William Howe '21
Personal failings aside (there are few and far between who would attempt to defend his narcissism, overuse of Twitter, and boorishness) Donald J. Trump has been one of the most effective presidents in U.S. history. Despite the menacing caricature the national press has sketched of the man, it is undeniable that Trump has performed admirably as our president, making the lives of Americans better than they were just four years prior—and according to a recent Gallup poll, 56% of Americans feel the same way, even amidst a global pandemic. Trump’s tax cuts directly led to unprecedented growth, antiquating Obama’s notion of the “new normal” of 2% yearly GDP growth (AEI). Trump has supported our nation’s law enforcement—a position that, as it happens, 80% of Black Americans agree with, despite what self-important “activists” might assert (Gallup Poll), positioning himself as a progenitor of stability in the face of widespread violence. He has led the charge against the self-flagellating, guilt-ridden view of America as an evil nation with unequivocally evil origins, a view that is all the rage in leftist circles. Take the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which argues that slavery and white supremacy are the central truths around which all of U.S. history revolves. Though it has been slammed by historians for misrepresenting American history (The Atlantic), the Times has time and again refused to make significant alterations and has forged ahead with its plan to adapt the 1619 Project for use in secondary schools. Trump has rightly condemned this project as the inaccuracy it is. Abroad, Trump has promoted peace more effectively than any of his predecessors - the Abraham Accords he facilitated between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain are the beginning of a path to peace in the conflict-torn Middle East, eschewing the notion that negotiations with the Palestinians were the only way to reach a peace deal. Many of Trump’s critics cite international relations as one of his shortcomings, but despite what other world leaders may think of him, he has been effective. He won a trade war against China, finally ending the residual attitude of appeasement from the Obama era (Bloomberg). As a president, Donald Trump has succeeded in many areas, but mainly in economy, law and order, the American ethos, and foreign policy.
Before we can discuss what Trump has done well in detail, we must rebut the most common critiques weighed against him: that he is a white supremacist/racist and that his handling of COVID-19 has been abysmal. Few people like to discuss his actual policies (because, as it turns out, they have worked rather well) and resort to calling him a “white supremacist,” but Trump has in fact condemned white supremacy and its proponents many times, and forcefully so: in his own words, “[White supremacy] must be defeated … [and] hate has no place in America” (Reuters). Trump has, in fact, condemned white supremacy more times than probably any other U.S. president; he has rebuked the ideology on too many occasions to list here, and I leave it to the nonpartisan Politifact to chronicle them. Trump has even designated the KKK a terrorist organization.
Some will still argue that he is a “secret white supremacist”—blowing a dogwhistle that, evidently, only Democrats can hear—but such accusations amount to little more than conspiracy theories. Though some of his statements may have been insensitive and distasteful, I agree with the Washington Post’s Gary Abernathy in affirming that Donald Trump is not and has never been racist. With regards to COVID-19, I will leave it to Governor Cuomo: “[Trump] has delivered for New York.” We live in a republic, and Trump did all he could to reduce travel to the United States on a federal level. Furthermore, he provided local leaders with all they needed— he fulfilled his duty as president impeccably.
Many argue that Trump’s shortcomings become evident when U.S. COVID statistics are compared with other developed nations, but even here, the criticisms fall short. Detractors often cite case numbers as the mark of failure for the Trump administration. But cases are irrelevant, given vastly different testing regimens and protocols in each country; case fatality rates and deaths per capita are the true indicators of a successful response, given that they adjust for both population and different reporting mechanisms. The fact is that the US has a lower case fatality rate than almost any Western European nation and has experienced about 65.6 deaths per 100,000 population, solidly in the range of the figures for most of Europe’s largest economies, including the UK, France, and Italy (Hopkins).
What is more, while America seems well on the road to recovery, with cases and deaths down from the summer peak nationally and in former hotspots alike, the virus is ascendant in Europe, presaging a gruesome winter. No, Trump’s COVID response was not a “failure,” but a perfectly acceptable, if not commendable, approach when compared to the responses from similar-situated nations (e.g. large, Western democracies).
Economically, very few people would dispute that Trump’s policies have excelled. He cut taxes and regulations on American workers, which most economists agree led to growth, lower unemployment, and higher 50th-percentile household income. Trump’s policies yielded the same results across the board (and if he is in fact a racist, he is one of the least effective racists in history—Black Americans did better economically under his leadership than any other president in recent years). Obama’s economy, to which Biden contributed, was simply inferior - its growth stagnated and manufacturers fled. Trump employed better economic policies than Biden.
With regards to law and order, I think we can safely say that everyone wants to reduce crime. Even rioters cry for help from law enforcement when they hear the discharge of a firearm, a sad irony that plagues their anarchist LARP fantasies. Trump (unlike Biden) condemned criminal behavior from the start of unrest in Minneapolis. Black Americans largely stand with Trump here, as 81% would like to increase or maintain law enforcement presence in their communities (which is why I call white “activists” self-important: they believe they know better than Black communities what Black communities need when they shout “defund the police”). No one wants to be robbed, looted, or shot, and Trump has promised and continues to provide support for law enforcement—Biden has given vague approval of law enforcement, but not nearly to the extent Trump has.
The 1619 Project is poison to America. Its premise is that America was founded on the idea of slavery in 1619, when the first slaves arrived in the Americas. This notion is ridiculous, as many Founding Fathers expressly condemned slavery—America was built on the promise of individual freedom for all, and today we are closer than ever to finally fulfilling that promise. Far from creating a nation that perpetuated white supremacy, the Founders in 1776 set America on a course to eradicate slavery and, later, Jim Crow. America’s founding is a story of freedom, not subjugation. We are not a nation whose identity is based on race, religion, or creed, but rather on the idea that we all deserve the freedom to accomplish all we can, with no state powers holding us back. America has allowed evil to fester in its borders, but today we have, for the most part, expelled that evil. Trump believes that every person, regardless of their race or heritage, can be American if they buy into our fundamental values. The claim that America is inherently hateful towards certain groups only harms people who now believe they have no place in our great nation and feel alienated from our nation’s central promise. Let us not vilify the values that make America such a celebrated destination among people of all races and ethnicities around the world.
Trump’s greatest success has certainly been on the world stage. For all of the glares of disapproval he has received from leaders of European nations with cultural superiority complexes, he has eliminated some of the gravest threats on our planet while simultaneously bringing us closer to world peace. North Korea backed down in the face of Trump’s belligerence, and Al-Baghdadi and Soleimani are now nothing but names. Israel has made peace with some of its longtime enemies. ISIS is gone, Al-Qaeda is weak, our border is safer, and we are closer to reconciliation in Eastern Europe than ever before. NATO members are finally paying their fair share in military spending, and we have found a new, robust ally in India. Trump’s trade war with China was an undeniable victory for the US - while we suffered little more than shaken consumer confidence, our trade deficit shrunk substantially and the Yen plummeted in value. Trump even managed to slow China’s GDP growth by a substantial margin.
Donald Trump has been an excellent president; Biden has been useless in Congress for 44 years. Joe Biden has a history of harmful and destructive bills. There is no reason to vote for Biden other than that he is a puppet for the far left of American politics. We cannot have a president who wants Americans to wait for his election to hear about his position on issues as important as court packing. Whether Trump wins or loses, he is the superior choice for the presidency.
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