President Trump is as divisive a figure as you could name. He is intensely polarizing– everyone seems to either love or hate his policies. He is also neither a discrete nor tactful even at the best of times, especially his seemingly endless tweets where he shoots himself and his platform in the foot. Furthermore, his approval ratings have been consistent but low.
Regardless of your personal view of Trump, there are several things that he’s done very well and the country is much better off for it. These don’t often get recognition in the media and we should thank the president and his administration for its accomplishments.
Overall the economy is booming under Trump’s leadership. GDP is growing at a good pace, generated by tax cuts. Wages are slowly growing, but they are growing. Factory employment is up and payrolls are rising. Unemployment is at historic lows, and full-time work (as opposed to part time work) has been growing. The number of people receiving food stamps is shrinking. Labor force participation for women has risen sizably more than for men. Minority and black unemployment are also at historic lows.
Strong Foreign Policy
Strong foreign policy is a welcome change with Trump’s presidency. This country’s job in the world is not to placate and pander to foreign interests. It should be to look out for our own interests– not out of selfishness or greed, but out of practicality. Other countries look out for themselves. Why shouldn’t the US?
Trump has restored America’s image around the world. We are a force to be reckoned with. We don’t mince words, and we are a country of action. We aren’t afraid to move beyond diplomacy if the situation calls for it. This is excellent for our national security interests. Our enemies need to take us seriously and respect our power.
North Korea is an perfect example. President Trump has started a fruitful dialogue with Kim Jong Un to reduce the danger of North Korea attacking the United States or other neighbors with intercontinental ballistic missiles, possibly giving up its nuclear weapons program, and opening up its country to new ideas. This progress is due in no small part to Trump’s direct threat to use force. He has turned mere words into action, and the Koreans have taken notice.
He also has a strong stance on Syria. When the Syrian government violated (to use Obama’s phrase) the “red line” against Syria’s use of chemical weapons, attacking its own citizens, Trump ordered strikes on a Syrian airbase. Again, rather than attempting a useless diplomatic effort, there was swift action.
Trump also impeded terrorism around the world. Most notably, the Islamic State has been significantly weakened and has been driven out of much of the territory they once controlled. Their strongholds have been eliminated. An example of this is his ordering of a strike in Afghanistan killing 36 Islamic State militants.
Trump has worked diligently to craft defense and trade deals which make sense for the United States. One key deal that stands out is NATO. For too long has the US been bearing the brunt of the financial obligations for the collective security of NATO nations. We essentially had been providing subsidized security and national defense to NATO countries. Financially and ethically, the arrangement just wasn’t fair. With Trump’s harsh words and subsequent renegotiation, there is a better balance now. Both the Obama and Bush administrations tried to do the same thing but were unsuccessful.
Another positive was Trump getting us out of the Iran nuclear deal. Not only was it ineffective at preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, but it also turned a blind eye to Iran’s support of international terrorism. It also didn’t prevent Iran from becoming an aggressive, major force expanding its rule into the Middle East– a dangerous force particularly to Sunni Muslims.
He’s also forced conversation with China that is long overdue. For decades China has been stealing intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies. This is not only theft, but unfairly removes competition for Chinese companies. Years of work by American companies that went into producing that intellectual property– years of research, testing, and development, end up in the hands of the Chinese should you want to do business there.
Reducing the Size of Government
President Trump has reduced the size and influence of the federal government in many ways. His tax cuts and requests from government agencies to reduce their budgets (and eliminating some agencies entirely) are shrinking the financial largesse of the government. Federal regulations have also been cut with his executive order which requires two regulations to be eliminated for every new rule implemented.
Change the Political Dialogue
Trump’s message and rhetoric have certainly been controversial. Regardless of where you fall, he has energized both Republicans and Democrats. The establishment of each base has changed significantly and both parties have dug their feet in.
His politics and personality have gotten a lot of people involved who might not otherwise be. Young voters have gotten charged up, again on both sides. The “forgotten” working-class men and women of the middle of the country like Rust Belt states, finally feel as though they have a voice and someone to advocate for them. He’s also shed light on the “coastal elites,” asking us to question the platforms and policies of our elected representatives. Do they benefit the average person, or do they benefit elites and special interest groups?
Challenge the Immigration Status Quo
Trump, through his controversy, has forced the country to address immigration in very different terms than it has previously. He ended DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and has put the issue of illegal immigration in front of Congress. He’s spurred a dialogue about border security and shed light on the fact that illegal immigration allows many undesirable things to flow through our border without our knowledge. Human traffickers and their victims, terrorists, criminals, and drugs just to name a few. He’s also shed light on crimes committed by illegal immigrants.