Wednesday, 21 December 2016

President Trump will have worryingly little opposition

There is just less than one month to go until Donald Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States. Many Americans are relying on the system of checks and balances outlined in the US constitution and other forms of scrutiny to protect their civil rights. Also, to prevent Trump from implementing any of the regressive policy ideas he discussed in the campaign. However, I don’t think Trump is going to face many significant obstacles when making any kind of decision as President.

The Republicans have maintained their majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, making it far easier for Trump to pass legislation – a luxury that Obama only had for two of his eight years.

During the campaign, many Republican Senators refused to endorse Trump however, like almost everything said in the campaign, many are retracting their defiant comments. Now there is a Republican in the White House, they have a chance to make real differences. Congressmen and Senators have nothing to lose by working with Trump; every Trump victory is a victory for them so the Republicans are in a win-win situation.

Supreme Court
Obama spent the last year of his presidency trying to appoint a Liberal by the name of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court following the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016. Due to Republicans refusing to schedule a hearing for Garland in the Senate, Obama was unsuccessful in his appointment attempt. Trump, on the other hand, should face no problems appointing a Conservative to the court. From what he has said in interviews recently, the judge will likely be pro-life and anti-gay marriage.

It is also likely that Trump will get the chance to appoint further justices to the Supreme Court over the course of his term. The Liberal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Conservative-leaning Anthony Kennedy are both over 80 years-old. Given the opportunity, Trump will be able to upset the current balance of the Supreme Court and make it lean conservative.

The media industry is currently going through a fake news crisis which is undermining the credibility of even respectable titles. Most of the fake news that goes viral on social media comes from Conservative leaning sources.

Furthermore, Trump supporters are very sceptical of mainstream media. A national Quinnipiac University poll in October revealed that 55% of likely voters said that they think the media is bias against Trump. Furthermore, Trump has spent the last few weeks tweeting almost endlessly about the bias of the mainstream media.

In the past, the media has had the means to sway public opinion and scrutinise decisions with some weight however nowadays there appears to be a larger trend in people only reading news that they want to believe. Trump is subtly encouraging this because it works in his favour.

Foreign Policy
With regards to foreign policy, Presidents are not subject to the same checks and balances that they are with domestic policy. For example, Trump can press the ‘nuclear button’ or order a military intervention (like what was seen in Vietnam and Iraq) without running it through Congress first. With rumours that the transition from Obama to Trump is chaotic and RealClearPolitics’ Simendinger and Caitlin Huey-Burns describing Trump’s cabinet as “loyalists”, Trump’s ability to make educated and thought-out decisions in times of crisis will be undoubtedly compromised.

There is a well-known phrase in the politics sphere that goes “you can’t do anything in opposition”. Sadly, for the Democrats and liberal media, that is even more true in a time when some opposition - any opposition - would be beneficial for democracy and the future of the US.