How has Donald Trump done during his first year in office?
The first year of the presidency of Donald Trump is coming to a close. It has been a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows but leaves us with enough evidence to sift through the confusion and chaos to make a determination if he has fulfilled the promises that propelled him to his stunning takedown of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.
Let’s set the stage: from the moment Trump was sworn in, the Democrats and the mainstream media (one and the same many believe) declared war on him. He had defied all their projections and predictions and stripped them of most of their credibility with his improbable win.
They viewed him as an illegitimate president even though he had won 309 electoral votes in a surprisingly easy victory over Hillary. There was immediate talk of impeachment, collusion with Russia and an unrelenting flood of negative stories. The Democrats vowed to oppose everything that Trump proposed, not allowing him to pass any legislation.
Trump was not a politician. He viewed the federal government like one of his properties, badly in need of repair and he did not wait for an invitation to start the job. He hit the ground running by immediately repealing many of Obama’s executive actions. Obama had ruled almost his entire second term by executive fiat creating burdensome regulations for business but the regulations were vulnerable because they were not permanent. Trump also immediately nominated a replacement for Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court in Neil Gorsuch and he was confirmed by the Senate.
Trump was unique as a candidate since he was intimately familiar with something never used before in a presidential election: social media. If Trump did not like a story or thought it was inaccurate he immediately tweeted his 43.1 million followers with his own version. It completely bypassed the power of the press and evened the playing field. The press and Hillary cried foul but it became an effective defense.
The Democrats simply refused to admit they had lost an election because of the weakness of their own candidate. Hillary Clinton was the most flawed candidate to seek the presidency in modern history. This was one instance where name recognition was a detriment.
Her 25-year turn on the national stage had been a never-ending saga of controversy and skirting (or ignoring) the rules. Fully 55% of the electorate said they did not like her and worse, 67% said they did not trust her. These are hardly the credentials you want in a candidate for president.
The loss also spawned a questionable strategy: resist everything Trump suggests, which brings us to today, one year later. Let us take a look at who is winning and who is losing.
President Trump has nominated and confirmed a Supreme Court Justice, twelve appellate court judges and six district court judges and has 50 more judges nominated awaiting Senate confirmation in his drive to rebuild the judiciary around strict constitutionalists.
ISIS is hardly mentioned in the news as Trump’s commanders, freed from the cumbersome “rules of engagement” of the Obama administration, have reclaimed 95% of the land the terrorist group controlled less than a year ago.
Trump has rolled back 860 regulations on business and the environment allowing the economy to grow by 3% the last two quarters and fueling a record-breaking. rise in the stock market accompanied by a record low 4.1% employment rate. He capped off the year by passing (with nary a Democratic vote) major tax legislation cutting taxes for every income group for the first time in three decades.
The Democrats have accomplished nothing. They did not stop Trump from accomplishing all of the aforementioned subjects. They have nothing but their hatred for Trump to report. Early in my sales career, we received notice that a new manager was on the way. We quickly called the office where he was coming from to get a profile on what to expect. The report came back, …..” well, he is a real difficult guy to like…. but a real easy guy to hate.”
Over the next two years, our office had its highest production in history. The manager was promoted to another sales office. Everyone still hated him. The promotion was for results. Results matter.
The Democrats are in disarray. Their leadership is old and unwilling to give up power. Liz and Bernie want the party to be more liberal, as if that were possible. If they move any further left, they will be driving in Ireland. Their more pressing problem is Hillary, just returning from exile on her endless book tour. The book titled, What Happened should have been titled What The @#$@ Happened? She continues to hover above the party like some pterodactyl of Christmas past.
The coming year will be about posturing and positioning for the mid-term elections. The Democrats will have to come up with more than their hatred for Trump. Results matter.
Kevin Dowd resides in Washington D.C. He is the brother of Maureen Dowd who frequently quotes him.