I think it’s fascinating.
Never has a lifelong Senator became President.
(and no, VP doesn’t count: it’s not a powerful position. Tie-breaker at best).
I looked at his actions in the first 100 days when it happened.
A number were addressed the former guy (not uncommon), although Trump’d put a number of things in in the last few WEEKS of January in the traditionally “Lame-duck” period which were middle-fingers to Biden administration for having won, a common trend now in Republican governance.
But a significant number addressed his OWN past decisions as a Senator, which I suspect is something brand new as we’ve never had a 40+ year Senator as President with a long career whose gone through a lot of Zeitgeists.
All politicians are basically interchangeable is basically true. That’s my starting point. But given that, they’re in power for a really short time (compared to Senators like Mitch McConnell who hold true power) and their wings are generally clipped in many ways, it’s interesting to see what each does and doesn’t do sometimes.
Like Linda I tend to look at consensus decision making as having the greater power. I’ve never been much for “Great Man Theory” (which means to me: tear down the guy if he’s not a great man) but more a Zeitgeist guy.
Each leader brings their own character and decisions to the table of course. Trump’s unique. Obama’s unique. Biden’s unique. etc.
But as for “type of” leader, which is more of a function of the Zeitgeist of the times, was it time for the USA to have a federal-heavy, popularist? Well, there was room for it. The push in various countries from Golden Dawn and others from the early 2000s to try to bring in hard-right nationalism to various nations has been going steady, leading to hard-right victories in Italy, India, Brazil, Britain, infiltrations into the low and high levels of government from school boards on up.
But as these were popularist, conspiracy-driven and not particularly solid movements (outside of the social psychology at play which goes back to Bernays but nearly mastered by Putin’s regime, which is otherwise rather weak except in that department of holding onto power and messing with people’s heads in other nations such as Turkey, the US and such) – many of them started falling apart quickly and continue to.
The leaders though will hang on with desperation and rather than consensus, they demand unanimity.
It still falls under Zeitgeist as there is clearly “something” that draws people to follow leader to the detriment of themselves “in the air” but in this situation there’s several Zeitgeists depending on where you stand.
Biden is part of a Zeitgeist. In some ways, not so different than a “sane, non nepotism Trump” (had he existed) in that Biden is generally also a Federal heavy as Trump was and is also “Law and order” focused (but consensus rather than unanimity) . There’s bound to be a lot of overlap. Both did the standard neoliberal “use big companies to assist federal government”.
Yet there is also some significant differences in that in this Zeitgeist of today there is an apparent polarity, which could be sum
marized as the Furries vs the Crusaders.
I don’t know what the reconciliation zone is between “Great Man Theory” and “Zeitgeist”. They are quite nearly different languages politically.
I’m sure it exists though.