Editor’s Note: This post was written by Cody Ingraham.
The transitioning of a new leader to fill the role of the American presidency is always a period filled with trials and tribulations. This is no different for President Trump and his administration as he grows into the role of the presidency. During his first month as president, Trump was applauded for several successes, including his clear pursuit of accomplishing some of the policy goals he noted in his campaign and ultimately rallying the support of his party to have successful cabinet nominations despite serious pushback. Trump’s early successes set him up to have advantageous opportunities during his first term, such as a unified legislature. Trump has also faced the challenge of low approval ratings. By looking at these opportunities and challenges, one can better understand and foresee what may lie ahead for the Trump presidency beyond the first 100 days.
Entering the White House with a unified government has offered a significant opportunity for President Trump to successfully pursue many of his policy goals. Many scholars have agreed that unified government leads to greater productivity and a quicker response rate from Congress in regards to policy. This is an asset to Trump as he works towards accomplishing some of his campaign promises. Since assuming the presidency, Trump has been successful in pushing some of his major campaign goals through both executive orders and setting Congress’ agenda for the coming session. One of the most prioritized issues of Trump’s agenda has been to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Thus far, Trump has been clear in pursuing this issue by signing a symbolic executive order which takes away the penalties for those who have decided not to enroll in a healthcare plan. This move was met with great approval from congressional Republicans who have been in discussions about whether to reform or completely remove Obamacare. Looking at other policy goals, such as the wall along the Mexican border and the travel restrictions on Islamic nations, further legislation seems like a realistic feat for Trump since he has a unified Republican government behind him supporting his policy goals.
In regards to approval ratings, Trump has had consistently low approval ratings, averaging in percentages between the mid-to-high forties. Protests regarding several of Trump’s most notable decisions, including travel restrictions on certain majority-Islamic nations, the appointment of Betsy DeVos, and the decision to continue the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, have all contributed to dissatisfaction with Trump’s presidency. This has led to actions which have delayed Trump’s aspirations, including multiple courts placing a legal stay on Trump’s travel restrictions.
Overall, President Trump will have some challenges to overcome, especially in light of the poor approval ratings he has been pulling. However, there are opportunities for him to be a successful president policy-wise, and hopefully, at some point, he will be able to appeal to the more skeptical Americans during his term.