The juiciest revelation from an upcoming book about the Trump candidacy and the first months of his presidency is not the claim by Steve Bannon that a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and some Russians at the Trump Tower during the transition was “treasonous.” The claim can be easily dismissed as the ravings of a disgruntled former hanger-on who is seeking relevance now that his adventure in the recent special Senate election in Alabama turned sideways. The real gold, an excerpt in New York Magazine from “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff is that Trump expected to lose his race for the presidency and was as shocked as anyone when he won.

Running for president as a resume enhancer

When Donald Trump first descended down the golden escalator at the Trump Tower to announce for the presidency, a lifetime ago it seems, a lot of people, your humble correspondent included, wondered what he was really up to. Surely he didn’t think that he could actually win? He was going to go up against some of the best talent the Republican Party could deploy and then, if by some miracle he earned the nomination, Trump would have to overcome Team Clinton, some of the most vicious gutter political fighters in history. Campaign Trump had to be a publicity stunt, a way to allow the candidate to bloviate on a national stage on the way to a new media gig.

If the account in the Wolff book is accurate, the Trump run for the presidency was the political equivalent of the scenario in the Mel Brooks film “The Producers” in which a pair of schemers attempt to produce a Broadway flop and make money from it. Just like in the movie, the Trump campaign turned out to be an unexpected success.

Trump’s various idiosyncrasies, his tendency to say or tweet just about anything, his checkered past concerning women, and his lack of knowledge of many important political issues, were supposed to doom his candidacy. Instead, those factors caused enough people to vote for him to put him over the top and achieve the greatest upset in American electoral history.

Election night was surreal

A lot of people had written about what it was like at the Hillary Clinton election night party when the expectation of victory turned into the reality of defeat. The shock and horror that convulsed Team Hillary was nothing compared to the consternation over at the Trump Tower, when Donald Trump faced the reality that he had just been elected president. One imagines a scene similar to the one in the Robert Redford movie “The Candidate” when the character looks up and asks, “What do we do now?"

Has the Trump presidency really been that dysfunctional?

The theme of the book is that Trump not being ready to be president has led to a particular dysfunction in his administration.

However, mistakes made in the first year or so of a presidency are hardly unique. Bill Clinton prepared himself to be president from out of the cradle, practically, and his first two years were fraught with chaos. Jimmy Carter’s entire administration was a disaster. Trump’s problem getting good help and the fear and anger caused by some of his rhetorical excesses has tainted his first year, to be sure. However, such is hardly unique.

Yet, the Trump administration can point to some successes in its first year. The economy is booming, an important tax reform measure has passed, deregulation proceeds apace, the judiciary is being remade and the Islamic State is in ruins. Donald J. Trump may not have expected to be president, but there he is in the Oval Office.

He has put his talents, which are considerable, to doing the job he was sent to do. He may not be in the place he expected to be, but he is making the best of what fate and the voters have bequeathed him.