Turncoat: Why Trump is a Good President

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Turncoat: Why Trump is a Good President

photo by D. Crickets

photo by D. Crickets

photo by D. Crickets

Jonathan Ross, Reporter

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Turncoat was never particularly easy to write. It was incredibly hard at times. It was hard to argue against LGBTQ+ rights and a woman’s right to control her pregnancy. It was hard to advocate for deportation of illegal immigrants, and it was even harder to defend Holocaust deniers’ right to free speech. I suppose, though, that that’s the whole reason for the series: making me, and hopefully the readers, uncomfortable. With that in mind, my last article for this season — entitled “Why Trump is a Good President” — is a perfect send-off for this column and my junior year.

When I suggested this last topic, my mom, and probably my most active reader, simply said, “It’s a shame when defending Holocaust deniers is easier than defending our president.” While she was not altogether wrong, the previous issues of Turncoat argued a specificity of points with several degrees of separation from the overarching subject — arguing against LGBT+ rights was more about states’ rights than persecution of the LGBTQ community.

With Trump, though, there is no abstraction. At the time of this column, Trump’s approval is just above 40%, but, as the economy hums along, his supporters remain steadfast. All this to say: our Commander in Chief is likely the most divisive issue in America. Without further ado, although I abhor his policies, personality, and orange skin tone, please enjoy my honest attempt at proving that Donald J. Trump is a good president.

From the beginning, I would like to define a good presidency. As Harry Truman walked out of office, he carried with him a dismal approval rating of 34%, a number only “beaten” by Nixon after the Watergate scandal. After his first term, Bill Clinton’s approval rating sat similarly to that of Trump’s, as the bipartisan policies that Clinton had promised wouldn’t come until his second term. Incredibly, as of year three, Trump’s approval almost identically matches Reagan’s in his 3rd year—keep in mind, Reagan would go on to almost unanimously win the election of 1984. Now, this barrage of approval ratings doesn’t explicitly define a “good” presidency, and that is exactly the point.

A president can no longer focus solely on their four years; they must instead work to position their country atop a mountain of threats, both future and present, domestic and international.”

The success of a president and his policies cannot be based on polls. Instead, with any politician, success needs to be based on how successfully he or she does their job. Traditionally, this has been, quite simply, to serve the United States and the people living here. Furthermore, in the past, it was less of an occupation than it was a civic duty. Undeniably, that’s a sharp contrast from today, but why? Well, first and foremost, the political scene has shifted. The government is increasingly involved in the lives of people both domestically and abroad. A president can no longer focus solely on their four years; they must instead work to position their country atop a mountain of threats, both future and present, domestic and international. To that, Trump has a claim.

What really sets Trump apart from other politicians in this regard is the way with which he views the presidency: as a business. His advisors are employees; his tax returns are, according to him, rightfully private; and his supporters are his targeted audience, to whom he is selling the idea of Making America Great Again. Much of his opposition are adamantly opposed to this, and even some of his own party suggest a greater transparency. As with much of politics though, Trump’s business-like approach is not defined solely by transparency or a lack thereof. It is instead comprised of his negotiation and policy.

For example, the president expertly navigated the choppy waters around North Korea, though at the time, it was overshadowed by the controversial confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. Pyongyang has long been a hot topic on Capital Hill, with the left asserting leniency on the rogue nation and the right standing strong. Against the better judgement of advisers, Trump held his ground during negotiations. His gamble paid off, so much so that he and Kim Jong-Un “fell in love.” While an affair between the two is a horrifying prospect, the negotiations were indubitably successful. In refusing to remove sanctions, Trump moved the country and his business forward.

The same can be said in regard to the release of Americans from foreign captivity. Thus far, President Trump has successfully negotiated the extradition of sixteen citizens and another three for our allies. While this, in and of itself, is certainly a laudable feat, the real success comes in the leverage he used to get the prisoners back: nothing. In the past, though America “doesn’t negotiate with terrorists,” the policy has often been to trade American citizens for potentially dangerous criminals or large sums of money, like the $400 million dollar payment to Iran for the release of hostages in 2016. Trump, on the other hand, was able to retrieve the imprisoned Americans without concessions.

Beyond his impressive, business-like negotiation, Trump has, contrary to popular beliefs, positioned the United States well for the future in terms of domestic issues — with bipartisan approval. The Right to Try bill is piece of legislation giving terminally ill patients the right to explore experimental medicines. Before this bill was passed, and as a result of numerous other issues in healthcare, the FDA had to approve each treatment, which often left terminally ill patients waiting without options. Trump’s support of this bill was clever; it brought support from both sides of the aisle in an otherwise hostile time for the president. It also opened the door for future development in the healthcare field, whether that development is unanimously supported or partisan.

Though it garnered less support from the Democrats, Trump’s definitively pro-business policies have been equally as preparatory for the future. He has not only cut taxes, but also deregulated private sectors, a combination that has facilitated economic growth. As the President touts at every opportunity, American jobs are returning, and the unemployment rate, specifically that of the African-American community, is incredibly low. While basic economic principle shows the market is cyclical, and only a certain amount of credit is due to the presidents in regard to the economy, his policies complemented the already thriving economy. For that, he deserves applause.

In the end, if Trump does, in fact, treat the presidency as a business, he will be replaced. Like the CEO of any large company, the President has an expiration date — whether that be in two years or six. There lies the most undeniable, universal good Trump has brought to the table: a greater political awakening. Since he was sworn into office, participation and vested interest in government have increased in adults, teens, and kids. It’s important to note the difference between intelligent conversation and incoherent argumentation. Still, active engagement in our government is a universally progress ushering movement. As the 2020 election approaches, this engagement will only increase.

So, I challenge the Democrats, if Trump is as awful a president as he is made out to be by mass media, then his presidency is good for your party. If he is awful, he’s also opened the door for you to take control of the government. Stop bickering and complaining, and take it.

Thank you for reading, and have a great summer.