral college, Adams was chosen by the House of Representatives), and Samuel Tilden in 1876 remains the only losing candidate to win an actual majority of the popular vote (rather than just a plurality).[475][476]

We can be reasonably confident that "great" America did not exist long after that. Although the civil rights and feminist movements made great gains, knocking down legal barriers to equality and giving women, people of color, and sexual minorities greater rights and recognition than ever before, those victories brought with them a conservative backlash, which brought us an anti-abortion, anti-gay, often-racist wing of the Republican Party we still see today (and not just supporting Trump).
For much of the country, the situation at the border posed a moral crisis. But for the Trump campaign, the quandary was political. Immigration was not only a Trumpian rhetorical staple—Build the Wall! Mexico Will Pay For It!—but mostly a winning issue for the G.O.P. Now, the news that the United States government had forcibly separated as many as 2,000 children from their families, a number of them with little hope of ever being re-united, was a bridge Republicans weren’t willing to cross with Trump. Michael Hayden, C.I.A. director under George W. Bush, compared the detention camps to Auschwitz. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell privately told Trump he would “go down big on the issue,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. And so, Trump, who prides himself on an umbilical connection to his base, did the most un-Trumpian of things: he blinked. As the furor over child separations intensified, and with the midterms looming and Robert Mueller circling ever closer, the stakes were existential. “He felt trapped,” recalled a Republican who spoke with the president during the deliberations. Walk the policy back, and he risked angering his hard-line anti-immigration base; dig in and it would further galvanize Democrats and independents to vote against Republicans in November, likely tilting the House, and possibly even the Senate, in their favor, and facilitating the possibility of an impeachment trial. “This election is very simple,” Steve Bannon told me recently. “It’s an up-or-down vote on impeachment.”
In 2013, New York State filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University; the suit alleged that the company made false statements and defrauded consumers.[209][212] In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies.[213] During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized presiding Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, alleging bias in his rulings because of his Mexican heritage.[214][215] Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases, whereby Trump paid a total of $25 million and denied any wrongdoing.[216][217]
The paradox of the Trump campaign is that its biggest asset, Trump, is also at times its most intractable—a weapon that threatens, at any moment, to blow up in its face. He’s a constant critic of his own operation. “Trump trusts absolutely nobody,” a former top West Wing official told me. That includes Stepien and DeStefano. In recent months, Trump has complained to aides that he’s not being well served by the White House political operation, according to multiple Republicans who’ve spoken with Trump. Trump has told people he questions DeStefano’s loyalty after DeStefano developed a close relationship with the president’s long-suffering chief of staff and nemesis, John Kelly. “Trump openly questions Johnny,” a former official told me. “He asks people, ‘Is he to be trusted?’” A source said Trump has also complained that Stepien is too cautious because Stepien was among advisers who told Trump not to take sides in Republican primary elections.
Following Trump's controversial statements about illegal Mexican immigrants during his 2015 presidential campaign kickoff speech, NBC ended its business relationship with him, stating that it would no longer air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageants on its networks.[204] In September 2015, Trump bought NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.[205]

Trump is the wealthiest president in U.S. history, even after adjusting for inflation.[482] He is also the first president without prior government or military service.[483][484][485] Of the 43[nb 4] previous presidents, 38 had held prior elective office, two had not held elective office but had served in the Cabinet, and three had never held public office but had been commanding generals.[485]
Trump is a Presbyterian.[55][56][57] His ancestors were Lutheran on his paternal grandfather's side in Germany[58] and Presbyterian on his mother's side in Scotland.[59] His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936.[60] As a child, he attended the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, where he had his confirmation.[40] In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan,[61] part of the Reformed Church.[62] The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993.[63][61] Trump has cited Peale and his works during interviews when asked about the role of religion in his personal life.[61] In August 2015 Trump told reporters, "I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church," adding that he attends many different churches because he travels a lot.[64] The Marble Collegiate Church then issued a statement noting that Trump and his family have a "longstanding history" with the church, but that he "is not an active member".[62]
An economic downturn would send Trump’s electoral prospects into a tailspin. Just as incumbent presidents like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan have benefited from strong economies in the past, incumbent presidents like Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush have seen their re-election bids derailed by weak economies, whether from the stagflation of the 1970s or the rising unemployment of the early 1990s. And given that Trump's approval rating has been quite low despite a booming economy, it might take a historic dive if things turn south.
In 2017, Matt Braynard, a key member of Trump's 2016 campaign staff, established the organization Look Ahead America.[260] The organization has taken steps to target inactive voters in places such as New Hampshire.[260] Trump came close to winning New Hampshire in the 2016 election.[260] Look Ahead America has claimed that it will not be coordinating their efforts with the president.[260]
Two of Trump's 15 original cabinet members were gone within 15 months: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in September 2017 due to excessive use of private charter jets and military aircraft, and Trump replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo in March 2018 over disagreements on foreign policy.[695][684] EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July 2018 amidst multiple investigations into his conduct.[696]
"Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd," she said. "And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents."
Presidential approval ratings have shown Trump to be the least popular President in the history of modern opinion polling as of the start of his second year in office.[11][12][13][14] Early polls have shown Trump trailing by a margin of 10–18 percent against several hypothetical Democratic candidates, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand.[15] International observers point out that Presidential job approval is highly partisan: "The Republican Party is Donald Trump's party. ... [Recent] polling - which shows the president with near record levels of backing from Republican voters - confirms the fact." [42] Gallup polling data shows that job approval for Donald Trump is 80 to 90 percent among Republicans versus only 5 to 10 percent among Democrats.[43] The reverse was the case for Barack Obama[44]
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