Can’t Be Stumped – Angus Brown, Year 12

Hypothetical reflections on the first term of the Trump Presidency

With Hilary Clinton’s announcement that she will, once again, run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States the campaign season for the 2020 presidential election has officially begun. Despite opposition in his first run, it seems likely that the GOP bosses will pressure the party into allowing President Trump to run for the nomination almost entirely uncontested, so far only Rand Paul the elusive Libertarian Kentucky senator has announced that he will run against America’s most controversial – and some would say disastrous – President in decades. But as the 2019/2020 campaign kicks off, let’s see how far things have gone over the course of Trump’s presidency.

After a not all too shocking victory in his party’s nomination, Mr Trump seemed likely to lose to the (now largely forgotten) Democrat candidate, Bernie Sanders, who had narrowly beaten Clinton to the nomination. However, a number of factors played in Mr Trump’s favour, although the largest was probably the Washington Monument bombing just two weeks before the actual election. Sanders’ erring on how to deal with the issue of Islamic terrorism caused a huge dip in his polling numbers and ultimately allowed President Trump to soar to victory.

He seemed likely to win the presidential election despite mass protests by Muslim, Latino, and Democrat supporting Americans in Washington DC. After it was briefly floated, by the fringes of the Democratic and Republican parties, that the Electoral College simply ignore Mr Trump and his Vice President (Mrs Palin) and vote faithlessly for the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to be President, Trump demanded a review by the Supreme Court. The plot was ruled unconstitutional, and Mr Trump moved seamlessly from nominee to president elect after his electoral victory.

Very few presidents (save perhaps President Jefferson) have been the victims of such convoluted plots to dethrone them before they could even take office, and the resulting paranoia probably informed parts of the administrations later actions. When Trump assumed office the country was deeply divided, and many who had voted for Trump out of fear already regretted their decision as he introduced increasingly extreme potential policies on how to deal with the “Muslim Radical Problem”. For the first time since Clinton there was serious talk in Congress of impeaching the President.

This was forgotten during the brief “Kiev Crisis”, in which pro Russian rebels in the capital briefly seized power over the country. Congress passed a number of acts which strengthened the power of the President and doubled the funding and powers of the National Security Agency, eventually going as far as to place it under the control of the Secretary of State directly – and thus under the control of the President. Many in Trump’s own party were angered by these actions, but no arrangement could be made to impeach the President, especially since he was rising in the polls once again.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Trump Presidency has been the international reaction; the decision to elect Trump to the presidency was largely condemned by foreign leaders, most notably President Hollande of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany respectively. Whilst their nations originally did not want to fracture the web of alliances that held them, Trump’s decision to send ground troops into Israel to support Israeli efforts to occupy the West Bank (notably done by executive order rather than with congressional approval), led to France, Germany and the Netherlands withdrawing from NATO. The United Kingdom despite being one of the USA’s principal allies condemned the actions in the United Nations, and participated in a joint effort to assemble a peace keeping force to prevent conflict in the region.

Domestically, Donald Trump’s attempts to ID every Muslim American was also somewhat successful, but proved incredibly unpopular with most citizens not terrified of perceived terrorist threats. The International Court of Justice quickly issued a statement declaring this to be a racist action and a violation of Muslim Citizens’ human rights. The “Border Defence Act” was also passed and, despite failing to get Mexico to pay for it, Trump went ahead with the construction of a border wall to prevent the entry of Mexicans. This action would haunt his presidency.

The first sign of mass discontentment was a meeting of Californian Democrats in the “Sacramento Convention” where they spent a week debating the possibility of Californian secession from the United States. They resolved to poll the people of the state on the issue, and found the result inconclusive, but extremely tight. The second meeting of the convention, after days of impassioned discussion, narrowly voted against the action but support for secession has risen to the point where a clear majority of Californians would willingly support it if President Trump wins re-election.

This fed the President’s paranoia further, and he was able to persuade Congress to pass the “Loyalty Act” allegedly to counter secession in which members of state legislatures and state governors would have to make an oath of loyalty to the Federal Government specifically, not just the United States. A Supreme Court attempt to rule this unconstitutional was halted after Vice President Palin publicly suggested that the President could simply pack the court if he needed to.

On top of all of this, recent data has suggested that income inequality has worsened significantly in the USA since President Trump assumed office, and his deregulatory policies seem very unlikely to help with this. Further data suggests that gun crime has gone up significantly. Finally, hate crime figures show that the number has increased by one hundred and thirty percent since Trump assumed office and began his anti-Muslim propaganda campaigns, and hatred between different ethnic groups is higher than it has been since the end of segregation.

The only thing that many think could go worse for President Trump is if Senator Rubio follows up on requests by some Republicans for him to lead a breakaway faction against President Trump. Whilst he laughed off the initial requests Mr Rubio has been suspiciously silent since, and some claim he is planning to make a third party run against Mr Trump if he secures the party’s nomination. The USA may be about to enter the most crucial election cycle in its history, and one whose results could see states secede for the first time since the 19th century. Exciting times.

One thing is certain…we’ll all remember President Donald J. Trump.

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