By Adam Jordan
As the Trump administration vacates the White House, it seems sensible to reflect on a tumultuous four years in office. The Trump presidency, for all its faults, has been one of the most successful, effective, and consequential to date. Let’s unpack that statement a little.
On the economic front, America has prospered greatly over the last four years thanks, in part, to tax cuts and deregulation — at least, until the coronavirus pandemic wiped out much of the country’s gains. In 2016, Trump inherited an economy deemed to be at full employment capacity, but under Trump, 7 million new jobs were created, not only exceeding expectations, but also drastically outperforming the Obama administration.
Additionally, unemployment fell to a 50-year low – unemployment rates for all minorities reached all-time lows, whilst that of women reached its lowest in almost 70 years. Poverty also fell to its lowest rate in 60 years, with 7 million people lifted out of poverty from 2016 to 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, prior to the election, 56% of Americans said that they were better off than they were four years ago. As a writer for the Daily Beast illustrates: ‘the pre-pandemic economy was the strongest in decades, with prosperity spread across the income ladder.’
Trump is also the first US president in 40 years not to enter America into a new conflict.
This has ensured that America’s economic recovery from the effects of coronavirus has been particularly historic, alongside the vaccine achievements contributed to by Operation Warp Speed. Economic success does not paint the entire picture, however. The Trump administration has also concentrated efforts into improving the lives of African Americans, with permanent and record funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), and the First Step Act, which constitutes the beginning of major criminal justice reforms that have benefitted predominantly young African-Americans.
Further, alongside Senator Tim Scott, 9000 ‘Opportunity Zones’ have been created to incentivise investment in low-income areas, aiding particularly the growth of African-American-run businesses. On the domestic front, Trump has invested heavily in combatting human trafficking, secured energy independence for the US whilst greenhouse gas emissions have continued to decline, rebuilt the American military, revitalised its space industry, and secured billions to fight the country’s opioid epidemic,
President Trump also established a program to prioritise global women’s development which is now half-way complete. Trump has also been campaigning globally to end the criminalisation of homosexuality – notably, his LGBTQ support doubled from 2016 to 2020. It is not just domestically that Trump has succeeded, however, given his administration’s foreign policy achievements. Most striking are the Abraham Accords, bringing the foundations for peace in the volatile Middle East, alongside a slew of other historic international agreements.
the administration kept its promises in the face of extraordinarily hostile opposition
Since 2016, the ISIS caliphate has been destroyed, relations with North Korea have improved, and the US has stood up to and against China, particularly for its heinous persecution of Uighur Muslims. Trump is also the first US president in 40 years not to enter America into a new conflict. This success came in the face of fierce, unwavering opposition and tangible hatred, from impeachment proceedings to constant mainstream media criticism, the latter having at least some effect on perceptions of the Trump presidency, and the election.
In spite of all of this, the GOP has been transformed into an unrecognisably multi-racial, working class, anti-establishment party. It may surprise you to find out that the only group Trump with which did not perform better in the 2020 election was white men. None of this is to say that there have not been failures, nor that Trump’s personality has not negatively overshadowed these policy achievements, but that is not within the scope of this piece.
In any case, the Trump Administration was successful because of what it achieved – domestically and globally. It was also effective, because the administration kept its promises in the face of extraordinarily hostile opposition. Trump’s presidency has also been one of the most consequential in decades, with the transformation of the American political landscape, both in Washington itself and nationwide, for better or for worse. Regardless of perceptions of the man, and his presidency, Trump has certainly left his mark, and in more positive ways than you may think.
Image: The Epoch Times via Flickr