Few US presidents have ever captured such global attention as its incumbent, Donald J. Trump. While Americans prepare to vote in Tuesday’s election, and have done so already in unprecedented numbers, the world is watching, and holding its breath.
For someone who had never run for office, and appears barely educated in the principles of political philosophy, Mr Trump has dominated his party, and the broader political discourse with a potent blend of populism, bullying and fervent backing from his base.
In many respects, how he behaved and what he promised during the 2016 campaign is what Mr Trump has delivered during the past four years. He lowered taxes, bolstered the military’s budget, cut regulations, clamped down on immigration, pulled out of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, aggressively confronted China over trade and, with help of the US Senate, filled the federal and Supreme courts with conservative judges.
Any belief that he would take on a more “presidential” demeanour once he entered the Oval Office, was soon dispelled. His penchant for bigotry and deceit, his Twitter tirades pillorying his enemies and, shockingly, members of his own government, and his willingness to openly court dangerous fringe groups, such as QAnon and white nationalists, has gone on unabated.