It’s been four years since Donald Trump first took office. The American people have had time to judge the job of this President. Our country is in the middle of a moral reckoning, with violent protests reaching out streets. Arguably racial tensions are at a worse point in this country than they have been in the last three or more decades. On top of everything else in the year 2020, add in a global deadly pandemic and you have a bucket of gasoline.
In the 2020 election Bernie Sanders came back with an attempt to take the party’s nomination again with a new hope in sight for progressives. In the first weeks of the primaries he took Iowa, New Hampshire, California, and blank. At last it had appeared our voices were being heard and were making an impact on the political scale. As the elections moved farther into the South our hope and candle diminished almost overnight of electing a progressive. Throughout the election season Joe Biden made an unprecedented rise to power from conservatives and moderates around the country who have become disgusted with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, and maybe wanted to a return to a more distinguished and restrained speaker. Waves of voters across the country want to return to a country where we are not fighting with each other anymore, where we can agree to disagree. It is these rose-colored glasses in the Biden campaign. A return to normalcy.
Just as a disclaimer I would like to add in this paragraph. I am white, I live in a upper middle class neighborhood with zero crime, and I never had to worry about paying for my college education. I did not have to worry about going hungry growing up, paying our bills, or not getting presents under the tree. I have smoked pot in front of police officers and nothing happened to me. I have no concept of what its like to live in poverty, so maybe that puts my story into context. However I won’t live in the shadows and want to speak my truth. Every liberal should read the information here.
As a progressive for most of my life, I wanted Kerry to beat George Bush in 2004. I participated in my first protest against the Iraq War in 2007 on the streets of Boston, as I chanted “war hawk” and “pigs in power”. In 2008 I remember cheering as I watched with my family and schoolmates the first African American President to enter the White House, and in 2012 I cheered again when Barack Obama beat the “slippery soap” Romney.
I have lived in Massachusetts right outside of Boston for my entire life. If you asked me to tell you where I know a Republican lives I wouldn’t be able to. My entire family including my grandparents were hardcore Democrats. In 2016 Bernie Sanders came to the politics stage and gave me the idea that we can fight for better labor standards, and a better vision for our country for the working class. That we do not have to sit back and allow Wall Street to dominate the dialog. When he did not became the party’s nominee I was saddened but I was not about to vote for Donald Trump. However as the elections drew closer I had a large decision to make on what candidates supported my values and beliefs the most, and which candidate had a history that most followed what I was fighting for. In an unusual circumstance I ended up voting for the man in orange, and I left the voting booth or mailbox that day feeling vindicated. This is a very real overview of President Trump’s one term in the White House, and why I feel liberals and progressive should have given him a second chance.
This topic in particular may be the largest reason why in this year my support and respect for the Trump administration has grown from four years ago. It was not easy for me to admit.
I remember going into the election season when this man won for the first term. We were not sure what he was going to do to the rest of the world, or how he would be viewed on the world stage. You could hope for the best but you were not sure. He has had four years to prove himself, and I have to say I am shocked with what has been accomplished. Would I be going too far as to say the Trump administration is the most peaceful administration since Jimmy Carter? Let’s go through everything he has been able to do.
Beginning in 2016 we had just finished two terms of the Obama administration, who promised to pull out of Iraq and bring troops home. The country had just experienced a conflict overseas that saw more public distaste than anything since the Vietnam War. Many call it the Iraq War, but it’s actually the Iraq and Afghanistan War, and many do not realize it is still happening two decades after the fact. No President was more responsible for ramping up ground troops in Iraq/Afghanistan than the Obama administration. The matter of truth is, President Obama put 5 times more troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq than Bush.
President Obama was involved in a total of six conflicts overseas, one of them none other than the civil war being waged in Syria. For over a decade the United States waged an arming operations known as Operation Timber Sycamore, where thousands of tons of weapons were ran through Syria and Turkey to usher in an Arab Spring, in attempts to overthrow the Assad regime. The conflict has contributed to over 600,000 lives lost and tens of millions of Syrians displaced, and waging close proxy wars with Russia. Maybe all for a pipeline? Many of the arms and weapons were ending up into the hands of ISIS fighters. This was a serious concern among members in his own party including libertarians like Rand Paul.
When Trump entered office I was waiting to see what his first move was and wanted to see if his words were just campaign talk. In 2018 he announced he would be ending the CIA program of funding Syrian rebels and I was surprised. In 2019 he announced he would be pulling all troops out of Syria and relocating them to other bases around the world. Again I was shocked and this was a good sign for withdrawing troops from a disaster zone. He was praised by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard University. Despite that the Pentagon, and other media publication such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and most major cable networks very harshly criticized the decision telling the President he was abandoning our allies.
