Donald Trump is the president and, to paraphrase Bette Davis, fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Like many of you, I was surprised (but not shocked) that Trump was elected president. Think of the millions of women, for example, who ignored his boorish behavior and voted for him. He would not have been elected otherwise.
At the same time, as a moderate, I accept the fact that he is president and am hopeful that he will be an effective one. No charges of “illegitimate” here, which seems like a partisan political tactic to rally the anti-Trump forces.
The Progressive Left is, of course, apoplectic about the Trump presidency, but the Progressive Left is often stunned when others don’t fall right in line with their perspective.
Trump won the presidency by the rules of electoral politics that are in place today. No, he did not win the popular vote, but he won the Electoral College comfortably, 304-227, with 270 votes needed for election.
His 43 percent of the vote trailed Hillary Clinton by some 3 million votes. But if you take out the three huge populous states of California, New York (both won easily by Clinton) and Texas (won easily by Trump) … Trump wins by 2.3 million votes and gets 65 percent of the electoral vote. That was one of the key concepts behind the much-maligned Electoral College — to keep the large states from overwhelming the smaller ones.
At a minimum, I suspect Trump will be good for business, which will be good for the economy, which will be good for America. When the economy is humming, the so-called rising tide lifts all boats.
While the Trump tenure may be turbulent, the fact is that history will ultimately be the judge of his performance. And as a history major, I think historians will have a decidedly mixed view of Trump’s immediate two-term predecessors — Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Both were unique winners – Obama a ground-breaking first African-American president with two national 50 percent-plus victories that spoke well of America. Bush represented only the second time the son of a previous president had been elected (John Quincy Adams was the son of John Adams.)
But as columnist Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal put it, Bush probably tried to do too much and Obama too little. Bush had an overly aggressive globalist view which created international problems, while Obama’s “leading from behind” attitude was just too passive, and also led to international problems. Both were certainly undermined by the political polarization of America in the 21st century that – to the extreme detriment of our country – has all but eliminated congressional give-and-take.
Now Donald Trump is in the Oval Office. He might be a terrific president. He might be a terrible president. Like so many before him, his legacy will probably revolve around how he responds to outside events that, try as he might, he has little or no control over.
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Dirk Q. Allen, one of our regular community contributors, is a former opinion page editor of the Hamilton JournalNews.