Obama’s legacy in question

The Republican Party, deemed dysfunctional and effectively broken just a month ago, has captured every branch of government. In a populist wave that has swept the world over, the once fringe fascist right, which is ascendent. In light of Donald J Trump’s victory, the question remains: will President Trump build on aspects of Obama’s legacy or will he be, in the words of FP Editor-in-Chief David Rothkopf, a “Great Eraser?”

graphic by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/“Keri/" title="View all of this person's work">“Keri</a></span>

graphic by Keri Zhang

 

Perhaps no issue has been a bigger sticking point for Congressional Republicans than the failures of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, more commonly known as Obamacare. The legislation came into effect at the beginning of 2014, and since its adoption, premiums for insurance on the ACA have jumped significantly as many insurers have left the market. This has left many low-income residents of rural areas without any options on the Obamacare marketplace for health insurance.

Trump stated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he may retain aspects of the landmark health care act he has so many times vowed to repeal. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to see tensions between a Trump White House and Congressional Republicans on economic issues and entitlements, on which they have very different views.

Moreover, more than any other issue in this year’s election, immigration has roiled the nation. Immigration laws in statute today are an anachronism in the present-day United States. Historically, America has been slow to keep up with rapid changes in both its demand for labor and trends in immigration. This issue doesn’t have to be red versus blue. In the midst of the debate over immigration during Ronald Reagan’s second term, The Wall Street Journal published in an editorial entitled “In Praise of Huddled Masses”: “Our greatest heresy is that we believe in people as the great resource of our land. Those who would live in freedom have voted over the centuries with their feet.” The GOP under Trump has veered far away from its more open and tolerant past.

Perhaps this heresy, the foundation on which our free and civil nation of immigrants was built, could be the starting point for bipartisan cooperation and an effective policy direction for Trump. Although he is still promising to deport as many undocumented workers as he can, should seriously consider the economic and social ramifications of such an action.

Hillary Clinton said during her second presidential debate against Trump that 17 intelligence and national security agencies of the federal government had confirmed that the hacks of the Democratic National Committee were caused by Kremlin-backed cyber forces. This statement begs the question—why do we have 17 independent intelligence and national security agencies in the first place?

With much of the current national security infrastructure having been established hastily in the aftermath of 9/11, it has become clear that, while clear gains have been made, there are severe defects that must be mended in order to guarantee greater prosperity and security for the coming years. Consolidation of national security under a clear chain of command and the establishment of measures to counter the real and present threats of cyber terrorism, bioterrorism, and nuclear terrorism should have ranked high in her priorities.

Although stronger and more omnipresent than ever, national security should be a key priority of the Trump Administration, making sure the policies in place make America safe. However, this should not be done by imposing discriminatory surveillance policies or massively increasing the size of our armed forces and/or police, but through strategic planning and a respect for civil liberties.

The few domestic policy initiatives Trump has put on the table are, for the most part, ineffective at best, and dangerous and anti-democratic at worst. While there are clear areas Congressional Democrats can work for progress, such as infrastructure and entitlements, the vast majority of his policies are antithetical not only to good government but to American government as we have known it. Then again, can we really say what the mind behind the man thinks? For all we know, he could still be the New York liberal he was just eight years ago. Whether Trump continues to fill positions with extremists or moderates will be the real benchmark of what a Trump presidency will truly mean for the World even over America domestically.

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