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"Trump Looms Large Now, but Maybe Not Forever"

1-term presidents generally don’t leave big footprints. And the last four years may be seen as a reaction to the game-changing presidency of Barack Obama. Few presidents who served four years or less find an enduring place in the popular imagination. One term is not long to influence a country so large and dynamic — and a president’s failure to win a second term can be a sign that he didn’t.

1-term presidents who escape obscurity often do something positive after their term, like John Adams or Jimmy Carter, whose much-admired post-presidency has lasted 10 times as long as his term. Kennedy’s legacy rests partly on positive legislation enacted after his assassination.

We can’t be sure what history will make of Mr. Trump, whose term featured scandal, impeachment and calamity, as well as a pandemic. His story may not be over: he remains at the head of a powerful movement. But judging by information available today, he will have a relatively narrow role in the American story: he will be remembered as the negative reaction to a popular, game-changing president, Barack Obama.
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