Individual accountability, love of country, respect for the law and its rule,
belief in a superior transcendental order, embrace of a free enterprise system,
and the understanding that freedom is the most cherished natural right,
were the moral guidelines behind the 45th president’s policies.
Donald J. Trump is now officially a former president. History will show that his stewardship of America was seminal for many reasons. The paradigm shift that began its consolidation in 2016, for which Trump deserves great credit, was a 21st reaffirmation of the values and beliefs of American exceptionalism. This national renaissance was a de facto repudiation of an internationalist (or globalist) worldview that took hold among democracies following World War II and was later accentuated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The economy was the most important aspect, setting aside foundational ideological and anthropological tenets that surrendered culture to savvy intellectual social engineers of a Marxist persuasion. Liberals and conservatives of the Old Right alike eventually became enjoined by socialists for strategical purposes in the world market stage, despite having unequal ethical credentials.
There is a morality to every political course. Trump followed a path aligned with America’s innate idiosyncratic principles that precede the American Revolution and are best understood in the Declaration of Independence and the fundamental route which followed and made the United States the freest and prosperous country in the world. Individual accountability, love of country, respect for the law and order, belief in a superior transcendental order, embrace of a free enterprise system, and the understanding that freedom is the most cherished natural right, were the moral guidelines behind the Trump agenda.
Here is what the empirical evidence tells us.
The Trump economy witnessed the highest level of growth for any one-term president. It was not just the absolute numbers in the augmented size of the nation’s goods and services, measured by the accepted indexes. This was an economic boom that most benefitted the working middle class and the lower-income stratum of the population, quantified in percentages. There were clear causes for this successful policy. It is attributable principally to the simultaneous implementation of three strategies: (1) Passing the highest tax reduction package coupled with a reformulation of the tax code; (2) unleashing the American economy by dismantling a massive regulatory apparatus that stifled growth and innovation; (3) and abiding by the precept of economic nationalism which corrected abusive pacts and commercial practices which hurt working-class Americans, particularly those without a college degree and disincentivized multinational companies from making America their base.
Similar to other presidents such as Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, tax cuts were implemented. The objective was to grow the economy, generate wealth for society and expand revenues for the state, by way of enlarging the economic pie. Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the largest tax reform package in American history, was a key reason for the enormous economic success of his administration. The $3.2 trillion in tax relief sparked a level of wealth generation unseen in years. Concurrently and in total complementation, an aggressive deregulation policy was placed in force.
For every new regulation, eight were eliminated. This was unprecedented and comparable only to Reagan’s presidency. Trump’s removal of close to 25,000 pages of the Federal Registrar, the most by any president, resulted in savings for the average American family of about $3,100 per year. The Obama administration alone added over 16,000 pages of burdensome regulations. Once fully implemented, if the Trump deregulatory machine holds on, it is currently forecasted to save consumers and businesses over $220 billion per year.
A policy of economic nationalism focused on amending and/or renegotiating trade deals, the use of (or threat of using) tariffs as leverage to open foreign markets to American products, utilizing the revenues generated by tariffs levied and fomenting a more hospitable tax and regulatory climate for businesses and investors in America. This path quickly led to the repatriation of over $1.2 trillion from abroad. Here is what this all translated into for American society, because of Trump’s economic triad of tax cuts/reform, deregulation, and economic nationalism. The results for Americans were outstanding.
In every metropolitan area in the United States, income rose for the first time in over 30 years. It was double the growth during the Obama government. Blue-collar and low-income workers, under Trump’s economy, saw their wages rise the fastest with a 16% pay increase. Middle-class family income jumped to over $6,000, which is over five times the amount during Obama’s tenure. The Dow Jones rose above 20,000 for the first time in 2017 and by 2020, it was above 30,000. Enormous wealth was generated. However, it was the bottom 50% of American households who witnessed a galloping 40% increase in net worth. This compounded into the largest poverty reduction program in 50 years. Over four million Americans left that stratum between 2018 and 2019.
With the creation of 7 million new jobs and the highest number of people participating in the workforce, nearly 160 million, there were more jobs available than people available to work for over 40 straight months. It is expected that record-low unemployment rates would ensue this colossal job making economy. With an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, a 50-year low was set. In accordance with the focus of this economic strategy, black, Hispanic, Asian, women, and Native Americans, as well as veterans, people with disabilities, and those without a high school diploma, evidenced record low unemployment rates. In comparison with the dismal Obama record, jobs under Trump returned 23 times faster.
