Final Thoughts on First 100 By Luke Perry
The Trump presidency has been a tale of two perspectives. 40 percent of Americans who approve of the job he is doing believe he is well suited to represent them and bring much needed change to this country. Oneida County, New York, where I live, is comprised of many of these people as Trump won 58 percent of the vote in 2016. The next three plus years will illuminate how well the president truly understands rural and Rustbelt life, and whether or not he possesses the vision and abilities to make this part of America great again.
The 55 percent of Americans who disapprove of President Trump constitute a minority locally, but a majority nationally. Concerns are twofold: policy and personal. Democrats disagree with most of Trump’s policy prescriptions as Republicans did under President Obama. The personal dimension is different. Many liberals can never see themselves supporting anything this president does because of his bullying, dishonesty, and sexism.
For now, Trump is best understood as a storm of contradictions. “Contradictions” is not employed pejoratively. Trump is genuinely a complicated and confusing president.
The campaign has been long over, yet Trump continues to hold campaign style rallies in states he narrowly won.
Trump is hardworking, staying up late into the night with his family in New York, yet spends many weekends golfing at one of his country clubs.
Trump is a captivating celebrity, attracting public attention like few other presidents, yet most Americans disapprove of his job performance.
Trump declared war on the media, yet consumes broadcast media unlike any of his predecessors.
Trump’s policy views are often more flexible than his party, yet he has been extraordinarily unwavering in certain areas, including immigration and environmental deregulation.
Trump very much understands himself as “the boss,” yet has delegated extraordinary responsibility to the Vice President, Congressional leaders, and military leaders.
Trump is a proven deal maker, yet hasn’t been able to get the GOP on board to signature campaign promises, from building the wall to repealing Obamacare.
Trump is a populist who has upended conventional norms in his party and American politics, yet is old, wealthy, straight, white, and male; the demographic core of Republicans.
Trump is the first president from New York since Franklin Roosevelt, yet could not differ more in terms of politics, temperament, approach, and accomplishment.
Trump’s First 100 Days were marked by historic unpopularity, no major pieces of legislation, and a transactional leadership style uniquely testing the idea that government would be better off if run like a business.
The Political Scientist in me remains fascinated that a political novice is president. With each month and each year, President Trump’s experience will grow, and his record will more clearly speak for itself.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College.