Donald Trump stunned everyone by winning the 2016 US Presidential Election. Both during the campaign, and as president, he has said and done things that many have found shocking. Some think he is the worst President ever, while others see him as a saviour figure standing up for those left behind by the Washington Elite.
His critics argue that he has debased the presidency with his attacks on enemies and allies alike, he has lowered the public discourse, flamed racial tensions, and appointed unreliable or corrupt administrators. His supporters point to the booming economy, his engagement with North Korea, and the fact that unlike some his predecessors he's actually fulfilling many of his campaign promises.
Which of these views do you think is correct?
Matthew is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations. He teaches on a range of modules on the Nottingham Trent University BA Politics degree, including Hyperpower Politics: The USA, Transnational Media and Society and Media Power and Politics. He also leads on the module Transnational Media Governance on the MA Journalism Degree. His main areas of focus are US policy and media politics.
Matthew did his original degree in Politics at NTU before completing an MA in Politics and Contemporary History at Nottingham University. He also has Post-Graduate Certificates in Research Methodologies and Higher Education. He completed his Phd at NTU in 2008.
In 2014 he won the Vice-Chancellor Award for Teaching and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is a member of the Political Studies Association and The Association for the Study of German Politics. His research is currently focusing on the use of game based learning in teaching, with particular emphasis on how it can be sued to examine US policy both at home and abroad.
Last edited by Puddles the Monkey; 2 months ago
The way that Trump is undermining democracy is far more insidious than anything dictators like Hitler used to seize power. Trump has no ambitions to become an authoritarian dictator and I personally find it ridiculous that people make comparisons between him and Hitler, for example. However his narcissism and egoism has led him to issue personal insults against others and more importantly lead attacks on any news that is unfavourable to him and the free press. Unable to stand the criticism he receives, he has harnessed the extreme levels of support voters have given to him to attack some of the key tenets of liberal democracy and in doing so sown ever greater partisan division. Although these issues of partisanship existed before Trump's rise to power, he has exacerbated them and as the Leader of the Free World, his use of these tactics has greater legitimised them. Even if Trump goes in 2020, his impact will be felt for long afterwards.
Yes the economy is booming, but Obama deserves the credit for rescuing America from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and setting the country on its current economic path. I personally do not think his trade spat with China is a bad thing with China's aggressive and ever-growing trade power a genuine concern for America. However what Trump needs is allies and his bullying of his strongest allies such as Canada and the EU regarding trade is ridiculous and at a time when liberal democracy is under ever greater threat from Russia, China and others, his actions are incredibly ludicrous. You cannot and should not run a country like a business.
His supposed successes with North Korea are nonexistent as well. North Korea have not disbanded their nuclear weapons and their summit together was rather farcical, achieving nothing, but giving Kim Jong-Un time under the global spotlight. Instead it is South Korea who's new, less hardline president, Moon Jae-In who should be getting the credit for actually deescalating the tension.
As much as Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises, to me it appears Trump has no intention of fulfilling the role as President fully. It is only an ego boost for him and he detests the long hours and hard work actually involved with the boring day-to-day issues, instead enjoying big rallies and press events far more. As a result, his administration is being woefully run with there still being unfilled positions and scandals almost weekly such as Pruitt's misuse of public funds and blatant links with coal and gas despite being head of the EPA. Moreoever, I don't think it is truly correct to say that he is fulfilling all of his campaign promises. He told supporters that he would "drain the swamp" and acted as an anti-disestablishment figure. His tax cuts for the richest, placement of his own family, wealthy Goldman Sachs bankers and people with links to coal, oil and gas in positions of power show that he is in actuality perpetuating the power of the swamp at the expense of most of his base.
Last edited by crazychameleon; 2 months ago
I think all of these are good points, and I can’t disagree with the vast majority of it.
Is there an argument that Trump is having a positive effect (although clearly unintentionally), in terms of reinvigorating the Democratic grassroots. There’s a whole generation of young people mobilising in opposition to Trump. As a result we might end up with a Democratic Party that’s more than just a slightly more liberal mirror image of the Republicans.
Also the Trump administration is giving us an unintended lesson in civics and constitutional law. Ordinary people in the street are now suddenly discussing things like the Logan Act and whether a President can pardon themselves (which is honestly a legitimate question).
Finally there’s the fact that Trump’s inward looking foreign policy means that European and other nations are having to step out from out of Anerica’s Shadow and filling the void left by Trump’s inaction. They might end up playing a much more vital role in UN and global affairs challenging American hegemony?
While Trump’s presidency is causing problems, it might be argued that there are some good things coming out of it (although not ones he’d probably want)
I am surprised he thinks it is suitable to mock Professor Ford and now make claims she is a hoax. Quite unpresidential.
Is the Trump Presidency undermining Liberal Democracy?
Not at all, the reaction to it by the loosing party is. On the charges of dragging political discourse down and flaming racial tensions at least, they are worse than Trump.
Last edited by zhog; 2 months ago
There is certainly one thing you got right, he is fulfilling his promises in the campaign which is surprising since politics is all about lies. For a businessman, he is quite better than your average businessman.