There’s a base of supporters for President Donald Trump who remain faithful to their votes in the primaries and election. What forces are at work, for and against, their continued support?
Trump’s presidency suffers from constant public relations problems – some false, some speculative and some earned. Negative references abound: misogynist, chauvinist, racist, profane, boastful, sex abuser, bully, egomaniac, nasty, incompetent, dementia, etc. There’s no question Trump’s antics have isolated him politically — much to his disadvantage.
Obviously, there’s a collision between conservative policy and controversial presidential behavior — with policy winning. Trump’s conservative base supports him because of their opposition to Democratic policy priorities, and the likelihood of another Supreme Court vacancy looms large.
Given that support, should Trump supporters have a sense of satisfaction? Let’s take a look at what’s happened during his first year as president. I’m asking for consideration of what he’s done relative to campaign promises, not one’s appreciation for those accomplishments.
Trump reduced taxes for the vast majority of taxpayers. While most tax reduction dollars go to the top 25 percent, the middle 50 percent (middle class) received a proportionately larger tax break. The top earners will now pay an even larger portion of tax revenue compared to the past total of about 87 percent. Individual taxes are more progressive than before. And don’t forget the long-delayed expansionary reduction in uncompetitive corporate tax rates.
And as a footnote to Trump’s tax reform, announced raises, bonuses and capital expenditures among major corporations have moved from merely symbolic to being substantive given the number and amounts being reported.
Economic optimism is great medicine. Already the economy is growing at over 3 percent. Obama couldn’t get the economy to grow as much as 2 percent. Trump’s job growth is accelerating and unemployment is at a 17-year low rate.
Optimism, even among skeptics and borderline critics, has driven the stock markets to dozens of record highs. Ultimately that translates into taxable income, which increases capital gains tax collections greater than those predicted.
Our president has been reducing unhelpful regulations and is exiting harmful treaties and agreements without hesitation. Examples include the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and the unproductive Paris Accord.
Trump prudently refused to continue certifying Iran’s compliance with Obama’s nuclear agreement. He’s trying to put the issue back where it belongs, in Congress, to be debated as the treaty it actually is. And he delivered on his promise to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as was directed by Congress decades ago.
Even the opposition New York Times has admitted the president’s leadership has virtually wiped out ISIS in most active combat zones — something we were assured it would take a generation to do. But there’s still much more to do.
Trump’s promises to reshape the judiciary are being fulfilled with the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court along with a record-setting 12 circuit judges — stay tuned for more.
As I shuffled papers to compile this list I was surprised by its length. A complete list would require detailed discussion of many more “promises kept” including:
Eliminating the individual health care mandate.
Advances in energy independence including the opening of ANWR, Keystone XL, et. al.
Improvement in illegal immigration statistics.
Sending DACA back to Congress where it belongs, where he wants a humanitarian solution.
A new national security strategy that returns the U.S. to a stance of “peace through strength.”
He’s been a controversial president. I wish it weren’t so, but his antics are distracting and obscuring his successes. Even so, as an oft-frustrated Trump voter, I have to give credit where credit is due. He’s done far better, and done it faster, than I expected.