Donald Trump has a unique opportunity as president. His current low approval ratings suggest any successes as president will be strikingly memorable against many Americans’ low expectations.
When President Obama first met with outgoing president Bush, president-elect Obama had a net favorability rating of +50, whereas president Bush had a -39 job approval rating.
The Iraq war was the foremost taint on Bush’s legacy. Opposite Bush, Obama was a spry and witty charmer from Illinois that ran a campaign promising hope and change. He came into office when nearly the entire country was united against Bush’s war.
Democrats wanted to end that war and Republicans felt confident that — even though they opposed him — Obama would do right by the country. They believed he could be a good president and gave him that chance.
Every president is given certain leeway within their first hundred days in office.
They have the opportunity to set their legislative agenda, start delivering on their campaign promises, and govern to the best of their abilities.
With Trump’s upcoming administration the tables are now reversed regarding presidential mandates.
One may think this spells doom for Trump. After all the president can only do as much as the American people want. A president without the approval of his citizens is no more than a figurehead or traitor.
RealClearPolitics show President Obama’s job approval dipped into negatives during the Summer of 2013.
Until that point President Obama accomplished much of what he set out to do. He enacted healthcare reform, ended the war in Iraq, seemed to minimize corruption in Washington, among other campaign promises.
With those accomplishments came setbacks. A new war in Syria emerged that entangled the US, healthcare costs rose sharply, and domestic economic indices were tenuous at best.
It’s only in the current “sunset phase” of his presidency that Obama’s approval ratings became positive again. For better or worse, Americans are looking back at the Obama years and saying, “Hey, it wasn’t perfect, but we survived.”
This gives president-elect Trump a great advantage.
President Bush’s outgoing approval ratings were a dumpster fire. Americans couldn’t wait to get him out of office.
In 2008, Americans were experiencing the Great Recession. The country was a lot like this year’s Cleveland Browns: winless, full of despair, misery, and simply waiting for the season to mercifully end. Obama, in comparison, looked like 2007 Tom Brady: at the top of his game, always winning, and untouchable.
Tom Brady, in 2007, accomplished everything except for the grand prize in the Super Bowl. Much the same, Obama has accomplished much in his presidency, but his policies aren’t quite aging like fine wine. While Americans see Obama positively, they also see America as heading in the wrong direction.
Perhaps Trump is the change America is yearning for. With low expectations, given his favorability, he can only go up from here.
All Trump must do is build the wall, fix the healthcare situation, defeat ISIS, and drain the swamp, and his numbers will skyrocket.
If Trump accomplishes these goals and brings back American manufacturing, he will usher in a great American Renewal.
He met recently with people representing both parties and many ideologies. From Leonardo DiCaprio to Al Gore to Kanye West. It’s clear that Trump, like all good bosses, is willing to hear from multiple sides and angles before decision making.
By doing so, Trump chips away at the “Trump is Hitler” hallucination that inevitably comes when running for office as a Republican. It’s hard to maintain the hallucination given that despots meet with their enemies only to execute them.
Donald Trump is willing to go across the aisle to hear the other side, discuss, and come to amicable decisions where doable.
When our liberal American friends realize Trump is not Auschwitz incarnate, he will be gain more freedom to deliver on his promises. He only needs to gain the trust of the majority.
Unlike Obama, Trump’s standard presidential shortcomings will be received as a net positive. Obama came into the game with a damaged country and promised them the world. The unachievability of a nebulous campaign motto of “hope” was Obama’s double edged sword. It got him into office, but how do you achieve “hope?”
Trump’s motto is “Make America Great Again.” Is “great” as ambiguous as “hope” or is the promise of bringing America back to an undefined time when America was “great” achievable in the eyes of the public?
All Trump has to do is deliver on his promises, and should they have positive results, to the average American, this country will indeed be “great” again. For some, this is as easy as saying “Merry Christmas” in public without recourse.
The ironic reality is that Trump can fulfill Obama’s promise of “hope” by making the country great(er than today) while returning America back to her rightful place as dignified leader of the free world. A strong America.
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