Finding the silver lining in a Trump presidency


Zane Fletcher

The other night I was lying in my room attempting to make some semblance of Donald Trump’s success so far in the 2016 presidential campaign. As a liberal-minded thinker, Trump’s consistently strong polling numbers have come as a surprise to myself and many others. After his strong Super Tuesday showing, it is seemingly increasingly possible that what many had dismissed as ludicrous might actually happen – Donald Trump could feasibly secure the Republican nomination to run for President.

During my nocturnal contemplation, I tried to envision what President Donald Trump might be like. My first conclusions were not calming – Trump’s aggressive domestic policies coupled with his absolute lack of ability in the foreign policy domain would lead to an ever-increasing amount of problems for our country. He would quickly alienate America’s allies while slowly alienating his subjects, ultimately resulting in a tumultuous four-year term with no reelection possibility.

Nevertheless, against all odds, I was able to talk myself into a possible situation in which a Trump presidency could bring some good to the country. Everyone always complains about how the president doesn’t actually do anything for the country, and in a way that is true. President Barack Obama has faced similar criticism, as have most recent presidents, but it is not the fault of the president – instead, the structure of the government (and the resultant dependency of the Executive Branch on the Legislative) that hinders presidential production.

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Whereas President George W. Bush was gifted with a Republican majority for most of his term, Obama (though he had Democratic control for the first term) worked with a severe lack of bipartisan partnership between the alternatively Republican and Democratic House of Representatives and Senate before seeing the 114th Congress make a Republican majority.

When the president doesn’t have a similar party majority, it is often difficult to move legislation. Here is where I see Donald Trump having an impact not necessarily on the well-being of the nation, but perhaps on the structure of government moving forward.

Whereas the office of president devolves into little more than a figurehead with nominal power when their party does not also control Congress, Trump’s business background and never-say-die mentality is exactly the kind of hardheadedness that might be able to break Congressional gridlock.

So, perhaps Trump wins. He’ll try to build a wall, nobody will let him. He’ll try to push ludicrous policies, nobody will let him. He’ll make America seem insensitive, backwards, and unintelligent. But if Trump attacks Congress like he’s attacked everyone around him for the last few months, perhaps he can bring about a change. Push a policy through intense backlash and show that the president actually does matter.

Alternatively, Trump’s polarizing personality seems to have upset both the Democrats and the Republicans. If Trump can’t break through Congress, his antics have the ability, if president, to bond Congress together and unite legislators across the aisle against a common enemy.

Trump’s possible presidency, though by no means a done deal and even less so a positive for the country, could have some long-term positive effects on the governmental processes of the United States.

Though four years under the Trump regime would likely take twice as long, if not longer to reverse, it is the systematic alterations he would force that would stream-line the government in the future, and bring America into either a new era of partnership between the Legislative and Executive Branches, or else unite Congress across the aisle as a lasting effect.