“This is a United States mistake that started seven years ago. I remember the day on your show when President Obama said Assad must go. We know they sent in the CIA to overthrow Assad. The CIA and Saudi Arabia tried to overthrow Assad. It was a disaster and eventually brought in ISIS as a splinter group to the Jihadists that went in, and also brought in Russia.” — Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Morning Joe 9/25/2018):
Already the Joe Biden administration has said that he is going to keep up pressure on Assad, and restore funding to Palestinian rebel groups.
“An adviser for Biden, the Democrats candidate for president, told a group of Syrians that if elected he will not soften US policy towards the Assad regime, according to Alsharq Alawsat.”
The Washington Post asked, would you reopen diplomatic relations with the Syrian government if Bashar al-Assad remains in power? The only candidates that were open to diplomatic relations was Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang.
“The United States should be engaged with all sides to the conflict toward that end. Unfortunately, President Trump has ceded the diplomatic initiative in Syria to Russia, Turkey and Iran, while taking a number of steps including ending arming aid to the opposition, opposing stabilization assistance and signaling his intent to abandon our allies in the counter ISIS fight.” — Joe Biden @ Washington Post
Joe Biden has made it clear that he will be restoring arms and funding to that area of the world, in the fight to overthrow the Assad regime. He even criticized the Trump administration for pulling troops out of that region. This is something President Trump promised to do and he actually did it.
Over on the other side of the world there was North Korea. I remembered growing up as a teenager during the Obama years, and hearing every month of a potential nuclear attack from North Korea. President Obama was the first President to break all communication with North Korea and Russia. Towards the end of the Obama presidency we had never been on worse relations. When Trump said on the campaign trail he would “get along” with Kim Jong Un, I was highly skeptical but still hopeful of what he would bring to the table.
“If President Trump is successful in getting a peace treaty that’s acceptable to both sides with North Korea, I think he certainly ought to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it would be a worthy and a momentous accomplishment that no previous president has been able to realize.” — President Jimmy Carter (2018 Politico)
Flash forward four years later, and this President will be the first President in history to have peaceful communications with the Supreme Leader, something no President before him was able to do. He even got praise from former President Jimmy Carter who claimed Trump should be eligible for the Peace Prize, and offered to join his administration for peace talks. Instead of making new enemies with the world we were making new friends, and that was such a stark contrast between former Presidents of recent history. This was one area where this President deserved credit.
Throughout his term in the White House he also made attempts to resolve the Afghanistan War, by firing members of his cabinets he considered “war hawks”, and actively seeking peace deals with the Taliban. This would have been unheard of just four years ago. Iran sent missiles into American bases in Iraq and Trump didn’t retaliate. He fired Ambassador John Bolton, his Secretary Of Defense Mad Dog Mattis, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Chief Of Staff General John Kelly, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for being too “pro war”. He filled his cabinet with outspoken anti-war voices such as General Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, and Secretary Mike Pompeo.
“Well I’m the one that talks about these wars that are 19 years, and people are just there. Don’t kid yourself, you do have a military industrial complex. They do like war. I wiped out 100% of the caliphate and you know, I said I want to bring our troops back home. The place went crazy. You have people here in Washington that never want to leave. If it was up to them they’d bring thousand of soldiers in. Someday people will explain, and they call it the military industrial complex. They never want to leave and they always want to fight. No, I don’t want to fight. Our boys in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas.”
In a surprise move in his final month in office, Donald Trump announced a total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, totally 18,000 troops which would have ended America’s longest war in history. That was until both Democrats and Republicans passed a law that prevented him from doing so, which led him to holding up the NDAA with a VETO. On record this President is the most pro-peace administration since Jimmy Carter, and he will go down in history as following through with his word.
In 2020 another huge victory for world peace happened under the Trump White House. For the first time since Jimmy Carter’s peace deal with Israel and Egypt, Donald Trump got UAE and Israel to sign a mutual peace treaty. The first of its kind in more than four decades between Jewish and Muslim nations. In that same year Saudi Arabia along with UAE announced they would be allowed Israel to fly commercial airlines into their borders for the first time. When President Carter accomplished this a Nobel Peace Prize was shared in 1978. This should be regarded as a huge accomplishment.
When critics compared the president to Adolph Hitler while simultaneously ignoring the international war crimes of Barack Obama and George Bush, it’s hard to take that criticism seriously. It’s almost a detachment from reality when you look at the facts. Trump was the first President since Jimmy Carter not to enter us into a war on his military record. I’ve been a progressive Democrat for my entire life, and I can honestly say Donald Trump is the first President that has done more for peace around the world than anyone in the last fifty or more years and I really mean that.
Going into the third decade of the 21st century, my greatest concern by far was the environment. I truly believe climate change is an existential threat to the future of all life on this planet. I believe climate change is real, it is caused by man made activity, and we need a carbon free energy grid. Going into this election it became clear to me that I could support a Joe Biden presidency.
