Written by Tinaeke Kilwake
In 2016, the US had its most controversial presidential candidate win 306 seats of the electoral college. Donald Trump had made very sweeping promises to the American people but as his first term has drawn to a close, what will Trump’s presidential legacy be? I think this question depends very heavily on who you ask – if you ask a loyal Trump supporter they will look back on his presidency as a time of success. Democrats will provide a harsher view to what Trump’s presidential legacy will be. Let’s look at Trump’s successes throughout his presidency.
Make America Great Again, was Trump’s declaration at the start of his term, and here are a few of his administrations accomplishments.
Trump’s administration will have a lasting impact on the federal judiciary (responsible for interpreting and enforcing laws). Having placed three Supreme Court justices and 220 judges to the federal branch, these appointments will be for life and will shape the country for decades to come. Appointing the high number of Supreme Court Justices and judges is, of course, a success for Trump but for people who oppose the Trump administration, the lasting impact of these judges is worrying.
Secondly, Trump introduced the most radical reform to tax in thirty years. The reform saw the taxation of corporations reduced to 21%. The only success of this tax reform is for corporations; arguably, this taxation burdens the American middle class.
Thirdly, it is no surprise that the criminal justice system in America requires reform. With millions affected by the deeply flawed system, Trump’s administration has advocated for reform of the system with the First Step Act. There is still a long way to go, but the bill itself represents a first step to making changes.
Despite these limited successes, Trump’s administration has failed in many areas.
Most prominently, Trump’s legacy will be judged by his handling of COVID-19. The US notoriously has the worst outbreak in the world, with 16.8million cases and deaths nearing half a million. With many frustrated at his handling of the pandemic and his tweets concerning the “invisible Chinese virus.” His suggestions have included using bleach to kill the virus once injected and to stop the widespread testing for the virus. Trump’s comments surrounding the virus have spurred the spread of fake news and has many doubting its very existence. The rush of fake news has led many to rebel against face coverings and compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
During the 2016 campaign, the Trump agenda was branded by his harsh opinion on immigrants. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric can be found first in his tweets: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” His immigration policy has always been harsh, resulting in many family separations. This aggressive policy has led to many unaccompanied children in ICE facilities.
The US economy is facing a disastrous crisis; it is unfair to blame it all on Trump, the global pandemic has had an awful impact on the economy closer to home too. However, Trump’s inability to implement rigorous Covid-19 procedures has led to roughly 22 million jobs being lost and the national debt reaching its highest level since 1945.
Ultimately, Trump’s legacy is like a coin. For many, his term as president will be seen as a time of harsh policies against immigrants, a time where white supremacy took centre stage, scandalous headlines littered with his tweets. These past four years have been characterised by the increase of white supremacy groups and the unpredictable nature of President Trump. Under the banner of Make America Great Again, minorities were further marginalised, pushed further into the margins yet had their voices heard as people and corporations became more politically conscious. People who opposed Trump began to fight harder than they ever had, turning out in droves to vote him out.
For the supporters who follow Trump, these years have been the best. Having the opportunity to be represented and have enjoyed the benefits of his policies. However, everyone has suffered together under the mishandling of Covid-19 and the state of the economy.
He has perplexed and angered many in his nation and those anticipating what Trump will do next. I think many can breathe out a sigh of relief that a nuclear war has not broken out during these past four years. With the good and the bad of Trump’s presidency affecting our future, it is now time to look towards the Biden and Harris administration. How will they move the American nation forward whilst fighting the permanence of Trump’s action?