It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since that magical evening when Donald J. Trump, previously known as the orange dude from the Apprentice, was elected President of *these* United States.
Don’t you love when people say that? Like you may be referring to the African Union on accident. No, no, THESE United States. Not the Confederacy, THESE.
Sometimes you have to pause in awe of the fact that – yes, our President is…Donald Trump.
Has been for a year.
And what a year it has been.
1. The Swamp
In a year ago’s list I mentioned two of the reasons that people should be overjoyed Trump won was his decision to make anti-corruption a part of his administration and that he was the anti-politician.
The seasoned political people will sneer “RUSSIA” right about now.
But it’s a testament to Trump’s abilities to see exactly who he’s upset and why.
The Media (in caps) is the most powerful force in American life, bar none. That includes television news, journalists, websites, social networks, Hollywood – all tentacles, all with an intangible product to sell you: information.
And we’ve never seen someone they love to hate more than Trump.
Remember: Trump is a product of The Media. A wealthy real estate developer turned tabloid fixture turned must-invite-to-your-fancy-party-attendee turned high-profile donor turned TV reality star turned political junkie, Trump was created and elected by the media, who are systematically horrified by the monster they’ve created.
Nobody in the media had much love for him, by the way. Outwardly celebrities would hug him and journalists would pretend to be his best friend, but he was never…loved. He was the silly, eccentric rich guy The Media loved to have at parties but kept at arm’s length. A curiosity to be disposed of.
Which turned out to bite The Media in the ass – they’d found someone who could garner enough free airtime to drown out a former president and most-powerful-woman-in-America-not-named-Oprah’s historical slog to the Presidency.
tfw u know the next question bc u got them before the interview
Our congressperson doesn’t care about us, they care about money and airtime. Companies don’t care about us, they care about happy shareholders and positive PR. The news doesn’t care about us, it cares about views and ad dollars. Some of us were cynical enough to know that already, others still thought it was 1967 and what Bobby Kennedy and Walter Cronkite told us and US Steel sold us was for us.
Look at the people mad at Trump, from the members of Congress (Democrat and Republican) to the journalists (conservative and liberal) to the businesses (from the NFL to tech). Notice a trend?
Just as much as corrupt Democratic politicians are being exposed, false Conservatives are being defrocked. Without sounding too much like Smedley Butler, “The Business Party” has been slowly unraveling. “Move the plant to Mexico, it’s good for business”. “Sign this bill into law, it’s good for business”. “Push this story, it’s good for business”. Meanwhile, real wages are stagnant and government grows more complex and opinions become singular. Trump infuriates the correct people. He’s been just as much a wildcard a president as he was a candidate, and with any story, from Charlottesville to Uranium One to Donna Brazile at the DNC, he’s been correct in the end.
But back to business.
The wall isn’t built yet, or at least not in any functional capacity. That needs to be said first and foremost, and while people thought that was a funny campaign rhetorical flourish, at least it will be built.
The fact it’s not is its own problem and points to a feckless Republican Congress. What’s the point of having both houses of Congress if they don’t do anything?
The good news is illegal immigration is down and it’s a major talking point. The enemy of illegal immigration is legal immigration, and now that weird pathways to citizenship, like refugee quotas and diversity visas, which cut around people who have actually tried to follow the rules, are being sealed up is good on whole. Trump’s made this a core feature and it’s a winning issue. He probably wouldn’t be President without it.
By the way, big business hates this fact about Trump. They don’t want to hire American workers to receive American salaries with American benefits.
3. Foreign Policy
Despite all the doom and gloom, this has been a relatively peaceful year. We haven’t started any new wars (despite a missile being fired in Syria and losing troops in Niger) and our allies like Japan/South Korea/the UK/Canada/France are on great terms with us, with China rolling out the red carpet for foreign dinners, Russia treating us as a strategic partner, and Saudi Arabia taking our cues to clean up the Middle East. North Korea and Iran are more opposed by major powers than ever before. And all this on a supposed “skeleton staff” at the State Department, which goes to show that, like excess school administrators, diplomats are at best a waste of space.
4. The Economy Has Never Been Better
Barring a downturn, the stock market is at a record high, American workers are being hired, foreign investment in the US is reaching new heights, taxes are going down (no kudos until that bill’s passed though!), and the jobless rate is the lowest it’s been in 17 years. Hate Trump all you want, but it’s a hell of a track record. Who knew shaming companies for not hiring American would work?
5. Minority Rights
This is the thorniest issue because it involves the most moving parts. One could argue that the refugee program being suspended has been the most important act of civil rights since 1964. One could also argue that “The Trump Effect” has resulted in the most minorities becoming active and engaged in American politics since our inception. The trans-serving-in-the-military issue and the Trump Justice Department prosecuting trans hate crimes are examples that could be pulled in either direction. The one weird fact about Trump is that he has a habit of lumping everyone together as Americans. Steelworkers who lost their jobs aren’t black or white, they’re Americans. LGBTQ taxpayers are Americans. Hispanic legal immigrants are Americans.
Most importantly – the Trump presidency has been wildly functional, with a new Supreme Court justice, executive orders being passed, regulations being lifted and budgets being cut, constant meetings with anyone and everyone, and international travel with our allies and recent friends – all of which have been in service to action, not business as usual.
The first year of Trump’s administration has been the rollercoaster we all knew it was going to be, but it’s for good reason. We are moving in a new direction, a rejection of the old guard, and the creation of a new America. The slogan is “Make America Great Again”, but it’s a futuristic concept of pushing forward, past the old ideas, the old people, the failures and mistakes and the grifters and the corrupt. Looking forward to one hell of a 2018.