What makes a President good? Is it the success of incumbency, measured in the results of the term in office or is it the number of pre-election promises made and met? Or perhaps it’s a mix of both. We all know that presidential campaigners are the biggest liars around, making false claims and promises and bringing up as much false information to confuse us into either loving one candidate or hating the other. The US system is one of the easiest to understand since it is split by two political parties, making elections a 50:50 win for either republican or democrat, where the independents can sway the vote one way or another by stealing those undecided voter’s opinion, depriving the total voting block of one major party in preference to the other.
President Trump made a lot of promises during his election campaign, and unlike his predecessors, he started out immediately to implement them. It is rare to find a politician that backs up his pre-election process, and since Trump is not a politician, it’s interesting to see the percentage of success.
I grade success with five stars, where zero is when nothing happened, and five is when the promise was fulfilled. Most politicians rate between 0 to 2, let’s find out what Trump rates.
This is a no-brainer, where Trump made this one of his major concerns and split it into two initiatives: The Wall of Mexico and the Islamic invasion. Trump promised to build a wall between Mexico and the US at the Mexican government’s expense and claimed that he would stop immigration from Islamic states as well as deport unwanted immigrants. Just to make a point of fact, there is a wall between the US and Mexico along with some sections of the border, Trump did not make this up, he just wants to complete it.
Immigration enforcement increased during 2017, showing an increase of 30% in immigration violation arrests, a total of 143,470.
President Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program. This program would grant normalized residency permits to around 700,000 undocumented immigrants that entered the US at a young age. The presidential order was held up in court and is now under discussion in Congress. Added to this are about 200,000 Salvador refugees that the White House ended their temporary protected status (TPS).
President Trump aims to make further changes to the US immigration laws including canceling the US Visa lottery, reducing the number of legal entrants per annum, and regulating the number of US residents that want to abuse the system by bringing in their relatives.
Regarding the Mexican wall issue, this all about the money, and so far, President Trump has no leverage on Mexico to force it to pay for the wall, so this will continue to be built out of US taxpayer money.
Score: 4 out of 5. The US courts and the Wall financial issue take a star away from absolute success, but this is still more than any other US President has done with their promises in the first year of incumbency.
2. Court Nominations
Since the Republicans hold the Senate, and since there are 149 non-Supreme court vacancies, Trump can lead to Republican control of the Court system. The end result will rely on the upcoming elections, where the Republicans need to maintain their majority for the Presidents success. Add to this the Republicans blocking Obama during his last term in office from making the Supreme court nomination, opening the way for President Trumps first Supreme court appointment within three months in office.
Since appointed judges hold a lifetime appointment, all successful appointments lead to strong Republican control over the US court system for many years to come.
Score: 4 out of 5. The appointment process is a partnership between the Senate and the White House, and the extra point will be given if the Republicans win the next elections, cementing the way for many years of control over the US court system.
During his campaign, Trump stated that “We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels, and railways, all across our wonderful nation,” he said. “We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”
This issue might not seem to be advancing as fast as many thinks, and possibly most think this is a dead-end promise. In reality, there are many signs that this is starting to pick up, and it is a result of another of Trumps’ promises, the Tax Bill.
Due to his Tax, Bill US companies are starting to invest more in US-based initiatives such as Apple aiming to increase their labor force by 20,000, and gig economies “self-employed” contractors enjoying better returns from eases in taxation. Add to this the recent debated opening of US coastal waters to oil and gas exploration, which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, the infrastructure issue will take time to build up momentum, but the ball has started to roll.
Score: 3 out of 5. He promised, and he is delivering. However, he relies on the US company’s collaboration to take up his initiative and transfer investment in foreign manufacturing sites back to the US.
4. Tax reform
Another successful win for Trump, when he managed to pass his Tax reform bill, the first real tax reform in over four decades. The new bill will create a $1.5 trillion change over the next 10 years. It could be more, but the tax reductions for individuals will expire in eight years.
The full effect of this tax bill is not going to be felt immediately. However, some effects have taken place immediately by companies such as Walmart increasing its minimum wage from $9/hr to $11/hr. Other major companies have followed suit by offering one-time incentives and bonuses based on the expected tax savings for 2018.
Score: 5 out of 5. He promised, and he delivered, and he will continue to deliver. Even if the government is at a standstill due to a budget crisis. Its all part of the master plan, although no one knows what that is apart from Trump.
This is a debatable issue, where the decision between supporting or opposing Trump is 50:50. Personal opinion is hard to restrain when writing this section, however, when comparing Trump’s promises during his campaign and the results. This is one f president Trump’s losses, where both democrats and republicans support Obama’s healthcare bill, forcing the White House to work hard devising ways to defeat the bill. The biggest issue that faces President Trump is the alternative, while he constantly states that Obamacare is bad, he has not provided a comprehensive replacement, and this is perhaps why he is finding it hard to make true on his campaign promise.
Score: 0 out of 5. This is due to the haste in trying to cancel something that is popular without bringing a replacement that can persuade Republicans to support the replacement bill when the same Republicans are up for re-election.
Trump has always stated that he saw China as the US Trade enemy and emphasized “reciprocal” trade on all occasions. Trump is first and foremost a businessman, not a politician. He understands that a strong nation has to be a rich one. Based on his understanding of strong economic solutions, he has pulled the US out of trade pacts that weaken the US (in his opinion), such as ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
While he fights his neighbors at home, Trump’s main challenger for global trade dominance, China has increased the US trade deficit to $35.4 billion (Nov.2017) and will continue to expand its influence no matter what Trump does. However, the trade deficit is growing due to the economic growth of the US, so the overall result of this issue is yet to be seen and felt.
