Now that the election of Donald J. Trump is official, get ready for the reality-TV presidency.
If the campaign and transition are any indication, Trump plans to rule the country much the same way he ran The Apprentice. There will likely be drama, finger pointing and sudden plot twists. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, may still be at his side. At the center of it all will be Trump, commanding attention, building his brand, driving ratings, and stretching the truth.
At age 70, there is no sign that Trump will somehow dial down his rhetoric, grow into the office, or even grow up. It is unlikely there will be much in the way of policy debates, engaging the press or any effort to unite a divided country. Instead, Trump will likely be the tweeter-in-chief, moving markets, upending policy, and attacking those who get under his thin skin in 140-character outbursts.
Consider Trump's recent attack on the cost of Boeing's new Air Force One plane, which drove down the company's stock. The tweet came 22 minutes after Boeing's chief executive criticized Trump's trade policy.
Trump is also likely to continue to needlessly upend diplomatic relations. He has already heightened tensions with China after taking a controversial phone call with Taiwan's president. Two days later he sent a tweet accusing China of keeping its currency artificially low. Trump's temperament remains a cause for concern.
Expect a lot of frivolous nonsense to divert and entertain the masses, bread and circuses style. For example, Trump had time to meet with Kanye West but not take daily intelligence briefings. In the midst of vetting cabinet picks, he sent a tweet attacking Vanity Fair magazine after a review said Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America.
Such folly diminishes the presidency and makes it hard for the majority of voters who did not support Trump to take him seriously.
Under Trump, Americans are going to have to work hard to get the truth. In addition to the explosion of fake news, Trump, who for years pushed the bogus story that President Obama was not a U.S. citizen, seems bent on bending the facts. Since the election, Trump has continued to spread lies. He falsely claimed - in a tweet - that he won the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." He also claimed to save 1,100 jobs at Carrier from moving to Mexico when the real number is about 800.
Trump falsely claimed in another tweet that the White House waited until after Hillary Clinton lost to complain about the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the U.S. election. The administration announced the findings a month before the election. This is a troubling issue for American democracy. But he doesn't seem to believe it or care.
Another challenge remains Trump's business conflicts. He has put off announcing a plan to resolve the conflicts. Short of liquidating his real estate holdings and releasing his tax returns, there is no assurance that his personal business interests will not impact policy decisions.
The country is heading into uncharted territory. The checks and balances the Founding Fathers built into our democracy are about to be put to the test.