Photo: Mirah Curzer

Examining Donald Trump’s First Year (and What It Means Moving Forward)

The Donald Trump presidency has been a shock to most Americans, as his behaviors and actions are in stark contrast to past US presidents. His term has been riddled with hypocrisy and dishonesty, leaving Americans confused and distrusting of the government.

A study by Pew Research Center found that only 18% of Americans say they can trust the government, which fell from 20% at the beginning of Trump’s presidency and remains near historic lows. Trump has had little influence in changing the trend of the public’s distrust of the government, but this information is not surprising considering how Trump has conducted himself during his first year in office.

During his campaign, he promised to give power back to the people by draining the swamp and shrinking government control; however, his actions throughout the first year did not reflect these campaign promises.

His cabinet and advisors are filled with family members, such as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as well as America’s “elite,” such as Steven Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury from Goldman Sachs), Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education whose brother founded government security contractor Blackwater), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator who has major ties to fossil fuel groups), and Elaine Chao (Secretary of Transportation who is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife).

In his first 200 days, Trump signed 42 executive orders, almost double those of past presidents—22 by Obama, 24 by Bush, and 25 by Clinton. He promised to be completely transparent, and yet, has refused to release his tax returns and continues to withhold information concerning the Russia investigation.

He promised that the American people could trust him, and yet he continues to attack women and people of color, his most recent accusation of immigrants coming from so called “shithole” countries. He promised to create a safe America, but he has instead created a safe space for racism, calling neo-Nazis “some very fine people” and continuing xenophobic rhetoric that only reinforces racist thoughts and actions.

According to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the 10 days following Trump’s election, there were nearly 900 reports of harassment and intimidation across the United States. The US is now home to 917 hate group organizations, which has been on the rise, ranging from Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK, and Anti-Muslim groups.

Protests and Resistance Against Trump

However, Trump’s actions have been met with resistance. A day after his inauguration, the US saw its biggest protest in history through the Women’s March. In city after city, supporters of equality, human rights, and progressive values lined up and spoke out for their beliefs. A year later, people flocked to city streets once again to protest Trump and the current administration in the 2nd Women’s March. This time, though, there was a large push to register attendees to vote; not just to voice their protest, but to take action in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

When Trump signed memorandums allowing the federal government to begin construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL pipeline, people from across the country flew in to North Dakota to support to Sioux tribes. DAPL runs under a section of Lake Oahe, a site of cultural significance as well as a water source for the tribes.

Executive Order 13769, nicknamed the “Muslim Ban,” prohibited the entry of Syrian refugees as well as people from Muslim majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. When Trump signed the order, thousands flocked to major airports and protested the ban. Lawyers and translators rushed to the terminals to help detainees and their families, while others chanted outside international terminals, holding signs painted with supporting messages such as “NO BAN”, “PROUD TO BE AN IMMIGRANT”, and “REFUGEES ARE WELCOME.”

Subsequent blocks on parts of the order were enacted by federal judges Ann M. Donnelly of New York and Allison D. Burroughs of Massachusetts. Obama criticized the order, Sally Yates was fired for not defending it, and new orders were drafted and released. The Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments in support of the ban throughout the next few months, with a decision projected to be made in late June or July. No matter what is decided, one thing is certain. Trump will be met with resistance.

The resistance has already become obvious. Protests with large crowds have become a commonplace occurrence. People are speaking out more and more, and their words are creating real change.

Donations continue to flow into human rights campaigns, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and various environmental groups. The public outrage has created ripple effects in communities, from cities in California ensuring their status as sanctuary cities to Representative Al Green from Texas calling for Trump’s impeachment on May 17th. Campaigns through social media implore people to become civically engaged through writing, calling, and even texting their representatives, and political involvement has skyrocketed.

The surge in public political involvement and outcry guarantees an interesting upcoming year in politics. Alabama, a historically Republican state, had a special election on December 12, 2017 to replace the vacancy left by Jeff Sessions (now Attorney General). The race was incredibly close, but Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, won 50% of the vote while his opponent, Roy Moore, won 48.3%. Doug Jones is the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992, and his election may be reflective of a “blue wave” in the 2018 midterms.

2018 and the Midterm Elections

While it is much too early for 2018 predictions, it is safe to make a few observations. It is common for seats to flip in midterms when a certain party has the majority—just as Democrats lost over 1,000 state and federal legislative seats during the Obama presidency, Republicans are at risk in 2018 as well.  So, with a Republican president and Republican majority Congress, it is possible to see the Democrats take over Congress with 435 House and 33 Senate seats up for grabs?

An added factor is, of course, Trump himself.

With an approval rating hovering between 30-40%, Trump’s first year in office has not been the wide sweeping success he promised during the campaign. Many of his actions have even left supporters unhappy, such as his decisions on Obamacare and tax reform.

Laws and policies, pushed through with Republican majorities, have also been met with general disapproval. Many suspect that the public’s reactions to these decisions will reflect a huge opportunity for Democrats in the midterm elections. Predictions range from a slight Democratic advantage to supermajorities and total Democratic takeovers, though it all depends on the upcoming campaigns.

Trump’s actions are inciting people to become politically active and involved. The rhetoric spread by the current administration has already helped erode faith in Trump and the Republican Party as people look for answers, including the Democratic Party and more progressive movements. More people are getting involved in their communities and fighting back against racism, bigotry, and general discriminatory practices.

While Trump may not have achieved everything he promised to in 2017, he has done one thing: bring the American people together. Whether they resonate with Republicans, Democrats, or somewhere in between, Americans are ready to fight for what they believe in.