Score: 2 out of 5. Trump has yet to fully understand the concept of a borderless world when issues of trade and commerce are raised. The complexity of taxing imports while supporting the national growth of specific industries has to be approached from a perceptive global view. It also requires investment in foreign infrastructure; growing strength overseas will eventually lead to strength at home. In basic words, an empire is built on strong foundations and is bottom heavy. Relying only on one source of strength (national) will cause the structure to topple eventually.
7. Global Climate & Environment
This is another issue that Trump has decided to destroy instead of strengthening. Trump commented on the cost of environmental safety by saying “For many decades, an ever-growing maze of regulations, rules, restrictions have cost our country trillions and trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, countless American factories, and devastated many industries. all that changed the day I took the oath of office.”
What Trump did was weaken regulations over environmental control, something that took decades to build and is significant and mandatory to ensure a safe environment. Even if Trump is succeeding to destroy the environmental protection regulations, I cannot condone scoring him on this issue that is truly bad for the US. Trump also announced the withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement, something that shows his total ignorance of global issues that the US should be leading and not hold China’s hand in total disregard for human life and safety in order to make a quick buck.
Score: 3 out of 5. Unfortunately he delivered on this issue. Personally, anyone that is against assuring the environmental safety and climate of this planet has no understanding or respect for nature and the future of human life.
8. The US economy
Trumps motto is “make American Great again.” He certainly has done a lot to try and make his impact great. How it affected the US economy is yet to be fully realized.
Economic changes on a national level take time, and many events are based on actions that happened are the rolling result of Obama’s term in office. Although there are immediate reactions that can show us the direction of the market.
Immediate reactions include the direction of wall street and other exchanges, the strength in the dollar and unemployment rates. The Dow Jones Index just passed the 25,000 mark, and unemployment is down to 4.1% which is a 17-year low, while the GDP has gone up to 3.2% which is its highest level since 20165. So, all the indicators show that Trump’s impact is having a positive effect on the economy. However, I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm, these are still based on the effects that were started during Obama’s term, since, as I mentioned, national economic trends do not change overnight, they take years to impact fully, and we will only feel Trump’s changes after three years in office. Everything else is speculation.
Score: 2.5 out of 5. We need to wait to see if the overall sentiment of change will be 100% behind Trump and not 55% Obama.
9. Foreign policy
We can write books about this, and most probably books are being written as I write this article. Trump is not a politician or a diplomat. He is a savvy, crass but highly intelligent businessman that has gone through a lot to make even more and is successful in manipulating the media for his own desires, even when it seems that they are against him.
Trump has created the global leader Tweet method for dispensing immediate reactions to global issues. This is a genius method for removing the blame from government and placing it on his personal head. This is a psychological misdirection since everything Trump tweets are planned and are also notification to all his people to prepare for the issue based on immediate feedback. In fact, this is the first world leader that has successfully managed other leaders and the media into giving away how they will react, giving him time to plan and prepare countermeasures. It is also a great marketing and PR tool for Twitter, so the Twitter shareholders can enjoy their investment.
President Trump is a genius in creating “brand” names for other leaders, such as “Little Rocket Man” for Kim Jong Un.
Trump has also given the US Military their best year in decades, with a free hand in dealing with issues that demand an immediate response. He has strengthened the US military as well as shown the world how the US can make a difference without committing major forces. These include the special forces operations in Niger as well as the air strike in Syria. His only commitment to building a military presence is by increasing the size of US presence in Afghanistan by 14,000 troops.
While he battles Islamic extremism and terrorism, he also battles nations he deems as being anti-US by stopping funding and cutting relations. This is what happened with Pakistan as well as with the Palestinian Authority. He claimed that Jerusalem is the Capital of the State of Israel, sending a clear message where the US stands in this Middle East issue. The fact that the Palestinians continued to burn US flags while getting millions of dollars in US aid helped Trump reach the decision to cut off aid to the Palestinian authority. Pakistan was not only feeding the US false information it was active in supporting Islamic terrorists and used them against India.
A symbolic gesture against Iran and a lot of tweets around this issue do not really cause too many changes, and the Iranian nuclear development situation is still undecided. The sanctions might seem enough, but in reality, Iran is getting help from Russia and some European and Muslim countries seeking to maintain trade with Iran.
Score: 4 out of 5. What can I say, Tweetology has changed the world and Trump are effective in delivering his messages whether we like them or not.
10. The New President
Trump is different. He is unique, and he is bringing change. I like to think that great world leaders appear at times when they are most needed, such as the rise of Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt to combat Hitler and Mussolini. Washington to combat George III, Robespierre, and Danton to destroy the French Aristocracy, maybe even the barons that led the revolt against King John to sign the Magna Carta, the first book of regulations that set up a kind of check and balance system with the crown, while Richard I was out on his crusades. Mahatma Gandhi who used a nonviolence approach against the British Crown. History is full of checks and balances, while we might think that there is chaos, in fact, there is a pattern.
Trump had arrived when the US needed a leader that could counter Vladimir, Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Kim Jong Un, Muhamad Abbas, and Xi Jinping. These formidable leaders are only after their own megalomaniac interests, and you need a megalomaniac to counter their moves. A common all garden politician, even if he has a great smile and jokes, is not enough to fight strong leaders that want to destroy and control.
While Trump’s detractors bemoan every breath he takes, Trump is the right man in the right place at the right time, and the only history will truly tell us if this statement is correct.
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5. For a US president to reach this level of success in his first year is commendable. It’s just a shame that the environment and healthcare issue lowered the score. Let’s see what he will deliver at the end of 2018 and compare scores.