The Trump administration: a performance review
Politics are more polar than ever, and the Trump administration is leading the charge. Recently, Democratic leaders in Congress have questioned whether Trump is fit for office, and some want to impeach him. This inspired us to debate the overall success of Trump’s presidency so far. And in an effort to transcend the partisan divide, we argued each other’s side.
November 2, 2018
On Trump’s failures
I’m gonna cut to the chase. I’m conservative. This country needs a president with economically libertarian policies and a social policy that values every American, which is why I supported President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. It’s no secret that Trump has been embattled in scandals even prior to his election, and now that he’s served as our president for nearly two years, lots of Americans aren’t happy. Presidential approval ratings throughout Trump’s term have reflected a trend: a majority of Americans are dissatisfied, and the government’s recent failures could be accelerating the downfall of Trump. While I’m tempted to counter this notion and tell you about how Trump should stay in office, I will look across the political field. Could Trump’s removal from office be beneficial to America?
In 2010, President Obama achieved the impossible. The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), America’s first attempt to institute socialized healthcare, represents the keystone of American social politics ever since Democrats started campaigning for universal healthcare in the 1940s. Obama, in order to get more people insured, introduced the individual mandate: an annual “tax” of $695 for every year one chooses not to be insured, designed to incentivise Americans to sign up for Obamacare. Many Americans, notably Republicans, thought this was an unjust tax, arguing that it was their choice to not be insured. As a result, a passionately fierce Trump promised multiple times throughout his presidential bid to “repeal and replace Obamacare,” and after Trump assumed office, the Republicans eventually released the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) in 2017. But after being rewritten by the Senate and debated through Congress for months, the AHCA—which didn’t even outline a “replacement” for Obamacare at all—was shot down. More than a year after the AHCA’s untimely demise, one of Trump’s biggest campaign promises remains unfulfilled.
President Trump’s foreign policy has also been heavily challenged since the beginning of his presidency. People in America are increasingly worried about the view other world leaders have of our country, and those worries were legitimized at a United Nations conference on Sept. 25 when the chamber burst out laughing at the President after he claimed his administration has done more in the last two years than any other presidential administration in the history of the United States. This claim, often said by Trump to rile up his supporters at his rallies, wasn’t well received by the UN And there inlies the problem with Trump’s foreign policy—people don’t take him seriously. This started with Trump’s first and arguably most notable policy he’s proposed thus far: the southern border wall. Trump, on the very day he announced his candidacy in June 2015, mentioned that he would build a great wall on the border with Mexico and that Mexico would be paying for it, saying “mark my words.” Once he was elected, Trump waged a proxy war with President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto over who would pay for the construction of the border wall. Unsurprisingly, he refused. Nieto’s name hasn’t come up in over a year and the only progress we’ve seen is represented by a few wall prototypes put up near the southern border.
Finally, Trump’s reputation among the general public isn’t too favorable either. Trump’s approval rating has remained below 50 percent for the overwhelming majority of his term thus far. While this rating has fluctuated during the past two years, Trump’s approval rating is nearly always lower compared to Obama’s rating at the same point in his term. This isn’t just because his policies aren’t popular; he’s been mired in personal scandal as well for the entirety of his campaign and his administration. Towards the end of the campaign, the infamous Access Hollywood tape leaked, in which Trump spoke of kissing and groping women without consent, and that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Shortly thereafter, 12 women came forward alleging Trump had sexually assaulted them, which further tainted Trump’s reputation among women. Surprisingly enough, despite that almost every women’s rights organization is fiercely anti-Trump, 52 percent of white females in America voted for Trump. And, given that 50 percent or more Americans are usually very dissatisfied with Trump’s leadership, their justified anger might just give them a version of America without Donald Trump sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. And, given his scandal-ridden presidential record, it just might be a good thing.
On Trump’s successes
I drive a Prius, wear feminist t-shirts and speak for the trees. It’s no secret that I lean on the liberal side of most political issues. And yes, I do consider myself anti-Trump most of the time. But the threat of impeachment and the thought of him leaving office makes me question the extent of the negative outcomes from the Trump administration. Sure, I don’t agree with his Twitter rants and derogatory comments toward women, but I do think there are positives to consider from his time in office so far. I’m not sure if what he has done warrants impeachment, so I’d like to take some time to shed some light on a few things I think he’s improved since arriving in the Oval Office.
The nationwide unemployment rate is at a record low since 1969, according to CNN. Only 3.8 percent of Americans are jobless. A lot of people say Obama defeated the recession, and I acknowledge that his efforts during his presidency helped, but I believe Trump also deserves a lot of credit for this improvement. His efforts to impose a tariff on steel exports to America encouraged American corporations who need steel for production to partner with American-run steel industries. And the more business booms, the more workers are necessary, and that’s where I think the brunt of the impressive unemployment rate stems from.
On the topic of this unemployment decrease, I have to address the the spectrum of people accounted for in American industries. According to CNN, African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates are also at record lows with 6.8 percent of African Americans unemployed and 4.9 percent of Hispanics unemployed. These numbers speak of progress. When Trump first campaigned for office, his support from African-American and Hispanic groups was shaky due to his unfavorable comments about the problems he believed these racial groups posed on America. But his support from these groups improved significantly because of his efforts to improve their chances of getting jobs. If his goal is to help all Americans obtain jobs, I believe his efforts also help to unite Americans under one common mission: to thrive in this country.
Recently Trump’s feud with China, involving the exchange of bitter tariffs overseas as Trump criticizes China’s trading ethics, is putting his administration under fire. However, according to CNN Politics, the president said he’s only using these tactics in response to China’s reluctance to comply. His goal is to have free trade without tariffs. When nudging other countries’ leaders to make decisions, Trump won’t back down from a fight. And his actions to push Kim Jong-un, helped create a treaty to settle long standing threats of nuclear warfare against the United States.It’s an admirable quality for a president to find his strengths and use them when they see the time is right.
Although there were several social issues this year that he ignored such as gun reform or sexual harassment and assault legal policies, he didn’t stand in the way of their progress through other means. And I’m sure his focus on the improvements in the job market result from his expertise in that area as a well-known business superstar before he entered office. And I definitely can’t say I agree with his sporadic 3 a.m. Twitter gibberish, but I don’t see a reason for him to leave office.
Sure, he doesn’t have the same credentials as other presidents had prior to their presidencies. But for him it seems to be a good thing. I fear the wrath of his more experienced counterpart in his administration, Vice President Mike Pence. A look into Pence’s history noticing his efforts to, according to Business Insider, threaten a government shutdown in order to properly destroy Planned Parenthood in 2006, makes President Trump’s successes even more appealing. Impeachment would mean Trump leaves office and his Vice President takes his place. And I can’t say I believe Pence would do any better.