Wednesday, February 20, 2019
By subverting conventions to a degree no recent president came close to matching, Trump has forced Americans to reassess their policy priorities and reaffirm their values and freedoms, in the process strengthening democracy in the US. Trump's presidency is causing Americans to take a harder look at what they expect from their government. Some of the ways in which this is happening are very subtle, but important, and will ultimately have a positive impact on American democracy.
Trump's presidency is waking up Americans, including those in Congress, to the ills of unopposed expansion of executive power. Already, members of Congress, including some from his own party, are speaking out against his use of emergency powers, a manifestation of a more assertive Congress that is finally stepping back to the plate.
Trump's presidency is also fostering greater electoral participation, helping to establish a government more representative of the nation's changing demographics.
Ironically, these phenomena came about as a response to widespread anger directed at the administration and the president himself; it is unlikely that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have resulted in similar results in the 2018 midterms. The net impact of Trump's presidency may have a more far-reaching, positive impact on the legislative branch, and thus American policy, than would have been experienced if anyone else occupied the White House.
Many presidents have had tense relationships with the media, including Barack Obama. Yet it has taken repeated abuses of the press by Trump, including bullying of individual journalists and newspapers, and repeated calls of "fake news" and "enemy of the people" for renewed support to grow for journalists and freedom of the press.
In short, Trump has placed a mirror in front of America and forced it to take a hard look and reassess how it values itself as a people and a nation.
This last point is further illustrated through Trump's foreign policy it is about time America asked its allies to do more, or to at least meet the requirements set in alliance agreements. The US should not have to be the world's policeman, especially if it is not being paid to do so.
Yes, Trump is a controversial president, but he is also the president that America needs right now. The world is changing, just as the US is changing. The strategic, economic and societal realities of 2019 are much changed from those of 20 years ago.
Trump did not cause these changes, which have been festering quietly for decades. It may be surprising to find that only through a non-conventional president like Trump are Americans able to acknowledge, and ultimately confront, these new realities.
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