The 2016 election was an event that defied all political knowledge. Both political parties got the bright idea to nominate two candidates who had the highest personal unfavorability ratings in history and said to the electorate, “Well at least we’re not as bad as the other one.” Many Americans collectively held their noses and found themselves voting against the opposing candidate, rather than for one. In a final bizarre twist, the candidate that was once a favorite to win by 93% odds was beaten by a loudmouthed reality television star.
Trump’s approval rating started out roughly tied with his disapproval at the beginning of his administration, showing many Americans were willing to give him a chance. Yet despite a few accomplishments early in his administration, such as the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, Trump has largely not delivered on his campaign promises. Even disregarding the possible Russian collusion narrative, president Trump’s short tenure in office has revealed serious character flaws that have shown he is unfit for office.
Trump has long said that the media is biased and hostile towards him, and a Harvard Study did indeed find that media coverage of the president has been overwhelmingly negative. But if Trump believes the media is out to get him, he should at least run the White House in an orderly fashion to get his message out.
Any sort of positive message or narrative Trump’s staff has tried to push out has been undermined by Trump himself. Trump has contradicted his staff and aides with his Twitter account on issues such as his travel ban. It’s also hard for his staff to put together a coherent message because they get fired so often. Trump’s staff has had a surprising amount of turnover, with many high profile individuals such as Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci leaving as a result of personal scandals or infighting.
The main message the White House puts out in the midst of all this is one of disorganization, which is only bolstered by his lackluster legislative accomplishments.
While presidents don’t write legislative laws directly, they can use a large amount of pressure to get Congress to pass their agendas. This means routinely putting pressure on individual members of Congress to get the necessary votes.
The failure of Republicans to pass any sort of meaningful healthcare reform is the most embarrassing blunder for Trump. Senate Republicans fumbled around with a largely unpopular bill until abandoning it mid-July. One day before the Republicans admitted defeat, Trump was nowhere to be found in negotiating rooms with members of the Senate. Instead, he was posing with a fire truck, baseball bat and cowboy hat for a “Made In America” press event, all while one of his biggest promises was collapsing just a short distance away from him on Capitol Hill.
Couple this with the fact that Trump’s proposed border wall has yet to be funded, the recent dissolution of Trump’s business advisory panel and a recent resignation of one of Trump’s most ardent supporters—former deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka—and it becomes clear that Trump is increasingly unable to get any sort of constructive work done in Washington due to personal scandals.
Trump has also had the problem of being too cozy with the alt-right, a hateful and violent political movement with roots in destructive white supremacy policy. While Trump himself hasn’t shown he supports any specific form of supremacy, he has shown to be more than willing to partner with the alt-right if he thinks they can help him “win.”
Many people, including those on the Right, were critical of Trump’s decision to name Steve Bannon, a man who bragged about how he turned Brietbart News into a “platform for the alt-right,” as his chief strategist. And while Trump has recently fired Bannon, he still hasn’t quelled all fears with his muddled and confusing response to the Charlottesville terrorist attack. Trump needs to fully distance himself from the cancer that is the alt-right. His presidency will be undermined as long as he continues to play softball with them.
Trump could still turn his presidency around, but much of what has happened over the summer has shown that Trump is more of a distraction than a leader. For those who oppose him, he’s an embarrassment for the office. For his base who supports him, there are many politicians in Washington who could push through a right-leaning agenda more effectively. His short yet wild stay in the White House has not done much to push through any sort of meaningful policy that could improve citizens’ lives.
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