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In 2016, Donald Trump launched his presidential career with the campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’, a populist and nationalistic nod to a past when globalisation was a myth and when white Americans still ruled the world.
With less than a year to go until the next presidential elections, Trump presented his reelection campaign in Florida to thousands of followers, announcing that his new campaign slogan would be ‘Keep America Great’, showing that his next potential term will be focused on maintaining what has been achieved so far.
In just 2019, Trump has made over 5748 false or misleading declarations, and has posted around 7270 tweets, the majority of which have been defamatory claims or personal attacks against his so called ‘enemies’, that have succeeded in attracting the attention of the media. His government has also taken around 70,000 migrant children to custody centres this year, and there has been around 394 mass shootings, according to NowThis Politics.
Despite these scandalous figures, his approval rating has remained relatively stable throughout 2019. According to the last Gallup poll, in November he had an approval rating of 43%. Among supporters of the Republican party, this was 90%, whilst 38% of independent voters were also pleased with his presidency until now.
But the controversy surrounding his presidency has not ceased, and now the country has been enveloped in a debate to impeach Trump due to inappropriate and potentially criminal conduct, after an attempt to manipulate the results of the next elections. What can we expect from Trump for next year? What could happen with the impeachment case?
2019 and Trump
President Trump has continuously proclaimed his satisfaction with his past year in government. In a recent speech, he assured that the US economy is the envy of the world: “perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country”.
But is it true that the US economy has improved in the past year? According to a report published by the New York Times, employment rates have increased in all states since Trump became president, and this year, this increase has remained stable.
The indicators demonstrate that the economy is strong, however, trade wars with Mexico and China, continuous tariff threats with Europe, and tensions in the Middle East have caused the Federal Reserve to maintain very low interest rates
The states with the largest increase in employment rates are Nevada and Utah, where figures have risen by more than 9%. There have also been important increases in the states of Texas, Florida and Arizona, which are vital swing states that often determine the results of presidential elections due to the weight of their electoral college.
The indicators demonstrate that the economy is strong, however, trade wars with Mexico and China, continuous tariff threats with Europe, and tensions in the Middle East have caused the Federal Reserve to maintain very low interest rates, and when this has occurred in the past, it has usually ended in recession.
Even if the US economy has been more stable during Trump’s presidency, during Obama’s government there were moments of much higher growth. What’s more, Trump’s economic policy of reducing welfare has caused a lot of suffering amongst the most vulnerable sectors of American society.
Although data for 2019 is not yet available, a report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that in 2018, 27.5 million US residents didn’t have health insurance, which represents an increase of 8.5% since the previous year.
This is hardly surprising given Trump’s numerous attempts to end Obamacare and weaken Medicaid, the Obama government’s programs that sought to provide health insurance to the most financially vulnerable of the country.
Another worrying phenomenon that we’ve seen under the Trump administration in 2019 is the sharp rise in mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this year has been the worst since they began collecting data in 2014. Until the 1st of December of this year, there were 385 mass shootings, and there were also 35,943 firearm related deaths.
The case of El Paso, Texas, the worst mass shooting of the year, was carried out against the Latin community by a man who shortly before had uploaded a white supremacist manifesto in which he claimed to fear the “great replacement”, the idea that the white race will be replaced by those from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Jeff Schoep, an ex-leader of a neo-Nazi group and current activist against radicalisation says that Trump’s political discourse regarding a “Latin invasion” in the US has empowered white supremacists to act in order to avoid this so called “replacement of the white race”.
His openly racist and xenophobic political discourse, although is not the main cause of the rise in white supremacist shootings, could very well be connected to this in a worrying way.
The debate surrounding impeachment
The Judicial Commision of the House of Representatives in the US approved two articles of impeachment against Trump last week for abuse of power in a case involving Ukraine, a vulnerable ally that is currently at war with Russia. Trump threatened to freeze millions of dollars in military assistance until they agreed to help him dig up dirt on his main political rival for the 2020 elections, Joe Biden.
When the conversation between Trump and the president of the Ukraine was leaked, Trump responded that a president shouldn’t have to answer for his actions nor justify them to the Legislature
When the conversation between Trump and the president of the Ukraine was leaked, Trump responded that a president shouldn’t have to answer for his actions nor justify them to the Legislature. In other words, he completely disregarded the constitutional duty of Congress to exercise checks and balances over the president.
Now that the House of Representatives has voted to approve the impeachment process thanks to the democratic majority, the case will go to the Senate. However, given that the republicans currently hold a senate majority, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll support the motion.
The impeachment trial is risky, and has few chances of success. What’s more, it’s already being attacked by a candidate with high chances of winning the next presidential elections in 2020.