Trump's main contributions so far
Seth Masket at the Pacific Standard adroitly points out that Trump has actually done something useful. He exploded three persistent myths about the presidency. The first is that politics is easy and any guy off the street could do it. The second is that outsiders without any experience make the best leaders.
The third, and most important I think, is this:
Myth 3: The Country Should Be Run Like a Business
Related to the above two myths is the idea that the best person for the presidency is not only a political outsider, but one with experience running a business. Again, this is pretty bizarre. Businesses and governments do very different things to create jobs, providing mandated services is very different from serving voluntary customers for profit, and the federal government can print money and run debts over a very long time period while that might prove fatal to a business. But this, too, was one of Trump’s rationales for running for office; he made money in the private sector (at least in some years), so he’d be good for the government’s bottom line.
If anything, Trump seems, instead, to be importing some of the private sector’s worst features, including secrecy, nepotism, self-dealing, and unaccountability. The thrift and efficiency one theoretically needs to survive in the business world are nowhere to be seen. He’s spending on personal travel at a rate more than eight times that of his predecessor, who had no business experience.
It’s too early to know whether Trump’s business experience will make him a good job creator as president. The early evidence isn’t great, but presidents don’t actually have a whole lot of direct control in this area anyway.
In some ways, Trump isn’t a very fair test for these myths. It’s certainly possible a different politically inexperienced corporate leader with a temperament more suited to politics might be running the executive branch considerably better at this point in a presidency. But he’s doing some real damage to these persistent myths, and we may just end up better off for the experience.
American worship of the business leader runs deep. But if anyone can make some people finally question whether running the government like a business makes a lot of sense, Trump can. Of course, he isn't actually much of a business success. He inherited his money, lost vast sums running casinos (who loses money on gambling???) and scratched around for years selling cheap consumer items with his name on them and conning people out of their hard earned dollars. Still, he's fulfilling his promise to run the country like he ran The Trump Organization. It's a dumpster fire so far.