On 20th January 2017, Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Trump ignited his conservative base with his campaign trail talk of media bias and his promises to ‘build the wall’ and ‘drain the swamp’, leaving each and every one of his Republican opponents for the party nomination behind. He was berated, criticised and considered completely unqualified to be the leader of the free world, yet when the election came Hillary Clinton and her vast political background did not compare to the raw passion and energy that Trump had given to the working class around the nation.
4 years later, we sit and watch as he desperately clings onto any power he can by contesting one of the founding fathers key principles of democracy, while political commentators deem him to have been a failure in his role.
But let’s flip that. Forgetting all the non-sensical and wildly inaccurate tweets, his often misleading speeches and the negative, often abusive rhetoric – lets focus on what truly dictates presidential success: the legacy he leaves on the nation. Was he actually successful in the key policy statements he made such as the economy? Was the media fair or did he actually have a case after all? He faced immediate opposition from all corners, was that justified, or did it damage him before he even had the chance to sit in the Oval Office? Clearly there is significant need to see what he achieved, and how successful he truly was from a purely operational perspective.
Despite all, Donald Trump was undoubtably a success for the Republican agenda. By his own hand, he in only four years was able to completely revolutionise the social judiciary by appointing 3 supreme court judges, such as recent nominee Amy Coney Barratt, which for the first time in nearly 80 years makes the bench strongly conservative due to its current 6-3 majority. 220 other federal judges were also appointed across the country which with the American legislative branch being 1/3rd of government allows the conservative intent to be strengthened nationwide for years to come.
The 1% are stronger under Trump, unsurprisingly, considering he himself belongs to this group, however this also comes as a result of his business acumen with the change of the tax codes causing corporation tax to drop from 35% to 21%. Such prospect of economic prosperity has been signalled due to the ability to reinvest this money into the business and ensure the future of the workforce that has seen steadily growing unemployment before this work via the Trump administration.
Not all of his achievements have had personal benefit either, it can be considered direct and pragmatic that he has taken steps to lower minimum sentences and provide early release programmes for drug felons, especially those concerned with marijuana which has slowly become wider legalised during his presidency, as well as his work on the world stage with his successful infiltration of ISIS caliphates in the Syrian compounds where American soldiers were able to locate and assassinate leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in late October 2019.
By all accounts, this demonstrates a clear notion of Donald Trump’s successes as a leader, despite the popular opinion. It illustrates that whether he is right or inevitably wrong, that he is unafraid to take the necessary initiative to make hard decisions and take action when the situation needs it. He has evidenced clear ability on the international stage to rip up any trade deals he finds to be unfair, even refusing to make concessions for the global trade initiatives as the only things he will sign are those that favour U.S interests, whilst taking a protectionist stance when they don’t. In such cases as the European Union, he rejects the idea of group trading with a preference to negotiate with individual nations due to their common dissention and lack of common interests, language or even need to work together because it does not fit the kinds of partnership he feels is appropriate for the country. It is easy to berate him for such choices, but such a bold stance is brave, courageous and safeguards the interests of his workers who may have not got a good deal for themselves financially had there been an unbalanced agreement.
To understand the success, you simply have to look past the image and reputation he has been given and appreciate what actually should matter to the voting public, the fact that the country is focusing on its own benefit- he is the leader of the United States. No one else. Such is this fact that he has created new international relationships with other similarly discredited leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un. The ability to reach out and befriend such notorious politicians through friendship and to achieve positive negotiations has allowed there to be a set of circumstances where co-existence and even peaceful solutions to major global problems are on the cusp of being agreed. Despite the similarities of them all understanding each other due to possessing the same nationalist self-mission, Trump is an experienced businessman as well as a current politician. He has dealt with unsavoury figures for a long time; therefore his experience and skillset allow him to do what is needed for the benefit of the country.
There is still the outstanding question of how much image should relate to the idea of success. There is no doubt that on a personal level he is almost repulsive with his rude, arrogant, manipulative, sexist and philandering personality not being appropriate for the level of public office he currently holds. He is instantly so easy to dislike that it remains entirely conceivable that had one of his opponents for the nomination won instead, that they would be lauded and publicly beloved for the same kind of achievements.
