Four years ago I placed a marker for President Trump. I recorded several indications of how our nation was doing and suggested that we could compare how we did in the last four years.
Interestingly, President Trump did well in several of them. Looking at the stock market we’ve seen increases in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (19,732 to 30,930), the NASDAQ (5540 to 13,197), and Standard and Poors (2263 to 3748). Despite the volatility of employment over the last year, the unemployment average rose from 4.7% to 6.7%. And the number of Americans employed rose from 123,570,000 to 158,130,000.
On the other hand his approval rating has dropped from 38% to 34% (it never hit 50%). The federal deficit rose from $590 billion to $3.3 trillion while the federal debt rose from $20 trillion to $27 trillion. The percentage of Americans was 11% and I was not able to find the current percentage.
The failure of the Trump Administration was, in the end, not economic. Here are my thoughts on why his administration failed:
- He wasn’t able to keep several of his promises: His 2016 campaign centered on building a wall on the Mexican border (and have Mexico pay for it). While there has been some building, the wall he promised never happened and Mexico didn’t pay a penny (or peso). He promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something cheaper and better. He was unable to repeal it and never developed a better plan. He promised coal miners that he would “bring back coal” and that never happened. He promised to “win” a trade war with China that did nothing more than impoverish farmers who suffered from China’s retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods.
- Many Americans grew weary of his lies: He lied about things that were obvious. He claimed that more people attended his inauguration than did President Obama’s in 2012. He claimed that he would have won the popular vote in 2016 were it not for illegal votes. Whenever asked about white supremacists or organizations who supported him he claimed to know nothing about them (e.g. David Dukes or the Proud Boys). Lying is always dicey but having to explain to your children that it’s not OK to lie when the President does makes for difficult conversations
- Democratic voters were too complacent in 2016 and vowed not to make that mistake again: Many of us never expected that our nation would elect Donald Trump. We scorned him during the Republican primary and expressed surprise that he won the nomination and we never expected he would beat Hilary Clinton. Enough Democrats didn’t bother to vote, falsely thinking their votes weren’t needed. Chastened by that experience they made certain it wouldn’t happen again
- COVID-19: This probably made the most difference. President Trump made a point of ignoring the wisdom of his predecessors and that included a playbook for a possible viral infection. The Obama administration successfully battled Ebola in 2014 and learned a great deal about global pandemics. Their hope to pass their wisdom to treat the next pandemic fell on deaf ears and when COVID-19 showed up on our shores the Trump administration had no plan. He attempted to blame the Chinese (hoping this would solve it), insisted that it won’t last long, and argued that wearing face masks were not necessary. Meanwhile thousands of Americans fell ill, died, or grieved loved ones who died. President Trump’s decision to ignore COVID convinced many Americans that he was no longer trustworthy to lead our nation.
Since his defeat in November he has shown himself to be far from a gracious loser. Two weeks ago we saw him ignite an assault on the US Capitol.
We can only hope that Americans from future generations learn the lessons of history and never again elect someone who has such disregard for our nation.