President Trump campaigned as a business savvy deal maker that was going to get so much done in Washington that it was going to make our heads spin. As ironic as it may now seem, both sides believed him. Supporters though he was going to run through the Washington establishment, winning by proxy of 5-dimensional deal making that the swamp wouldn’t even be able to comprehend, let alone stop. Critics thought that Trump was going to wreak havoc on the country, passing a whole slew of horrible legislation that would ruin the country.
After all, this was the belief that motivated the left to pick up its activism similar to the Tea Party movement in response to the election of Barack Obama. Liberal activists weren’t protesting simply because they thought the President was a buffoon and didn’t want him in the White House, although that was part of it. No, they were protesting because they felt Trump’s crass politics and rabid fan base was a recipe for pushing through an aggressive agenda that combined reckless foreign policy with ugly bigotry at home.
But alas, Mr. Trump has proven himself to be a fraud.
The Art of the Deal
Mr. Trump’s campaign was fundamentally based on a flawed premise, and it’s one that many Americans buy into. The premise I refer to is that the best way to run government is like a business. Mr. Trump is an experienced businessman who can rise above Washington politics, the thinking goes, and get things done for the country the way lawyers can’t.
There’s a laundry list of problems with this thinking. First, the singular goal of a business is to make as much profit as possible. A government, on the other hand, serves the purpose of improving quality of life for its citizens. Second, governments are incredibly complex and attends many purposes. Whether it’s organizing a military force capable of defending the country, negotiating trade deals the include dozens of countries and multinational corporations, or cleaning up environmental damages from reckless oil companies. This doesn’t even include the sociocultural responsibilities that come with holding the highest office in the land. On all these fronts, the intersection between a good President and a good CEO are minimal. Third, a majority of the job of the President is to defer to experts on decision making. The FDA, EPA, VA, DOJ, DOD, and a slew of other 3 letter agencies all report to the President, but he defers to their leadership. CEO’s are used to being able to make all important decisions, but Albert Einstein couldn’t even make half the decisions that have to be made across myriad agencies and topics under federal government purview. This inability to be an expert in everything is true of all people, but especially one who can’t even be bothered to read his daily intelligence briefings.
What have you done for us lately, or at all?
This is the core flaw of the Trump presidency that’s going to lead to its downfall. Although I personally believe the left is overreacting on the Russian collusion story (at least as the evidence currently stands), his approval rating will continue to drop so low that Republican abandon him to save their own electoral chances. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has already written a book calling on his fellow party members to not capitulate to the President and with GOP members like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Justin Amash openly opposing the President in many areas, the groundwork has been laid for the rest of the party to jump off the sinking ship.
And luckily for those of us opposed to the Trump agenda, many of his more disastrous policy ideas will be for not. Trump has accomplished essentially nothing in his first 6 plus months in office. He has three accomplishments so far. First and foremost, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court is a monumental victory for Conservatives, there’s no question about it. Second, the Trump administration has had success in driving down immigration (although some is voluntary and some is simply a continuation of the policy of the Obama White House), and their Muslim ban was partially held up by the courts. Third, he’s dismantled some important Obama era environmental regulations through Executive Orders. That said, a lot of these EO’s were simply reviews of EPA practices and don’t actually dismantle the programs they purport to. Furthermore, these EO’s will be subject to litigation from groups like the ACLU, so it’s unclear what will stand.
So, Donald Trump has one concrete accomplishment and two murkier achievements. Let’s contrast this with what Trump has not accomplished. He’s made very little progress on getting his wall built on the Mexican border. His big push to repeal Obamacare has failed, which will make tax reform extremely difficult to achieve without budgetary impacts which require a 60 vote threshold in the Senate. He hasn’t yet convinced Democrats and some Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, leading to a coming showdown in which Democrats will be able to dictate important parts of the budget to avoid a government shutdown (good luck, border wall). He’s lost an FBI director, National Security Adviser, Deputy National Security Advisor, Government Ethics Director, Press Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Communications Director.
Or as the President calls it, winning.
Trump will have two legacies when all is said and done. First will be for the disorderly, bombastic shitshow that has been his Presidency. He will be the guy that caused the big stir and got no notable domestic policy accomplished. The second will be his foreign policy agenda, in which proceeding Presidents will have to work tirelessly to rebuild crucial alliances around the world.
Donald Trump was a lame duck President from day one, and his failure to get anything of note accomplished in the first 6 months proves it. This will be his legacy. A do-nothing, know-nothing, one-term loser.