One Year After Trump, Progressive Recovery Is In Sight

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Governor-elect of Virginia Ralph Northam strides onto stage at a campaign event.

November 8, 2017 marked one year since Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States. As one of the many blemishes marring America’s history, his election is often a painful memory that lingers in the minds of millions across the political spectrum. Despite the horrifying decisions Trump has made, many of his plans have been vetoed by various bipartisan legislators. Though Trump’s presidency will forever remain a blemish, not all hope should be lost.November 8, 2017 marked one year since Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States. As one of the many blemishes marring America’s history, his election is often a painful memory that lingers in the minds of millions across the political spectrum. Despite the horrifying decisions Trump has made, many of his plans have been vetoed by various bipartisan legislators. Though Trump’s presidency will forever remain a blemish, not all hope should be lost.

Over the past twelve months, one consistent theme has been ever-present in American politics: empty promises. Trump campaigned on the prospect of “making America great again,” but what does that actually mean? For him, it might mean maintaining his fortune and protecting his oversized ego. For many others, the idea of American greatness revolves around equality, thereby making the phrase “make America great again” a bit of a false advertisement. Equality is part of the U.S.’s future, not its past.

That might have been one of Trump’s first and biggest mistakes — to focus his campaign on the past rather than the future. The job of the president is to make changes that will improve the quality of life in America, so that future generations can have access to an even greater country. When you turn to America’s past rather than its future, you take steps backward, and, as we all know, American history is teeming with racism, sexism, ableism, classism — the list goes on. Therefore, it is simply foolish to use history as a model.

This is why our job now is to generate a future in which men like Trump cannot become President of the United States. Not only does that job involve working to improve the distant future by educating younger Americans, but it also includes making change for the near future, specifically before 2020’s election.     Recently, some of the first steps were made toward this goal of political change. On November 7, elections were held across the country for various state and local government positions. Despite the current Republican majority in Congress, many new Democrats were elected. For example, Ralph Northam won the Virginia governor’s seat over Republican Ed Gillespie, a big victory for the Democratic Party. In addition, Phil Murphy won the race for governor in New Jersey, a seat previously held by Republican Chris Christie, turning one more post blue ahead of the subsequent elections. Danica Roem was also elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. She will be one of America’s first openly transgender government officials, after defeating the conservative incumbent Robert G. Marshall, who had attempted to use her transgender identity against her as a campaign tactic. These results will most likely play a significant role in the coming years as they will inspire donors to invest in Democratic candidates rather than Republicans. Furthermore, it may restore faith to some Americans who had given up on the Democratic Party.

These three elections also indicate a changing political climate in the United States. But, for once, Trump is actually to thank for this positive redirection. His invidious methods and rhetoric have managed to shift individuals toward the left on the spectrum so as to avoid another president like himself. One hopes this shifting climate will help sway the 2018 congressional elections in favor of the Democrats so that they can eventually regain a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

We are now responsible to continue this trend of opposing the administration’s proposals, educating the younger generations, and voting in favor of progressive candidates. Together, these three steps will help ensure that Trump leaves office as a completely ineffective president, rather than the president who permanently altered the future of America.

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