There is some evidence to suggest that such a strong and loyal voter base is the reason as to why the 2020 election was the highest turnout ever, as he brought out of the shadows a working-class audience in the rural areas who were cold and dismissive of politics, yet who suddenly gained hope that someone held their same values and would lead them into a brighter future. The minority of these voters who became protestors and grasp to great levels of idiocrasy in order to overturn their own constitutional amendments may not be the leaders of tomorrow, however the passion and dedication you see is a testament to how successful Trump truly was at getting his message out to the people who needed it most.
Such perception has centred around the ideals of the media, which have long been a target of the Trump machine. While difficult to completely comprehend, there has been some forms of mistreatment levied against the president during his time in office with the way in which his achievements have always been put into second place behind his negative presentation. Now bias is always a media certainty: as while muddled in self-pity, Donald Trump is correct when he explains that the media twist or misrepresent his words to fit their personal narrative. Unfortunately, that’s not anything new or personal towards the president as every American news outlet from NBC to CBS to FOX, each one takes its place on the political spectrum based on its affiliations whether down to the owner, the state or the commentators it wishes to employ. His victimisation or ‘fake news’ angle is in fact how every person in the world would be represented, only Donald Trump is such a polarising figure that his personality and his actions, from the constant slandering to the unethical public interactions make it hard to focus on his incredible accomplishments considering the entertainment value he otherwise provides. Barack Obama was greatly hated by republican members and broadcasters, however he treated them respectfully and with maturity and therefore received a fair and professional treatment that reflected more onto policy. He never attacked his opponent’s deceased son as a war criminal or used the news to fuel an ongoing vendetta against one of the largest establishments in the modern world, especially at the extent of the nation’s personal health as Trump did in the early stages of Coronavirus where he suggested it could even possibly be a form of dramatization as a ploy against his leadership.
To this point, it is very easy to focus on this as support for Donald Trump as a failed President. Division in the nation is now at a point wider than ever, and it is hard to imagine that without being a more moderate Democrat, Joe Biden would ever have been able to win the election. This is a Trump causation, down to his insistence to push his base to widen the gap and attack the media for his own benefit to ensure that if as he claims it’s never his fault, then the only solution is that it is all a false narrative to attack him.
But this is mildly intelligent. He has forgotten that the media took him from his reality as a child handed the keys to his father’s fortune and created this image of a self-made real estate mogul who became a media personality almost overnight. And the sudden change actually speaks to the Republican party who hate how the media is current and mostly progressive by seeking truth and constant development, conservative Christians are scared of the danger they face when their personal lives are steeped in tradition and never deviating from what their bible tells them. On election day with their dismissive approach to media polling, they turn up in large numbers to vote as if they didn’t previously exist and create a scenario that skews the votes more in the Presidents favour.
This support allows him into a situation whereby being staunch believers, they buy into his theories that big tech is against him despite their early support when he first considered a political career, and they are why the deep state conspiracy is now so prevalent as Donald Trump himself manipulates this theory in his last-ditch attempts to keep his grip on power.
The reality of ‘deep state’ is that rather than being a conspiracy, simply put it is the only hurdle he can’t physically get past, as its real form is the two separate branches of governmental power that keep him from autonomous control. The democrat’s control over the house of representatives and their legacy following 8 years in power means that the administration he took over has more control than he cares to admit, and such is his tenacity that rather than admit his defeats, he turns a perpetually gridlocked system into the opportunity to campaign for greater power and possibly the ability to act alone without approval.
Abrasive, tough but it is difficult to argue that Donald Trump hasn’t been successful. At every step of his journey he has been the charismatic and ground-breaking leader America has yearned for, only due to his rural and unappreciated support and outspoken if not occasionally ridiculous temperament does the country discredit a man who literally walked out of his own New York office and into the Oval with very little opposition from anyone.
Perhaps the biggest success he will achieve is the lasting impact he will have on American politics. He might have contributed to tax improvement, unemployment and international relations, but crucially he has exposed the American system for what it truly is, cracked and broken.
Donald Trump was never the problem; he was just the mirror that embodies how America truly looks. The racism, self-interest, tax evasion and all his other endeavours are examples of real problems being ignored every single day, so finally after 4 years America must wake up and see what they truly represent as a nation to themselves and the entire world.
Joe Biden is the new President because America didn’t like what it saw, yet unless they confront the xenophobia, growing class/ ideological divide and finally solve the clear political inadequacies nothing will ever change. Trump may just go down as one of the most memorable Presidents in history, sitting in an unimaginable position next to Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and others. His greatest success will not have been his public service but the legacy he is destined to leave behind, the catalyst for an America that truly needs some way to become great again.