Is America Great Again?


The 45th occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is perhaps the most anomalous President, in terms of personality as well as politics, that history has seen. Voters and political scientists still debate on Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential Election. Trump ran his campaign in the most unconventional way- he insulted women, minorities, and shunned traditional support from his own political party. Whether you attribute this to Russian interference, or to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the fact remains that Trump won at least 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 needed to become President, according to the Electoral College. 

It seems that the catchphrase “Make America Great Again” did resonate with the masses to some extent. But amidst a slew of controversial tweets, sexual misconduct allegations, and several other misdemeanours, how much of the American Dream has Trump achieved? Let’s delve into a few aspects of the same.

Economy- The Rising Strength of the $

Trump claims that the American economy is stronger than ever under him. The GDP has surged, and consumer confidence is at an eighteen-year high. Around 5 million jobs have been created and unemployment has shrunk during his time in office. Trump also fulfilled his promise to slash tax rates by pushing through a $1.5 trillion cut in November 2017.

However, it is argued that unemployment and GDP are multifaceted and affected by a variety of factors, many of which are attributed to policies initiated under President Obama. In addition, Trump’s tax plan has been slammed by critics on the left as well as right as a giveaway for corporations and the wealthiest 1% of Americans. It is considered to be regressive, resulting in benefit-cuts for lower-income workers. 
The real estate mogul’s combative approach to trade has been one of the main constants among his often-shifting political views. As part of his ‘America First’ approach, he made clear his view that globalization had been bad for America and that he would use tariffs to protect national security and domestic producers.

He called NAFTA a ‘disaster’ and blamed it for the loss of manufacturing jobs within the country. To replace the same, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement was designed, but it still awaits congressional approval. He also withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Today, the US and China are embroiled in a barbaric trade battle, with both sides imposing tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods. This has not only hurt the two economies (the biggest in the world) but has also had global implications by posing the threat of an imminent slowdown. 

Immigration- The Great Wall of Trump

Owing to his white-nationalistic and protectionist stance, Donald Trump made immigration the centre-piece of his campaign. He views immigrants and refugees as criminals that hinder the country’s progress and natives’ welfare. 

Less than a month after taking office in January 2017, Trump signed an executive order that banned foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the U.S. The "Muslim ban" was immediately challenged in court but a modified version was ultimately upheld. Besides the hideous crackdown on illegal immigration, the administration has set stricter standards for legal immigration too.
Trump's fight for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border resulted in the longest government shutdown in history (34 days) as he sought nearly $6 billion in federal funding for construction.

Though he sidestepped Congress to declare a national emergency, he has not been able to gain all of the money wanted for his wall. Xenophobia seems so deeply entrenched in the Republican that he did not hold back from attacking four Democratic Congresswomen of colour by telling them to “go back to their home countries”. 

Foreign Relations- The Changing equation of friends and foes 

The president has delineated a deeply misguided foreign policy vision that is distrustful of U.S. allies, and contemptuous of international institutions. The administration has repeatedly used international gatherings to criticize and bully allies.
The US, in its pursuit to pull out of the Middle-East, recently withdrew its troops from Northern Syria. Kurdish-led forces had stood staunchly by the U.S. and helped defeat the Islamic State group, but Turkey regards them as terrorists. The Kurds may now be forced to seek accommodation with the Syrian government. The potential chaos could facilitate the resurgence of IS. The Kurds are bitter over this betrayal, that many other countries in the region will note with alarm. Both the Saudis and the Israelis are coming to realize that Mr Trump's robust rhetoric is rarely consistent with his actions. In his pledge to make America Great Again, the then newly elected President said “  The time for empty talk is over, now arrives the hour of action’’. Perhaps it’s too much action that President Trump takes. His ability to act with or without thinking (we don’t really know) is reflected in his tweets, his disregard for using words carefully and the high staff turnover in his office.

An interesting angle to his foreign policy is his newfound friendship with the Indian Prime minister. Are the cultural exchange festivals a means to show that within the framework of an Americans first approach, there is just enough space for the Indian -American community to change the balance of votes and hence change the destiny of the Trump administration?

More than whether or not Trump has delivered on his campaign promises, the bone of contention is the felicitousness of his policies in rebuilding the country’s grandeur. Trump revels in erasing the legacy of his predecessors, especially Obama. Everything Obama was for, Trump has been against, from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran to the Paris climate accord. According to The New Yorker, “the Trump Presidency has been a high crime against common decency, good sense, human values, the national interest, and the law”. As Trump faces impeachment proceedings today, it is evident that his idea of a Great America was not in line with the majority of the nations. 

- Written by Rhea Sethi

- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta

Want to join the Eat My News's global community? Here is an opportunity to join the Board of Young Leaders Program by Eat My News. Click here to know more: 
Is America Great Again? Is America Great Again? Reviewed by EMN on October 18, 2019 Rating: 5

No comments:

The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not of Eat My News. *
Powered by Blogger.