The Donald Trump presidency has done much to divide America. There have been two years’ worth of recriminations and controversy surrounding the election and the policies put forth by Trump and his administration. There will be perhaps two more years of the same with the President digging in deeper to defend himself and his actions. This has caused tremendous debate and consternation in the U. S. among people who voted for or against Trump, and the result has been a slide into even deeper partisanship in politics. This blog is devoted to providing a fresh point of view from The Economist, a British news publication in print since 1843.
- As President, Donald Trump has said and done many things to divide this nation. There have been two years’ worth of recriminations and controversy surrounding the election and the policies put forth by Trump and his administration. There will be perhaps two more years of the same with the President digging in deeper to defend himself and his actions. This has caused tremendous debate and consternation in the U. S. among people who voted for or against Trump, and the result has been a slide into even deeper partisanship in politics. This blog is devoted to providing a fresh point of view from The Economist, a British news publication in print since 1843.
Trump’s actions and remarks are so polarizing that his critics can’t see or ascribe to any of his accomplishments that might be considered worthwhile achievements. The recent bipartisan criminal justice reform law is an example of this. So would be a well thought out trade agreement with China, or even a series of trade agreements with the world’s second largest economy. However, wouldn’t any other more ordinary Republican president do at least this much and perhaps more?
Trump’s signature is his irrepressible desire to wreck the status quo. The original plan was to “drain the swamp” of Washington politics but thanks to his actions and words the swamp is even deeper and more expansive. In the areas of Immigration Reform, North Korea, and NATO, his tough bluster has not brought about significant positive changes. He has a confounding desire to alienate allies and embrace enemies or rivals. Many of these relationships with allies took years of diplomacy and billions of dollars to build. Trump took only two years or less to smash them.
The next two years are not starting out well for Trump, however. When he was elected he was the beneficiary of a robust economy. But two years later economic growth is starting to slow in Europe and in China, and question marks are starting to pop up in this country. The stock and bond markets have been through a rough year, 2018, and are expecting more headwinds and volatility in 2019. The Republican Party lost control over the House of Representatives convincingly, and the new Democratic majority will scrutinize Trump’s conduct at every turn. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should complete his investigation into links and criminal acts involving Trump’s election campaign and Russia enabling the entire truth to become a matter of public record.
Trump reacts to any adversity by lashing out without regard to whatever consequences might arise from his words and actions. He will sometimes fire his bluster at a target seemingly without thinking at all. The recent announcement that the U. S. military will withdraw from Syria completely blindsided virtually every ally in the area, and strengthened the hand of Vladimir Putin. It upset the U.S. strategy in the region to the extent that the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis resigned. Apparently realizing his mistake, he has since blurred his intentions in an apparent effort to reduce the controversy. But instead of that he has only made American policy in the region more opaque.
When Trump acts it is without regard to any legal or ethical boundaries. It makes one believe that he thinks his position puts him above the law in all cases. However, he is facing several severe legal problems, and some of his advisors are already confronted with jail time. His family members could be caught up in his legal problems as well, and he might be counting on using presidential pardons to protect them. If this happens, we can expect the Democrats in the House of Representatives to pursue every possible angle available to them to force the wheels of justice to work.
Whether he likes it or not Trump utilizes confusion, chaos, and norm-breaking as his modus operandi. His interventions often will backfire on him. His recent criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates and insinuation that he should be fired might make the independent minded Federal Reserve even more hawkish on future rate hikes. Most of the senior staff that have left Trump’s Administration have described him as “self-absorbed, distracted, and ill-informed,” demanding complete loyalty but offering none in return.
Where does Trump leave the Republicans in the Senate whom he counts on to sustain him in the face of House impeachment? For Republican Senators they can speak out in Trump’s favor and risk losing their seats in the next primary or election. Or they can stay silent and risk losing party support. More should follow the footsteps of Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate recently elected to the Senate, by standing up and criticizing Trump’s policies and conduct. By thinking in terms of what’s good for everyone and not just Donald Trump’s Republicanism many Republican Senators may be able to weather the next two years.
In conclusion the article says, “After two chaotic years, it is clear that the Trump Show is something to be endured. Perhaps the luck will hold and America and the world will muddle through. But luck is a slender hope on which to build prosperity and peace.”
Source: The Economist, January 5th – 17th, 2019.