Two other factors weighed in favorably in making this blue collar, middle class economic boom possible. The deep regulatory ambience and the capitalizing of America’s full energy potential placed the United States, for the first time in over 70 years, as a net energy exporter topping the world’s list. This saved the average American family about $2,500 a year in lower electricity and gas prices. Trade deals, whether dropped, renegotiated, or newly started, favored strongly American workers, especially in the manufacturing, agricultural, construction and other related sectors.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), the reformulation of America’s trade relationship with China, the active engagement with the European Union and Japan to promote much-needed reforms in the World Trade Organization, as well as strides with other world trade partners, did not just protect American jobs, but made space for new openings that saw production levels increase, as well as the already mentioned wage scales. Cracks in the old NAFTA agreement that benefitted China at the peril of American, Mexican, and Canadian workers, found loopholes in the USMCA. Under the new agreement, the requirement that 75% of the vehicle parts having to be made within the three countries terrain, denied China the roll it had enjoyed as a profiteer.
It is important to note that the Trump economy was able to sustain this impressive expansion without generating a high level of inflation. The four-year average for the 45th president’s tenure was 1.75% (2017-2020). If one were to exclude the deflation year of 2020 due to the communist China virus, the three-year figure would still be low at 2.13% (2017-2019).
On a national level, there were huge improvements. Let us consider healthcare. Prescription drug prices were lowered for the first time in 51 years. By adding approximately 2100 new Medicare Advantage plan options, American seniors enjoyed greater healthcare alternatives with this 76% increase. Opioid prescription fillings were greatly reduced and, consequently, drug overdose deaths fell across the country in 2018, for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Trump’s impact on the judiciary cannot be understated. A total of 230 federal judges were nominated and confirmed. Nearly a third of the entire appellate judicial bench, with the confirmation of 54 judges in the United States courts of appeal, was achieved. It was also the first time in 40 years that all vacancies of the court of appeals were filled. The nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court, expanded its conservative majority by Trump’s three appointments.
On the environment, which the liberal media has largely ignored, the Trump record can claim enormous success. The withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, in addition to having been a seminal economic (and national security) choice, allowed American technological ingenuity and private property focus, placing the United States in the privileged spot of having the greatest reduction of carbon emissions of any country. As a result of the sharp drop in emission pollutants, air quality, between 2017 and 2019, became 7% cleaner. The state of America’s water is two times cleaner than when Trump took office. In fact, in three and a half years, the water quality improvement surpassed Obama’s eight-year results. The Environmental Protection Agency, in 2019, cleaned more major pollution sites than had been done in almost 20 years. Echoing Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation-minded engagement, Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act secured the single largest investment in America’s national parks and public lands in history.
Two things must be said about Donald Trump’s presidency to fully appreciate his achievements in foreign affairs. Firstly, he proved to be a loyal and ardent anti-communist. The second factor was his clear understanding of the horrific danger of radical Islam and of the terrible disorder that his predecessor caused in the Middle East, by favoring Shia fundamentalism and the Iranian regime over more moderate Sunni governments. The defense of the American way of life and its democracy was the engine that put into action his plan of national sovereignty dominance. In other words, he believed in putting America First and addressing threats to the nation’s security.
Trump was the first president to identify and address, head-on, the gravestthreat since the Soviet Union: communist China. The West’s course of coexistence, engagement, and commercial bonding with Chinese communism, which was the result of Richard Nixon’s initiation in 1972, produced a monster that through asymmetric means pillaged the American working class and more importantly, has grown to be a direct threat to the Free World. Trump has fought powerful interest groups, business lobbies, politicians, and a whole class of oligarchic techno elitists every step of the way in this crusade to reformulate Sino-American relations. The pandemic malice exported from state facilities in Wuhan unveiled a dangerous dependency by America on China of certain salient products. Trump’s lonely pilgrimage to raise consciousness and prompt action against the Red Chinese menace is today more crowded thanks to his persistence.
