President Trump is a commanding presence in the public arena of 2020, but what about a century from now? In a New York Times op-ed, NPR's Steve Inskeep takes the long view and suggests that Trump's presidential legacy will be relatively minor. Trump appears on track to be viewed by future historians less as a proactive president in his own right than as "the reaction to a game-changing president—Barack Obama," writes Inskeep, the author of books on 19th-century American history. "Something like this is true of many presidents," he adds. "A relative handful enact lasting change, while others respond to them." In Trump's case, he rose as a candidate with fierce attacks on Obama and continued them as president.
Trump, of course, will leave his imprint on the nation, including with his tax cuts, his Supreme Court picks, and his unprecedented use of social media. Controversies such as his efforts to ban Muslims from entering the country will surely be dissected in future history textbooks. But Trump's failure to win a second term doesn't bode well in terms of his place in history. "In those same textbooks, President Trump may be a minor player in the larger story of a democracy grappling with demands for a more equal society—an era marked by the election of Mr. Obama, the first Black president," writes Inskeep. (Read his full column.)