In 1976 the US celebrated its 200th year. We are rapidly approaching 250, and frankly bumping hard against the typical ceiling at which a civilization tends to last intact. But let us for the sake of argument assume the United States is around 100 years from now.
By that time we will long have since ceased to be impressed by things like the first black president, the first female president, the first president of Latino extraction, etc. By that time we will likely have had firsts for virtually every conceivable demographic and had a stack of each beyond that.
Presumably by then, a president’s race and/or gender will be pretty unspectacular stuff, an item on a trivia test… like “Who was the last left-handed president”.
So once we get past the unmerited glow he gains from being the “first black president” , how will he be judged based on his actual merits as the leader of a nation? As commander in chief. As arguably the man holding one of the most powerful offices in the world.
How will he be graded on his performance by a society that may or may not remember his skin color? What will future historians think of a president with his economic record, his promises to actions ratio, his real record of transparency against his claims or the claim of a media that is solely in his camp?
How will history judge a man elected primarily for his skin color and ability to read other’s words from a teleprompter. Will history be impressed to see he built the greatest spy apparatus in the world, then claimed “I learned it on the news, just like you” every time his subordinates got caught in a scandal?
Will they buy his story that the most powerful troublemaker in Washington was a guy that hadn’t made a political statement since leaving the presidency a half decade earlier?
What will they think of a “leader” who surrounded himself with subordinates who tried under oath to convince congress they actually had no clue what their own department was up to. What will they say about a guy who claimed to be constitutional scholar and then proceeded to shred the bill of rights once in office?
Will history notice that he used multiple executive departments as a political arm of his party with which he could punish political opposition?
What grade will history accord a president whose actions in office were often diametrically opposed to his campaign rhetoric, and more exaggerated than the same actions he accused his predecessor of performing?
Bottom line, will history praise him like the hosts of MSNBC, or will the final assessment look more like one on Fox?
They’ll say his greatest contribution was proving George Orwell and PT Barnum were geniuses.