On the campaign trail he refused to speak with with environmental activists such as Alexandria Cortez, Ed Markey, and Senator Bernie Sanders. He touted the need for massive funding and expansion for renewable energy, and reentering the Paris Climate Accord. Although that depended on what state he was campaigning in and what reporter he was talking to.
His stance was solidified on the third debate, when confronted by President Trump about “banning fracking”. The former Vice President said and unapologetically NO, he was not going to ban fracking when he entered the White House. He further pointed out to the New York Times that he would not support a carbon tax, which would be the single greatest policy we could push to get us to our goal much sooner than 2050.
Towards the end of the race, it was revealed in Biden’s list of “super donors”, that his campaign had accepted close to 1 million dollars from the fossil fuel industry. It was reveled that 800 individuals donated $100,000.
At the same time the Trump administration has been arguably the first President in many decades to push funding for nuclear research, the cleanest and safest energy form on the planet.
“Donald Trump’s budget proposal for 2021 earmarks $1.2 billion for nuclear energy research and development and related programs. That’s significantly more than the $824 million Trump proposed in his budget the previous year.” — The Verge
“There are some truly transformative advanced nuclear technologies being developed in America right now, and this bill just reinforces this administration’s continued efforts to revitalize the nuclear industry.” — Ed McGinnis (Assistant Secretary Office of Nuclear Energy)
Not only that, but working with Democrats he passed the Nuclear Tax Credit which gave boost to new power plant production to complete Vogtle.
Under Trump’s energy department in 2020, Versatile Test Reactor Project was approved. The first liquid metal reactor produced since the mid 1980's.
This is great news for me as a nuclear engineering and physics student attending college right now. If you look at the stance of the Democratic Party in recent years and under Joe’s leadership, they are frequently calling for the abandonment of nuclear and that it “cannot” continue to be an energy solution for the long term. According to Washington Post, Biden never answered the question directly on what his administration will do to further or reduce nuclear power plants. Wind and solar are extremely inefficient energies and are backed up by gas and coal.
Under Trump’s presidency we also saw a complete revival of the NASA manned space shuttle program which was another huge accomplishment for funding of the sciences. Under the president’s request, NASA would get US$25.2 billion for fiscal year 2021, a jump of nearly 12% over funding enacted by Congress for the current year. The money was meant to jump-start the administration’s plans to send astronauts to the Moon by the end of 2024 while working with companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. This was in stark contrast to the much criticized defunding and cancellation of space programs we saw under the Obama administration. The Biden administration has even since voiced support in continuing Trump’s Artemis program, which demanded we send Americans back to the moon in less than four years.
Joe Biden actually spoke to the Union Of Concerned scientists in 2019 posted on this campaign interview, where the he noted that his greatest concern regarding the nuclear field was nuclear proliferation. He set is agenda or “sharply reducing” our nuclear supply. Unfortunately that often gets translated into an anti-nuclear policy that includes energy.
“That’s why Biden will support a research agenda through ARPA-C to look at issues, ranging from cost to safety to waste disposal systems, that remain an unfortunate ongoing challenge with nuclear power today.” — Biden Campaign (Statement to WAPO)
When Joe Biden talks about reentering the Paris Accord, and teaming up with Angela Markel it is disheartening. Germany now has the dirtiest energy grid in the world, because they are closing down nuclear plants at record numbers. It was recently announced that Joe Biden has selected John Kerry with an anti-nuclear history as his climate czar, the Senator quintessential in pushing for the closure of Integral fast reactor under the Clinton administration and banning reprocessing.
When thousands of families were poisoned during the Love Canal crisis in 1978, President Carter built new homes for over 2500 people, declared it the first Superfund site in America, and opened up an investigation into Governor of New York for allowing it to occur over a period of two decades. When a Republican Mayor of Michigan exposed 12,000 children in Flint to lead poisoned water, President Obama showed up to drink the water. A President Joe Biden was going to be a continuation of Obama’s legacy.
Economy / Jobs
This category of politics was one of the most important issues going into the 2016 election, and really why Donald Trump won the White House.
The working class of America felt disenfranchised by the “political elites”, and felt that electing Hillary Clinton into the White House was more of the same. They were willing to take a chance on a new and different leader who promised to revive the American industrial economy to its former glory of the 1950’s, and bring back power to the blue collar trades taken by foreigners.
In a sense, over at the Sanders campaign his base was fighting for the same ordeals. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders recognized that trade deals such as NAFTA, Permanent Trade Status with China, and Trans-Pacific-Partnership which was almost passed during the Obama administration were not written to protect the American worker. This populism was a new wave of protectionism that was infesting both parties, as we witnessed the largest transfer of wealth to the top 1% in our country’s history during the Great Recession at the height of the Obama years.