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Current Junior at California Lutheran University pursuing a degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Law and Public Policy and a minor in Environmental Studies. Passions include environmental stewardship, social justice reform, local government, beekeeping, and the Oxford Comma.

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Examining Donald Trump’s First Year (and What It Means Moving Forward)

The Donald Trump presidency has been a shock to most Americans, as his behaviors and actions are in stark contrast to past US presidents. His term has been riddled with hypocrisy and dishonesty, leaving Americans confused and distrusting of the government.

A study by Pew Research Center found that only 18% of Americans say they can trust the government, which fell from 20% at the beginning of Trump’s presidency and remains near historic lows. Trump has had little influence in changing the trend of the public’s distrust of the government, but this information is not surprising considering how Trump has conducted himself during his first year in office.

During his campaign, he promised to give power back to the people by draining the swamp and shrinking government control; however, his actions throughout the first year did not reflect these campaign promises.

His cabinet and advisors are filled with family members, such as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as well as America’s “elite,” such as Steven Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury from Goldman Sachs), Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education whose brother founded government security contractor Blackwater), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator who has major ties to fossil fuel groups), and Elaine Chao (Secretary of Transportation who is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife).

In his first 200 days, Trump signed 42 executive orders, almost double those of past presidents—22 by Obama, 24 by Bush, and 25 by Clinton. He promised to be completely transparent, and yet, has refused to release his tax returns and continues to withhold information concerning the Russia investigation.

He promised that the American people could trust him, and yet he continues to attack women and people of color, his most recent accusation of immigrants coming from so called “shithole” countries. He promised to create a safe America, but he has instead created a safe space for racism, calling neo-Nazis “some very fine people” and continuing xenophobic rhetoric that only reinforces racist thoughts and actions.

According to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the 10 days following Trump’s election, there were nearly 900 reports of harassment and intimidation across the United States. The US is now home to 917 hate group organizations, which has been on the rise, ranging from Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK, and Anti-Muslim groups.

Protests and Resistance Against Trump

However, Trump’s actions have been met with resistance. A day after his inauguration, the US saw its biggest protest in history through the Women’s March. In city after city, supporters of equality, human rights, and progressive values lined up and spoke out for their beliefs. A year later, people flocked to city streets once again to protest Trump and the current administration in the 2nd Women’s March. This time, though, there was a large push to register attendees to vote; not just to voice their protest, but to take action in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

When Trump signed memorandums allowing the federal government to begin construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL pipeline, people from across the country flew in to North Dakota to support to Sioux tribes. DAPL runs under a section of Lake Oahe, a site of cultural significance as well as a water source for the tribes.

Executive Order 13769, nicknamed the “Muslim Ban,” prohibited the entry of Syrian refugees as well as people from Muslim majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. When Trump signed the order, thousands flocked to major airports and protested the ban. Lawyers and translators rushed to the terminals to help detainees and their families, while others chanted outside international terminals, holding signs painted with supporting messages such as “NO BAN”, “PROUD TO BE AN IMMIGRANT”, and “REFUGEES ARE WELCOME.”

Subsequent blocks on parts of the order were enacted by federal judges Ann M. Donnelly of New York and Allison D. Burroughs of Massachusetts. Obama criticized the order, Sally Yates was fired for not defending it, and new orders were drafted and released. The Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments in support of the ban throughout the next few months, with a decision projected to be made in late June or July. No matter what is decided, one thing is certain. Trump will be met with resistance.

The resistance has already become obvious. Protests with large crowds have become a commonplace occurrence. People are speaking out more and more, and their words are creating real change.

Donations continue to flow into human rights campaigns, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and various environmental groups. The public outrage has created ripple effects in communities, from cities in California ensuring their status as sanctuary cities to Representative Al Green from Texas calling for Trump’s impeachment on May 17th. Campaigns through social media implore people to become civically engaged through writing, calling, and even texting their representatives, and political involvement has skyrocketed.

The surge in public political involvement and outcry guarantees an interesting upcoming year in politics. Alabama, a historically Republican state, had a special election on December 12, 2017 to replace the vacancy left by Jeff Sessions (now Attorney General). The race was incredibly close, but Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, won 50% of the vote while his opponent, Roy Moore, won 48.3%. Doug Jones is the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992, and his election may be reflective of a “blue wave” in the 2018 midterms.

2018 and the Midterm Elections

While it is much too early for 2018 predictions, it is safe to make a few observations. It is common for seats to flip in midterms when a certain party has the majority—just as Democrats lost over 1,000 state and federal legislative seats during the Obama presidency, Republicans are at risk in 2018 as well.  So, with a Republican president and Republican majority Congress, it is possible to see the Democrats take over Congress with 435 House and 33 Senate seats up for grabs?

An added factor is, of course, Trump himself.

With an approval rating hovering between 30-40%, Trump’s first year in office has not been the wide sweeping success he promised during the campaign. Many of his actions have even left supporters unhappy, such as his decisions on Obamacare and tax reform.

Laws and policies, pushed through with Republican majorities, have also been met with general disapproval. Many suspect that the public’s reactions to these decisions will reflect a huge opportunity for Democrats in the midterm elections. Predictions range from a slight Democratic advantage to supermajorities and total Democratic takeovers, though it all depends on the upcoming campaigns.

Trump’s actions are inciting people to become politically active and involved. The rhetoric spread by the current administration has already helped erode faith in Trump and the Republican Party as people look for answers, including the Democratic Party and more progressive movements. More people are getting involved in their communities and fighting back against racism, bigotry, and general discriminatory practices.

While Trump may not have achieved everything he promised to in 2017, he has done one thing: bring the American people together. Whether they resonate with Republicans, Democrats, or somewhere in between, Americans are ready to fight for what they believe in.

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