Though his presidency is one of the most polarizing in United States history, President Donald Trump somehow has a chance of winning another term.
Polls show that 97 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Independents, 43 percent of Democrats who watched the State of the Union, approved of it. It should be of little surprise that Trump polled so high with the Republicans, but the high percentage of Democrats who approved is a number notice.
Be aware of the context. The poll is obviously not an accurate representation of the entire country—the function of a poll is to give a sample. The poll also only accounted for those who watched the State of the Union. The numbers might even be inflated because of the immediate high after the speech. Trump’s use of his guests to emotionally connect with the audience was a brilliant tactic and his message seemed to have resonated with Americans.
It sends a direct message to the Democrats who sat on their hands during the speech and even those anti-Trumpers who rolled their eyes on the other side of the aisle that they are out-of-touch fellow Americans.
For those anti-Trumpers and Democrats, the reality is, the doom and gloom of the Trump presidency actually never hit. It’s also not a perfect world.
Most Americans are tired of politics. Ever since former President Richard Nixon sat at the Resolute desk, trust in the government dropped. Despite consuming more of it, people trust the media the less than they ever have. Yet, trust in newspapers have done a 180 and headed up again. This isn’t changing either and is kind of why Trump got elected in the first place.
The media and government is the backbone of American culture and life and it continues to be a laughing stock. In fact, that’s why there is a tremendous growth in third party, long form discussion, political and social shows like The Joe Rogan Experience and The Rubin Report.
Politics and politicians are often criticized because they live in an elitist utopian bubble. To them, it’s a game and Americans are tired of being pawns so that their representatives can hog power and money. Some of the wealthiest counties in America surround the American capital and that’s no coincidence. Trump can continue to feed off the criticism and chaos, but it will not get him re-elected. What will is the economy.
The economy is the most important issue for voters — when the economy is doing well, a change of power seems very unlikely. History backs it up too. Using GDP growth as the metric, in 1984, former President Ronald Reagan had a strong economy behind him and he was re-elected.
In the mid-90s, the economy was jumping up and down but was strong enough to win Clinton win re-election. For Bush and Obama, their economies were also strong enough to help them get re-elected.
So where does America currently stand? The fourth quarter of 2017 grew at 2.6 percent. That’s down from the 3.2 in the quarter before and it’s nowhere close to Trump’s ambition of 4 percent. Nonetheless, the trend is moving in the right direction and last year was better than the year before.
Unemployment continues to stay at a low pf 4.1 percent. Companies are passing out bonuses. But days after Trump promoted a record low African-American unemployment, it rose almost an entire percentage point. As Trump gloated about the high of the stock market all throughout last year, he’s going to take the blame for the fall — just the way it is.
Lastly, Trump passed a tax reform and its long-term effects are debatable. The economy is a tricky beast, but the signs point to a trend upward.
Nothing is worse than when Trump decides to tweet about something. It causes the Statue of Liberty to cry and the Yellowstone Volcano to retreat, or depending on one’s viewpoint, accelerate to impending doom. But as politicians and the media continue to feed into it, no one will care because the economy is doing better and growing. Americans just have historically liked that and it’s reflected at voting booths.
Steven Jotterand ([email protected]) is a junior studying journalism.