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Tom Shillue

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Trump wins as mainstream conservative, not radical fringe

Donald Trump’s first year in office delivered an array of important achievements: confirmation of conservative judges, including Neil Gorsuch; more support for oil pipelines and oil drilling; dramatic progress against ISIS; deregulation and enhanced border security; the end of meddlesome net neutrality; the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; and, most importantly, sweeping tax cuts and a new pro-business approach.

What’s striking about these accomplishments isn’t how extraordinary they are but how normal — how consistent with well-established Republican goals and values. It’s easy to imagine that much the same policies might have been pursued by President Trump’s primary rivals — or by Mitt Romney, the last GOP nominee.

The two initiatives that caused most substantial disagreement with many conventional conservatives — canceling the Trans Pacific Partnership and unilaterally leaving the Paris accords — hardly defined Trump’s presidency or brought about the calamitous results his critics feared. At year’s end, President Trump found historic success not as a radical outsider but as a sensible, determined, mainstream Republican.

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