Editor’s Note: This post was written by Courtney Rafus.
President Trump focused his campaign on several major issues of concern to the people of the United States, and thus far he seems to be attempting to keep many of his promises through the use of the executive orders. Leaving aside the inherent issues with the broad use of the executive order, including, of course, the exclusion of the legislative branch from its constitutionally established role of acting to pass legislation after appropriate deliberation, the new president will have many challenges ahead, but with those challenges also come many opportunities.
There are many people who would not perceive the attitude of the mainstream media toward the administration as an opportunity for Donald Trump. However, I believe that the media presents just such an opportunity. Trump has been able to get the media to follow him no matter how they feel about him. He dominates every news cycle. He is able to “control” the media coverage, by simply refusing to act in the traditionally accepted way toward the press, and thus makes them cover stories based on what he chooses, often through his tweets. Now that Trump is the president, he consistently tweets any and all of his thoughts and opinions, which become the “news”, rather than going through “normal channels”. For the first time in recent memory, a president has created a way to effectively go over the heads of the media and communicate directly with the American people. Through his Twitter feed, the president is able to release major news, and put his spin on it, before the media has the opportunity to determine how to spin it. Being able to bypass the normal media channels is not necessarily a bad thing. The majority of Americans look to social media to get their news, rather than waiting and watching news outlets for hours to find out what is going on. With just a couple of clicks, Americans have information at their fingertips. Through his tweets, Donald Trump is able to reach more people, much faster. Additionally, because he is known to tweet without filtering his thoughts, many wait for his Twitter to update, just to see what he’s going to say next. Clearly, though, the spur of the moment revelation of a president’s every opinion can present significant difficulties in establishing policy positions for the United States government.
Donald Trump’s lack of political experience worries many Americans, making it one of his biggest challenges. Many of Trump’s cabinet nominees also have limited political experience. During his campaign, he vowed that he was going to “drain the swamp”. However, the “swamp”, meaning the political elite, is large and has an interest in not allowing an outsider to drain it. The choices President Trump made for his cabinet are an attempt to get away from the normal politician types that have swirled about Washington for generations, and replace them with non-traditional business-minded people to get things done. However, that thought process does not make many Americans any less uneasy.
There is no doubt that there are many challenges and opportunities that President Trump, and his administration, will face in the next four years. There were many promises that were made along the campaign trail, some of which he has already attempted to keep. I believe that the opportunities that face President Trump are enormous, but as with any other president, opportunities bring challenges. No president is ever able to get his entire agenda through, but how much a president can accomplish, and the level of success of their policies, determine how successfully they are viewed in history.