In the Western Hemisphere, Trump understood nature and threat of continental socialism and how its power structure was layered. Masterfully recognizing Castrocommunism’s historic role in Marxist subversion throughout Latin America, it reversed most of the infamous Obama overtures to the Castro regime. Similar action followed in the case of Maduro’s Venezuela; a satellite state controlled by Havana. The intent of capital deprivation to terrorist regimes highlighted a moral imperative, as well as a tactical maneuver, that had not been seen under the previous American presidency. The Sandinista regime in Nicaragua feared a similar fate. It is not a coincidence that the Marxists of the world, are celebrating the change of government in Washington.
The landscape of the Middle East changed dramatically over the course of Trump’s presidency. The ISIS caliphate, the same one that Obama insisted could not be eliminated, was defeated. This reflected a 180-degree change in military strategy that through effective bombing, and smart-tech operations, this barbaric Suni fundamentalist movement was erased from the map. In Syria, the brutal Assad regime may still be in power, however, their use of chemical weapons against civilians was curbed, as a result of the military might that fell upon them, under Trump’s orders.
America’s abandonment of the Iran Nuclear Deal, coupled with the imposition of sanctions aiming to frustrate the regime’s attempt to build nuclear weapons, was both an ethical statement, as well as a formidable practical strategy. The greatest threat of radical Islam on the world comes from Iran. Trump did well in impeding the Ayatollah dictatorship from so continuing the path to nuclear proliferation.
The approach most commonly taken by American presidents in trying to secure peace agreements between Israel in the Arab world, involved the issue of Palestine and placed it at the center of the equation. This was not the case with Trump, who took a different course. Instead of focusing on the Palestinian Authority, moderate Arab states were directly encouraged to foster warmer relations with Israel. The result of these brokered historic peace agreements has been peace agreements between Israel and three Arab Middle Eastern nations, with five others expressing interest in establishing normalized relations with the Jewish state. This proved that the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, as Trump predicted, would not impede harmony in the region.
As important as all the Trump policy initiatives in the economic and foreign relations realms were, it was in the cultural sphere where he best served the nation. The left’s siege on America was well positioned by the time Trump won the 2016 election. Cultural Marxism’s elongations such as Critical Race Theory, Critical Queer Theory, Gender Ideology and Critical Feminist Theory had slowly made headway since the late 1970’s, picked up great steam following the fall of Soviet communism, where academia by way of Critical Theory Studies, became Marxism’s last recalcitrant bastion in that moment.
Unfortunately, this resulted in the hegemonic takeover of most institutions of higher education and with-it, greater receptivity to Marxist worldviews by graduates. It was when Obama, a true believer in the class struggle mentalization, was elected president, that socialist cultural hegemony was promoted, not just from epicenters of mass and social media, but from the actual seat of government. Trump with his election victory became the bulwark that stood between leftism and the American Creed.
An executive order conditioning federal funds on the protection of free speech at public universities was just one example of how Trump defended the First Amendment. Religious freedom, another First Amendment right, was prioritized. Trump issued guidance for schools that insisted upon the fact that it was unconstitutional for any public learning center to prohibit the free exercise of religion within its space. By originating the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the United States brought nations together in the common goal of stopping religious persecution in the world.
Trump also promoted the sanctity of life. Without a doubt, he was of the most emphatically pro-life presidents in history. Using a myriad of legal instruments and strategies, he made use of this authority to limit, discourage, or prohibit the public funding of abortion and reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy. Trump made sure that people working in the medical, educational, and faith-based enterprises were protected from following policies that clashed with their conscious and religious beliefs.
The teaching of Critical Race Theory in the Federal Government, one of Obama’s projects, was discontinued. Instead, Trump sought to relive a 21st version of the American civic courses taught in grade school to promote American values. The 1776 Commission was a signature Trump project, established with the expressed purpose of fostering patriotic education. In line with that, a National Garden of American Heroes, one of his last testaments to preserve American history and popular figures, was signed by executive order just days before leaving the White House.
Trump’s presidential record must be his greatest personal achievement. To think that all this was accomplished, despite a continuous war against him and an insidious pandemic, is amazing. Different than other political figures who leave the public setting after convincingly losing an election or retiring, Trump has left with the unanswered questions that remain when an election process, given the unusual circumstances, innately displayed an abundant share of anomalies, in places where the votes mattered the most. For around half the country, these unsettled questions lend to the idea that Trump may have yet another rendezvous with destiny.
Note: This data was obtained mainly from U. S. government sources such as U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor and Statistics, White House Economic Press Release, U. S. Treasury Department.
Julio M Shiling is a political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling.