It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both – Niccolo Machiavelli
It certainly feels like 3 years since Donald J. Trump won the US Presidential election, even though he defeated Hillary Clinton just over 12 months ago.
A very strange reality for Americans and those of us observing from a safe distance overseas.
Trump has become the most covered, scrutinised, over analysed, despised and discussed person in modern political history: and he loves the attention.
Many of his doubters and enemies had hoped Trump would gradually mellow his usual braggadocio style when he became President. We knew from his inauguration speech – that was not going to happen.
But so far, who are some of the winners and losers during the Trump presidency?
- Donald J Trump – Petty. Stubborn. Juvenile in his personal attacks. Gaffe guzzler. Likes to compare himself to former President Andrew Jackson but acts more like Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson.
- Republicans in Congress – Hold the majority in both the House and the Senate but no clue on how to govern effectively.
- Bipartisan politics – Not happening for most Democrat and Republican elected officials under this president. Sad.
- Jeff Sessions, Attorney General – Seems overwhelmed by his role.
- Mainstream Political Journalism– Objective and balanced political journalism is over in the US. Even the BBC has abandoned its usual neutral stance to go 100% anti-Trump. The relentless fake news reporting is embarrassing. Glenn Greenwald sums up how sensational fake news is destroying political journalism in this article.
- Black and Hispanic senior appointments – Trump administration’s forgotten man and woman? Yes there’s Alex Acosta, Ajit Pai, Ben Carson, Jerome Adams. But any black judges nominated by Trump? Any black or Hispanic Ambassadors? As soon-to-be departed WH staffer, Omarosa Manigault Newman, said this week “It has been very, very challenging being the only African-American woman in the senior staff,….There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge.”
- Central America and Caribbean- Near neighbours but yet so far off the Trump radar – a. US no longer contributing to the Inter American Development Bank. b. Reversal of closer ties with Cuba. c. 50,000 Haitians affected by natural disasters to be deported from the US. d. Puerto Rico hurricane recovery debacle.
- Sub-Sahara Africa – Took the recent death of 4 US servicemen in Niger for any discussion on what is Trump’s US foriegn policy approach towards Africa. Whatever that is.
- Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort – key Trump campaign senior staff who have been Muellered!
- Lawyers – With countless political scandals, investigations, rulings and controversial policies sweeping Washington, the legal profession is having a profitable 2017.
- Steve Bannon, Briebart – His Lt Colombo act in influencing average Republicans is fading after the Roy Moore blunder.
- Donald J Trump – “President of the United States” – each morning he wakes up with that job title means he is still winning. Tough, direct and sets the news agenda most days. Still underestimated by many of his enemies.
- US economy – Has strengthened sharply under Trump’s watch. (Does Obama take some of the credit?)
- Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN – Her hawkish stance makes her a clear favourite to be the next Secretary of State and thereafter a prime candidate for next Secretary of State and eventually president. Her growing popularity must make Trump envious.
- Mainstream News Media – Their anti-Trump mantra and reporting is still doing wonders for ratings and readership. Are they and Trump in collusion ? E.g. Trump gives the impression he hates CNN. But who is the White House’s favourite political reporter? CNN’s Jim Acosta. The media knows covering just Trump is good for business.
- Heather Nauert, State Department Spokeswoman – Conducts her briefings with control, succinctness and modesty. Rarely makes any controversy which is the benchmark of an effective govt spokesperson.
- Robert Mueller, Special Counsel – The Trump administration’s kryptonite. Although stacking his team with Hillary donors has caste a shadow over the ‘independent’ approach to Russia collusion investigations.
- Hillary Clinton – There are US folks serving life sentences for cumulative minor offences such as stealing a candy bar. But Hillary the untouchable – when it comes to political corruption – is just simply above US law and she knows we know it.
- Far right groups– Such US and European groups are emboldened by what Trump says and tweets. Also these groups feel encouraged by his silence on certain issues. (Trump’s recent retweet of a UK right wing party’s anti Muslim postings made him look like a right berk.)
- Women in the Trump Administration– Little scandal, ego-free have been the likes Haley, Nauert, Kirstjen Nielsen, Elaine Chao and Linda MacMahon.
- The Anti-Trump Female Movement – The likes of Maxine Waters, April Ryan, Ana Navarro, Susan Collins, etc are now household names due their sustained anti-Trump leanings. Some whose bank balances has been enriched thanks to Trump.
- US Politics– Never before has US politics and politicians been so well known and covered across the globe. Folks in other countries know far more of what’s happening (or not) politically in the US than in their own state.
- Israel and Saudi Arabia – Trump’s anti-Iran stance has come as relief to both countries following the Iran deal. Both nations are flexing more muscle in region and even forming their own unusual alliance.
- China – While Trump champions an America first policy, China continues to consolidate their economic strength globally.
- US Late Night TV talkshows – Not since the days of George W Bush has a president being lambasted and ridiculed on late night tv. Another TV ratings bonanza.
- George W Bush – Thanks to Trump the George W Bush brand has had a positive upgrade in some liberal circles.
Trump’s mantra is “Make America Great Again” but what he’s achieved so far was to “Make America’s Politics Popular” across the entire globe.
Oh well, 3 more years of this to go. Could it really be 7?
“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” Machiavelli