Donald Trump has soon held power for four colorful and eventful years. During his first election campaign, he promised big things from tax cuts to the Mexican border wall. How has he succeeded?
According to Finnish experts, well. In particular, a docent in U.S. history and church history Markku Ruotsilan according to Trump, he has been an “exceptional president” in fulfilling his promises.
– Trump has acted exactly as he promised his supporters, and it is quite rare, Ruotsila says.
Judge appointments can be considered the greatest achievement. According to Ruotsila, this is a takeover of both the highest and lower federal courts, as Trump has been appointed with more judges than anyone else in modern times.
– Judge appointments will have the most far-reaching effects, many ten years from now. This is exactly the achievement that all Republicans have been pursuing since the 1960s, but it is only Trump who has achieved it, says Ruotsila, an expert on right-wing and conservatism in the United States.
He recently published a book Heart Rebellion: Donald Trump, American Conservatism and the Rise of the Far Right (Gaudeamus, 2018).
During the previous two presidents, many judges were not appointed. Barack Obaman during the period, Democrats may not have understood the significance of the matter, and with Congress being under Republican control, the conduct of appointments was also difficult. In this figure, the majority leader of the Republican Senate Mitch McConnellilla has played a big role. Judging has been his top priority and is considered his greatest achievement. The McConnell-led Senate also partially blocked Democratic appointments.
Another significant big promise Trump kept was a broad tax sale, which was very quickly reflected in an increase in his support from early 2018.
Professor of History at Clayton University in Atlanta Marko Maunula agrees with keeping Trump ‘s promises and that taxes and judges are the two most important.
– He promised a trade war and import duties, complained about how other NATO members did not pay enough and has consistently put pressure on the issue. Trump promised to close borders and has tried his best to prevent immigration, Maunula lists other examples.
In addition, the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, scrapped the hard-negotiated Iranian nuclear deal, and resigned from various UN agencies. In addition, he has acted along the lines of the Republican Party and deregulated.
– All are kept promises that a lot of Republicans want. That other part of Americans hate this, but not Republicans. This is what those who voted for Trump wanted from him, Markku Ruotsila says.
Bad and bad, but …
Trump’s actions are also reflected in his support. It has historically been at a fairly low level throughout the period and has fluctuated by only a few percentage points in its direction. The core has survived, and harsh and sounding speeches have not driven the voters away, as Trump has provided the Christian right with everything they wanted, according to Ruotsila.
– Religious audiences don’t like how Trump behaves or speaks. I have been in several occasions the Christian Right, with the list of speakers for half an hour only what Trump is someone in a bad and evil, but. Then they say but, and the next half hours are a list of his accomplishments, Ruotsila says.
– The Christian right has decided to close its eyes to personal weaknesses, Maunula confirms.
Even in the last election, this group was unsure whether Trump would deliver on his promises because his person was suspected.
– This problem no longer exists, Ruotsila says.
The Trump administration, for example, has adhered firmly to its agenda of religious freedom. This has been reflected, for example, in the fact that Christian organizations cannot be forced to provide contraception or abortion to their staff in the context of health care. In addition, at home and abroad, state funds are not used to support any abortion-related activities.
A similar, so-called Mexico City policy has been enacted by every Republican president since 1984 and in turn overturned by the Democrat.
According to Maunula, on average, US presidents stick well to their promises and agendas, and it has been unusually easy for Trump.
– Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is so strong that he has a downright grip. Often, presidents have to fight not only with the opposing party, but also with the opposition of their own party.
– Trump’s Twitter is the most frightening political weapon in the United States, Maunula sculpts.
Underlying this is an electoral system in which party candidates are elected in a pre-election in which Republicans voting are, according to Maunula, far more conservative and ideologically dedicated than Republicans in general.
– They are very, very strongly behind “trumpism”.
That is, if you publicly criticize the president, he can stand behind the opponent. A couple of tweets and that could end a political career. In private, Republicans may, according to Maunula, make less flattering statements, but in public, the front holds.
Compared to previous presidents, an equally successful benchmark can be sought, for example Lyndon B. Johnsonista, who was very adept at modifying congressional voting behavior.
– Trump is more of a hammer beater and threatener, Johnson is a cowboy maker, Maunula says.
– Maybe to some extent, if you look very far in history, Trump recalls Andrew Jackson From the 1830s. He was a man of the same type, very abrupt and malevolent, who actually shot one of his political opponents in a duel and died, using the “hammer” as president to drive his own agenda.
Maunula finds it interesting how strong the “personal cult” around Trump is. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that he has no election program at all, and he has hardly made any promises about what he would do in the next term. Voters are therefore voting for an idea of what Trump would do as president for a second term.
The budget deficit increased
Even promises have not been fulfilled. The Mexican border wall is under construction, but it has not been completed and Mexico has not paid for it. The repeal and replacement of Obama’s health care reform is halfway through. Part of its core has been decomposed, but no new one has been replaced.
– Trump has not taken out insurance from anyone, contrary to what Democrats often try to claim, but has only taken away the fact that no one is forced to take out insurance. This was to be replaced by a better system, and it has not been done and cannot be done when there is no majority in Congress, Ruotsila says.
One of Trump’s promises was also to eliminate the budget deficit, but the tax deficit and the corona epidemic have, on the contrary, increased it. Admittedly, Trump had set aside eight years for it.
– It is important for traditional Republicans, not for Trump, Ruotsila points out.
The economy, on the other hand, is a bit of a dichotomy, as Korona ruined the past three years well. Just before the onset of the pandemic, unemployment was at its lowest in more than five decades and among minorities blacks and Latinos lower than ever.
– Especially the income level of the poorest rose the most in the Trump period, not in the Obama period, Ruotsila points out.
Trump is more trusted as an economist than To Joe Biden and Democrats. According to Ruotsila, the president is not making enough use of this advantage.
– He just can’t keep up with his election speeches on an issue where he would be at his strongest.
Do the achievements last?
The worse thing about Trump’s accomplishments is that he has gone through much of them with presidential decrees. If Biden wins the election, it’s easy for him to undo a big part of Trump’s success. For example, rejoining international agreements is easy.
Tax and health care cuts depend largely on the overall outcome of the election. The lower house of Congress is likely to remain fairly certain of the Democrats, and the party has a good chance of winning the Senate now as well.
Judging is much more difficult. Ruotsila says Democrats could, for example, try to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court, but that would trigger a deep constitutional crisis.
All this is again reflected in the rhetoric of politicians.
– For the last couple of decades, every election has been a revelatory election, which means that if the opponent wins, we go straight to hell, Maunula says.
So what decides the election? As for Trump, everything has been betrayed, at least on the achievement side, he has not betrayed his supporters. The economy was at least superficially tight. But the person shares. So far, only a handful of voters have yet to make a decision on whose side to stand for.
– We are now testing the field machinery for how well parties get their voters to the polls. Democrats clearly lead in advance votes as Republicans vote more on election day. I guess many religious democrats are praying for heavy rain, Maunula says.