Editor’s Note: This post was written by Natalie Weaver.
The new Trump Administration is unique in many ways. This means that they will have opportunities and face challenges that are different than in most past administrations.
One example is that Trump’s presidency is unique because of his increased use of social media for politics. President Trump has already shown that he will be more active on Twitter than previous presidents, which means that information that he wants Americans to know will be fast and easy to access. In addition, everyday Americans are increasing their use of social media all the time. This is significant because, with the increase in social media use, people are also posting about politics online more frequently. Although social media oftentimes can contribute to laziness when it comes to research, it can also make people want to participate in politics more. Kim, Chen, and Wang state, “Smartphone technology plays a positive role in increasing citizens’ participatory behaviors, particularly through mobile phone use for news/information and mobile-mediated political discussion.” Democrats and Republicans have never been more polarized. Voters tend to either very strongly support President Trump or very strongly oppose him, with little in between. This could present an opportunity for President Trump’s administration to actuate more political participation by the citizens of the United States. Although the increase in political activity associated with using various forms of social media has greater effects on people who are well-educated than people who are not, this is still a great opportunity for the Trump administration to create more willing participants in political activities such as voting, protesting, petitioning and calling government representatives with concerns and opinions.
A challenge that President Trump and his administration will face is his stance on foreign policy. He tends to favor a more isolationist approach when it comes to foreign policy and he does not value alliances with other countries as highly as many other politicians do. He particularly does not favor alliances or friendly relationships with Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Because of his inexperience in government, President Trump does not fully understand the value of having allies. Richard Bush uses the past to explain why alliances are still important, stating that “the United States could best protect itself by establishing an active forward presence on both ends of the Eurasian landmass… Forward deployment of military forces not only pre-positioned the capabilities needed for warfighting if war should ever come, but also enhanced deterrence by sharpening.” It is important to have alliances in order to avoid armed conflict in the first place, not just to have people on America’s side during times of war. Another area of foreign policy that President Trump does not understand is that alliances do not cost America as disproportionately as he believes. Bush states, “Objective data show that Korea and Japan each cover around half of the direct costs of the presence of U.S. forces in their countries. To take the forces we currently deploy in Japan and Korea and base them back in the United States probably would not save any money and certainly would make war fighting harder.” Doing away with alliances and peaceful relationships with other countries would not be the best decision for America in the long run. However, if President Trump can be advised by other people in his cabinet of the importance of maintaining peaceful relationships and alliances with other countries, this problem could be avoided.