If ever there was a system made for Donald Trump to rule the way he wants to, it's executive orders.

Even the name seems right for the combative businessman turned reality star turned populist politician turned president: Executive. Orders.

President Barack Obama used just 19 in his first 100 days yet Trump used 12 in his first five.


The last three presidents - Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton - used nearly 880 combined over a total of 24 years.

At Trump's rate, he could threaten that total in a year and half. Paste, which has started a Trump tracker, says he's on pace for 730 in his first year if he maintains it.

Executive orders are legally binding policy documents outlining - under the president's executive power - how measures should be carried out.

They are usually used when presidents have trouble getting laws through Congress. Laws are harder to overturn than orders.

A president can overturn his predecessor's measures.

There are several reasons why Trump has zoned in on executive orders.

He's starting with a canon blast, Trump-branded cape swirling, to stamp himself as a man of action who keeps his promises to his supporters. Washington politicians, he said during the election campaign, were all talk. Not Trump.

The heightened political stakes around Trump's rule are encouragement for the President to seemingly bullock through as much of his programme as early as possible.

And executive orders appear to be a quick, forceful, simple way of doing so.

The reality is nowhere near as clear cut and painless.

Building the border wall, for instance, will require billions of taxpayer funds. It will need to pass through private land, lawsuits and tricky terrain. That's years of follow-up to a twitch of Trump's pen fingers.

Trump's targets last week - in executive orders, interviews and Twitter - were scattered: immigrants, torture, false claims of massive voter fraud, abortions, pipelines, Muslims, federal employees, refugees, TPP, Obamacare, China to name some.

There's been grousing on social media about Trump still using the rhetoric and tactics of the campaign trail and absurdly complaining about the result like a loser even though he won.

But Trump's term is likely to feel like one marathon campaign to the 2018 midterm elections and on to 2020.

Trump hugs his supporters tight to use as a pressure point on his party and as a reminder of his winning clout.

The more Trump boils his base, the more the flames also lick his opponents. The gauntlet was tossed out in his inauguration speech and the challenge taken up by the many marchers the following day.

Trump's mind-spinning week has only confirmed the battle lines.

The ground is favourable to Trump and the Republicans, who control Congress, but that could change in 2018.

At the moment, the political optics of Trump using executive orders are undeniably effective.

It's the big man at his desk, surrounded by courtiers. Taking control, flexing his power, getting things done, directing his programme, smoothing over details and upsetting the opposition.

And it means Trump is able to take sole credit for making progress as opposed to sharing it with Congressional Republicans.

People deal with what he wants.

He's a one man brand unused to working through a competing centre of power like Congress. A royal dictate appeals to him.

In a week in which Trump sent waves of fear and uncertainty into the atmosphere, he probably did all right with the voters who elected him.

And other voters, the ones who once didn't think there was much difference between Trump and his election opponent, Hillary Clinton, got a wake-up call - written on sheets of paper with the President's signature.