The arrival of January 2018 marks almost a year since Donald Trump was inaugurated as 45th US President, an event that occurred on 20th January 2017, with Mike Pence being appointed as Vice-President. The whole world was in utter disbelief at the time that a man with his views and actions could firstly be chosen as the Republican candidate for the election, and then achieve power. People have continued to be just as shocked by his outrageous controversial actions, which have not appeared to lessen since he was elected as President. However, despite many people’s disgust at what he stands for, it is important to remember that he was elected into power by a democratic vote from the American people. Therefore, as much as we continue to criticise him, we unfortunately must continue to face the fact that millions of American citizens did vote for him, and were aware of the type of man he is, proving himself to be misogynistic, racist and transphobic time and time again.
Unfortunately, anything Trump has achieved in this last year will arguably have been viewed as more impressive than it would be with a more conventional leader, due to people’s lowered expectations of him making any sensible decisions. However, the President has been less damaging than many predicted due to the structure of Congress being able to hold him back from some of his more shocking plans. For example, his suggestion of building a wall between the USA and Mexico, furthermore making the Mexicans pay for it, was one of his most ridiculed policies, and has yet to see the light of day.
as much as we continue to criticise him, we unfortunately must continue to face the fact that millions of American citizens did vote for him
Despite being confined by government structures, he has still caused serious damage within America, and across the world. His meetings and treatment of other worldwide leaders appears thoughtless, a notable example being his views of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s nuclear threats as either a joke or an opportunity to air aggressive opinions which have brought us closer to nuclear war. His constant airing of personal views on Twitter have often portrayed him as a petulant child objecting to any criticism of himself as ‘fake news’. President Trump has even used this method to announce new or changed policies, arguably a tactic for bypassing the media to directly reach the american people. For example, taking to Twitter to announce that transgender soldiers would no longer be allowed to serve in the US military. It is also his inappropriate and excessive use of social media that belittles the democratic process, reducing many people’s respect for him, and inspiring us to question our attitudes towards democracy in general.
his inappropriate and excessive use of social media belittles the democratic process
Looking at the UK media, we would be led to believe that popular opinion toward Trump is more negative now than before he was in power, arguably due to people being oblivious to the true potential disaster of a country led by him. Before Trump was elected, we believed he had no hope of becoming President due to the scarcity of people willing to talk positively about him. However, his success defies normal conventions, as despite his openly objectionable views, he is still revered by his fans.The media plays a crucial role in constructing our opinions of the President, and the lack of awareness in the UK of his support demonstrates that many who voted for him are not often shown on mainstream media. The anti-Trump nature of the media may majorly influence our perception of America’s response to their President.
Despite many students being disgusted by Trump’s policies, he appears to have begun to accomplish some of what he promised to do in his manifesto. For example, Trump’s plan to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association, should be realised in January 2018 when the 6th round of negotiations for NAFTA are set to take place. Trump also pledged to repeal Obamacare, and whilst he has not achieved this, he has done a mandate rollback of Obamacare, which is arguably likely to undermine it. The new President also claimed he would provide a deemed repatriation of corporate profits held offshore at a one-time tax rate of 10 percent, with the new repatriation tax rate being closer to this than before.
Many of Trump’s policies have actually been prolonged or failed, either because of objection to their offensive nature, or because Trump promoted them to win himself votes, with no true intention of seeing them through. During the campaigns he initially promised to create child care or elderly care tax credits, however current tax bills do not increase deductions for dependent care expenses. Trump also initially promised to de-fund Planned Parenthood, however this policy was stalled due to these plans being met with objections, proving that Trump has arguably been prevented by other members of Congress from being as damaging as he could have been.
Trump has arguably been prevented by other members of Congress from being as damaging as he could have been
There are still concerns being expressed that Trump has only been in power just under a year, meaning he has another 3 years as President before the next election. Although impeachment is in theory an option, with Trump technically able to be accused of violating his oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend” the US constitution, it is almost impossible that this could actually happen in practice. This is partially due to the Republicans being in the majority in the House and the Senate, and the vast majority of them having staying loyal to Trump despite his approval ratings dropping. Because of this loyalty it would be extremely unlikely for them to draft an article of impeachment for President Trump, unless there was more concrete evidence he had done something illegal. If it could be proven that Trump was aware or involved with the Russians influencing social media behind the scenes in order for Trump to win the election, this could be a pathway to impeachment. Therefore, looking to the years ahead with Trump in power, the biggest hope for us is that Congress can continue to prevent Mr Trump’s more extreme ideas, and for the rest of us to rally against him, doing what we can to support those suffering as a result of policies put in place by Donald Trump, particularly the minority groups he continually attacks.