Why President Trump Hasn’t Failed Us Yet

Trump's first month has been somewhat of a mess, but he still has time to prove himself worthy

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Why President Trump Hasn’t Failed Us Yet

Shak Saidjanov, Assistant Editor

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In many ways, Americans have had a history of being blind to the issues around us.

We’ve been blind to the division happening in our country, a division dating back long before the 2016 election cycle. We’ve been blind to an increasingly ignored working class and to a declining middle class, oblivious to the anger looming from both sides of the political spectrum.  

We’ve been blind to our absurdly complicated and costly path to legal immigration and citizenship, leaving families no other choice than to trek the illegal passage through dangerous borderlands. And rejecting refugees is not a new practice, either: Americans have a terrible track record of opposing those with nowhere else to go, first from Germany, then Cuba, and now Syria.

Most drastically, we were blind to a looming terrorist threat, and when that threat was brought to our front doorstep in 2001, we retaliated with false claims and a decade long war that dismantled the Middle East. In our ignorance, we paved the way for a greater threat, a threat now being passed from administration to administration with no clear plan of action.

In these ways and more, we have failed; but contrary to popular belief, President Trump hasn’t yet.

Since his inauguration, Trump has been a target for resentment and mockery. Frustrated citizens and offended media outlets have already named Trump one of the worst Presidents in US history. I disagree. Though Trump may be an egotistical, Reagan-esque strongman, amidst the chaos of his administration there are things that Trump is doing right, actions that make me cautiously optimistic about the next four years.

Firstly, President Trump has the capability of being a favorable President for the economy, with plans that not only benefit big and small business but also repair the middle class and re-authenticate the working class.

So far Trump has withdrawn the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (a plan that Hillary Clinton agreed would have cost millions of American jobs and added to our enormous trade deficit) and has crafted an executive order requiring that two existing federal regulations be eliminated for every new federal regulation, a godsend for small businesses. Furthermore, Trump plans to cut taxes from 35% to 15% for middle class families, invest $1 trillion in much needed infrastructure reform, and create 10 million jobs in his first term, a number that already seems achievable. These plans only scratch the surface of a robust list of Trump’s plans for the economy, all of which can be viewed here.

Secondly, Trump plans to make good on his campaign promise to ‘drain the swamp’, and in some ways has already begun.

For instance, Trump has imposed a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government and has signed an order imposing a five-year ban on White House and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service. He has proposed new ethics reforms with the sole purpose of limiting corruption and, most substantially, plans to propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. Though this merely scratches the surface of political corruption in the capital and does not address his own apparent conflicts of interest, Trump’s propositions seem like a step in the right direction.

Thirdly, Trump’s foreign policy, specifically in regards to Russia, may prove beneficial in some ways for America and the world.

Specifically, Trump recognizes that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was detrimental to the US and to the Middle East and has expressed an interest in stability rather than regime change, even amidst controversy. With ISIL still a considerable threat, Trump, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has promoted conversation and cooperation with Russia rather than a policy of making Russia our enemy, and it is my belief that working together is better than being in a deadlock.   

But finally, and perhaps most controversially, is Trump’s unique stance on immigration. There are many justified concerns about his immigration policy, but also many misconceptions as well.

The bane of Trump’s presidency so far has been his immigration ban. This executive order, which has been blocked by a federal judge, would have suspended visas from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and suspended immigration or visitation from Syria indefinitely. A misconception about this ban is that it targeted Muslims – this is not entirely true. In fact, the countries highlighted in the ban were not chosen by Trump or his staff; rather, these countries were actually flagged by the Obama administration as “terrorist hotbeds” and “countries of concern”. Consequently, many Muslim-majority countries were left off of Trump’s list because they were not flagged by the Obama administration as an area of concern.

Even so, the immigration ban was a substantial misstep by Trump, a clear example of Trump’s weakness as a man who acts without thought to consequences or repercussions. The ban was hastily prepared, ignorantly unconstitutional, and terribly executed. Surely, in carrying out this executive order, Trump had the security of the state in mind; but while flagging these countries as areas of concern was an appropriate action by Obama, shutting down immigration of these countries was not an appropriate action by Trump, at least not in the way it was delivered. Given that the ban has been blocked by a judge, Trump plans to release a new immigration order in the coming days, one that will hopefully learn from past mistakes and offer a more sound approach.

Another topic of concern for Americans is Trump’s promise of a border wall. Here we see a dilemma: either we have a border, or we do not. Where Trump is right is recognizing the borderlands as a place for cartel drug wars. Where Trump gets it wrong is in assuming that “most” of the people who cross the border are “criminals” and “rapists”. Many of the people who cross the border illegally do so in desperation because of our highly competitive legal admission from Mexico; Trump must soon realize that the only way to solve our illegal immigration problem is to make it easier to come legally.

And here we see the dilemma within Trump’s presidency. Trump has the potential of being a great President but he cannot do this while ignorantly inciting racial tensions with his anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions. Personally, I do not believe Trump to be a racist, but I recognize that many people view him that way for justifiable reasons. If Trump would openly denounce the alt-right, soften his stance on immigration in favor of reform rather than raids, and delete his personal Twitter account, he could help to ease these concerns, and as a result I think history would write the presidency of Trump as one of the more positively consequential of our time.

Trump inherited our broken, divided America, but we also gave him the tools to fix it.

He hasn’t failed yet. Give him some time to prove himself.

 

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For an in depth look into Trump’s plans and promises, you can visit The Washington Post’s Trump Tracker, here

What are your thoughts on President Trump? Comment below.

Creative Commons photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/airmanmagazine/32360608391/