I’ve been somewhat fascinated with America politics ever since Al Gore lost to George Bush in the 2000 election. Not the least because he partly lost due to a bad designed voting ballot. And since 2016 it has become even more interesting with the, not so surprising, election victory of Donald J. Trump. It has been fun to watch all the late night talk show hosts take jabs at Trump, especially my favorite John Oliver.
But it got me thinking as to why he won and if he is really the narcisistic ego maniac the mainstream media makes him out to be or if he’s quite clever in his own way (or both). So i wanted to share my thoughts on this subject.
Why he won?
I won’t linger on this too long because there’s lots of resources out there that explain why. But i wanted to highlight 3 things that are interesting:
Majority vote does not count: America is the only (as far as i know) where a majority vote does not count. That was the case in the 2016 election where Hillary Clinton won 2.1% more of the votes that Trump.
Effective use of social media: (i won’t go into the Russian interference which i think has been proven quite well) to share and counter ideas, attack opponents (on both sides of the political spectrum), and lots of self-aggrandizing of and by Donald Trump. It was so effective because of the third highlight:
Fear: people in the swing states and states where the ‘old’ industry resides have had it hard the last decade because of, amongst other things, automation, which Andrew Yang explains very well. The Job-loss because of that, combined with:
- all the cultural changes that conservative america is not ready for,
- the fear of becoming a white minority,
- decades of relativly poor education and
- voters fed up with the political swamp
caused voters in the ‘swing’ states to vote for trump. Fear worked perfectly for Trump.
Is Trump a bad president?
To answer this question i first want to seperate a few things when talking about Donald Trump:
Trump as a person: i don’t know much about him as a person besided what i see in documentaries and on tv-shows which do not always depict him in a positive way to say the least. However there’s always the facade people hold up in public so i can’t really judge him here. But you can tell a lot from a person they way he behaves and talks, and in the case of Donald Trump, let’s just say we would not be best of friends.
Trump as a business man: When you look at his roallercoaster resume he’s a real business man (born rich so he had a headstart) and entrepreneur but also someone who takes risks and doesn’t always play fair or by the rules. The fact that he went bankrupt 6 times can be discussed both negatively (who goes backrupt 6 times?) and positively (he came out on top 6 times as well). So i would say that he’s succesfull as a business man (not going into ethical discussions here).
Trump as a president: in my opinion and views he failes miserably. As a president you represent and lead your country by example both with dignity and humility. You are a bridgebuilder to bring people together (although i think America is a lost cause regarding that concern). Trump has been anything but that:
- always twisting or making up his own truth,
- purposfully attacking people who don’t agree with him,
- not stepping up to the plate when he should (like Charlottesville) and
- acting like a 2 year old on twitter with the Gretta-tweet as an example.
Although most republicans publically support him, i bet a lot are ashamed of their commander-in-chief. A lot can be said and discussed but it’s not worth the digital ink.
Trump’s domestic policies: Although his message resonates with a whole lot of (conservative) people regarding items like economy and immigration, the ‘HOW’-part is a disaster:
- Education: now even more eletist than ever thanks to Betsy deVos
- Environmental policies: Trump seems to be hellbound on turning back environmental policies from the Obama administration with potentially devastating consequences for American health and the environment
- Immigration: a country based on and made great by immigrants is now trying keep Muslims and people from South America away by telling lies and building a wall that won’t actually solve anything
- Health care: he has tried to repeal Obamace multiple times and although it’s definitly not great (largely due to Republicans when negotiating the deal) his lack of sympathy for the millions of Americans without proper health care like we have in Europe, is appaling.
What he has got going for him is the economy which is a result, in my opinion, of swift action Obama and the FED took during the financial crisis. But to Trumps’ credit, his actions don’t seem to hurt the economy that much, for now. But to say that due to his policies the economy is now stronger than ever……
Trump’s foreign policies: Now here is where things get interesting and where i think Trump is actually getting things in motion. Of cource in diplomatic terms there’s lots to improve and he has not made much friends, but as an American i would not be so fast as to criticize him.
- Foreign wars: Afghanistan, Irak, Syria, not easy places to get out off, but he has taken more action on these matters than Obama, who seriously screwed up on Syria. You can debate wether it’s the right action but we all can agree that, despite the heroic sacrifice soldiers have made, they are unwinnable, senseless wars. When does the west stop meddling in or dealing with countries they shouldn’t. From an American perspective, getting their soldiers home is important and also stopping the money that has been poured into those wars and using it for domestic purposes. Trump is getting things done, now see if he can finish it.
- Renegotiating Economic Pacts: Here is where his business instincts are helping him, telling people about the bad-deals his predecessors made and actually renegotiating pacts in a more favorable way for America. This will also help his 2020 campaign which can depict him as a dealmaker.
- China: this is in my view the most important he is doing, getting tough on China. China has been getting away with lots of thing, especially with keeping the status of a developing country, not opening up their internal market for foreign companies and state funding of companies to keep prices low. Everyone has been too soft on China and tries to make friends with a nation that’s only interested in making China strong (locally). Lots of countries depend on China economically, especially the U.S, so it’s a gamble for Trump waging a trade-war which can have great impact wordwide. But is seems that it’s paying off. We still have to see how this unfolds but it’s a start. Europe should follow his lead.
Of course there are lots of things to be critical about like Climate Change policies, ties with Saudi Arabia, influence of weapons industry with regards to foreign policies, Ukraine, Iran, etc.. But that does not change the fact that he has come through on some of his promises in the eyes of his base and others.
Will he be impeached?
25% chance, no matter which side you are on, anyone with half a brain and that has watched the hearings has to admit it’s shady at best. But due to republicans having the majority in the senate, chances of impeachment are low, but not entirely of the table. Unfortunatly, should he be impeached, the people next in line are not much of an improvement.
Will he win the next election?
75% change. Bernie Sanders should have been the democratic candidate in 2016 and is the most authentic candidate….if only you were 10 years younger. Warren has good ideas but can she convince the swingvoters and keep the wealthy democratic supporters on board. Biden as a president seems promising but he is vulnerable and is scoring poorly during debates. Andrew Yang has some of the best ideas but too far fetched for a lot of Americans. Pete……seems like a nice guy. The rest…..
So, is he a bad president?
Yes, definitly. I would not want that man as a president. He might be doing allright on foreign policies but the fact that he can’t get over himself, lies all the time, is not bringing America together and simply is not carrying himself in a dignified way makes him unfit for office. He might have been a very good minister of foreign policies, but we’ll never find out.
But he is smarter, in his own way, than most people give him credit for and his business and non-political approach combined with a savvy team around him, resonates with people, so strategically he’s doing ok and is actually the president conservative voters are looking for.
I’m going to continue following the news coverage, it’s fun, interesting and educational as well. I’ve also read the book A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn which explains a whole lot and also that nothing much has changed in centuries. But as a friend told me, America is somewhat of a young nation still trying to find it’s way and that’s never a smooth ride. Good luck America!
And writing a blog takes even more time than expected, but a great exercise for rethinking certain subjects and actual write something. Already have a few more ready to come out.