Welcome to this week’s issues chat! We hope you will look out for our new podcast coming later this week. It discusses last week’s border wall article in much more depth. Look for our podcasts to be later in the week than these Tuesday articles when everything gets finalized. The podcast will be named No Man’s Land and can be found right here on The Volunteer Review website. With that out of the way, let’s dive right into the chat this week. Based on the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency, how much longevity does his political career have?
Will he be impeached before his first term ends, or is this the beginning of a ‘Trump dynasty’ similarly to the Bush’s? At the moment, we find ourselves only in the infancy of the Trump presidency, but that certainly won’t stop us from making outlandish predictions. And that, dear readers, is why they pay us the big bucks!
One and Done
By Shamus Fisk
President Trump’s approval ratings currently sit at a mind bogglingly low at a 44%. For a recently elected president, these are the lowest numbers since, well, people started determining approval ratings. You can blame the media, liberals, or a secret organization poised to end Trump’s time in the White House if you like. At the end of the day, it is simply a fact that the country is split in half when it comes to Trump. The future of Trump’s legacy in office depends on what he will acts upon first. He really needs a good start.
If President Trump does not raise his approval ratings significantly by the end of his term, he will likely not be reelected. The people will elect next, at least in my opinion, a POTUS with a radically divergent viewpoint from Trump after his first term. I do not believe Trump will be impeached. However, I find it highly improbable that he gains a second term, due to his incredibly far-right tendencies.
The next president could very well be an ‘orthodox’ Republican or Democrat. I see a far left nomination to balance the actions of Trump. Obviously, we cannot see the future, so in due time we will see if Trump becomes either a wildly popular Republican like Reagan or a lame duck like Jimmy Carter in his first term. Both possibilities remain on the table at this point.
Wreckers or Checkers
By Tayler Houston
Allow me to begin by bragging on Shamus as usual. We write these articles in stages. We pick a topic together, and he gets to pick his side. Then, he writes his half first, and I get the benefit of seeing his position before I write to better argue against it. We feel like this balances out the chat because he gets to choose the position first. Well, let me just say, this dude tells me his position every week then writes it in a way I never expect. My first argument never makes it to the page because Shamus always fools me with his reasoning. I appreciate the challenge of arguing against his very logical positions each week. I hope you all learn as much about these issues from his writing as I do.
Now, you may be wondering why I choose a NASCAR saying as my title. I see Trump as the ultimate win big or lose horrifically President. Regardless of my personal feelings about Trump, I will say that the man only does things his way. This will either work out extremely well for him or end in a complete Constitutional crisis that will see him move back into Trump Tower sooner rather than later.
The Winning Path
As Shamus pointed out, President Trump cuts such a divisive figure that it is hard to see the country ever coming to a consensus on his approval. However, a small increase in his approval rating could make a large difference in his chances for reelection. At this moment in history, Republicans hold a distinct advantage in the Electoral College due to population distribution. Over ten million more Americans voted for someone other than Trump than voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Despite this, he obviously won the Electoral College in a landslide. The same thing could happen in 2020 if Trump can just get his approval ratings up slightly. He also would need the Democratic nominee to struggle to turn out swing state minorities like Hilary Clinton did. If Trump can mellow out just enough to ever so slightly widen his base, he could win another Electoral College landslide.
The previous paragraph represents the absolute best case scenario for all you Trump supporters out there. This paragraph likely represents the worst. If the first two weeks of Trump’s presidency showed us anything, it’s that he truly does not care how much backlash his policies receive. There have been near constant protests for the 17 days Trump has been in charge, and he is yet to back off a single position! The resolve alone is incredible. As the approval ratings and popular vote totals show, he is a wildly unpopular president at this juncture. The low approval ratings mean an electoral loss is likely. The more worrying part for Trump fans should be the fact that he already finds himself in a brewing Constitutional crisis.
The infamous travel ban causes new problems for the Trump administration each day. A federal judge has ruled the Executive Order unconstitutional. Trump criticized the sitting judge and vowed to fight the ruling. He is complete within his rights to do so, but the criticism (not the appeal) of the judge looks bad. He is not scoring any political points in the situation. These dust ups will only make it that much harder to get his cabinet members confirmed and Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.
I find it easy to imagine a scenario where Trump continues these petty fights with all sorts of government officials and loses what political capital he possesses. In such a scenario, I believe Trump gives up. Nothing about his personality suggests he will tough it out. I imagine him resigning and turning the country over to Mike Pence if he finds himself in too many political fights. President Trump shows too much impatience to govern a country that grinds to a halt.