“President Clinton is proposing an agreement that will be a disaster for our working people, our farmers. General Motors and General Electric have thrown hundred of thousands of American workers out on the street as they run to Mexico and Asia and hire desperate workers.” — Congressman Bernie Sanders (5/09/1991)
In a later interview he even said this about “open borders”.
“What right wing people in this country would love is an open border policy, bring in all kinds of people who work for $2–3 dollars an hour. That would be great for them and I don’t believe in that. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low wage workers? We can make sure that people in poor countries like Mexico have decent paying jobs, have education, have healthcare, have nutrition for their people. That is a moral responsibility, but you don’t do that as some would suggest, but lowering the standard of American worker which has already gone down significantly.” — Bernie Sanders (7/29/2015)
In many ways President Trump carried the same talking points, and in many ways he has always held this talking point going back decades. Donald Trump himself being a member of Ross Perot’s Reform Party.
“They come over here, they sell their cars, their VCR’s, they knock the hell out of our companies and it’s just not fair for the American worker. I have tremendous respect for the Japanese people, but they are beating the hell out of this country. “ — Donald Trump (4/25/1988)
When Trump first stepped into office I was extremely skeptical that he would do anything to solve our huge crisis at the border both with trade and immigration reform. Now that we’ve had four year to judge his performance, it is clear that the Trump administration has accomplished progressive ideas.
In September of 2018, Donald Trump repealed NAFTA and successfully passed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). It brought huge boost to automotive manufacturing in the United States by lifting the requirement for parts made in North America up from 62.5 % to 75%. It also required that all autoworkers in all three nations have to be earning wages no less than $16 an hour. In other words the Trump administration rose the minimum wage a dollar more than Bernie Sanders platform for the trades, and gave the United Auto Workers bargaining power to go on strike in the following year. Backed by Trump, the labor union won their strike by retaining their healthcare benefits and pensions.
“For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards — including a process that allows for the inspections of factories and facilities that are not living up to their obligations.” — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
He also setup the nation’s first task force of CEO’s that met in the White House once a month, to discuss how we could increase American manufacturing.
Not only that but he fought for the consumer as well. In the year 2020 he signed an executive order in attempt to push government negotiations of pharmaceuticals drug prices in Medicare down, after his own party refused to pass Healthcare reform. The new ruling required that medical facilities provide costs up front to the patient for the first time in history. It even showed support of politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elijah Cummings.
He repealed President Obama’s mandate forcing consumers getting charged for not buying private health insurance, and passed the first Right-To-Try bill in the nation in 2019 which gave terminally ill patients the right to try unapproved treatments, legalizing experimental drugs in the remaining 8 states that held out on allowing “alternative treatments”. During the pandemic he also passed the CARES Act, a bipartisan bill which has forced hospitals to cover 100% of medical costs for uninsured patients.
During the 2020 COVID19 pandemic he also announced Operation Warp Speed, a first of it’s kind partnership between the federal government and private industries to produce a vaccine in record time. Instead of the estimated four or more years, it took six months and it was announced that all vaccines would be handed out to all Americans for free. The political and medical pundits that said Trump had blood on his hands, pushed private industry to produce a vaccine in record time. All without help from the World Health Organization.
He also became the first President to pause student loans for the entire year during the pandemic, gave permanent funding for historically black underfunded colleges, exposed that some of our finest universities in America were hiding donations from foreign nations such as Saudi Arabia, China, Qatur, and UAE, and proposed a new taxation on endowments. Under Trump’s administration the first taxation on mega-endowments in our nation’s history were established in the 2017 tax reform, that actually received praise from many progressive groups and public think-tanks.
On top of all of this, President Trump became the first President since Ronald Reagan to breakup up a monopoly. In 2018, Trump ordered the justice department to break up Election Systems & Software for holding what they called a monopoly on voting machines. That same year the Trump administration attempted to breakup the AT&T and Time Warner merger but the courts voted against his administration’s lawsuit. This being very similar actions to what the Sanders campaign was preaching to do about “breaking up the monopolies too big to fail”. As a progressive I 100% support Trump’s positions on stopping anti-competitive corporations.
“AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few. Likewise Amazon which through Jeff Bezos owns Washington Post should be paying massive taxes but it’s not playing, and it’s a very unfair playing field and we’re talking billions of billions of dollars in taxes they should be paying.”
Very similar to what Bernie Sanders was preaching to do.
“Amazon which owns Washington Post is moving very rapidly to being a monopoly. I believe we need vigorous anti-trust legislation in this country. whether it’s pharmaceutical, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is big tech, fewer and fewer gigantic corporations own those sectors. A Sanders administration would have a DOJ that would try to breakup Amazon, Facebook , and Google. They have too much power.
It’s also interesting looking back at the 2020 election to see which line of workers donated and to which candidate. According to this Bloomberg study, Employees of Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, Comcast, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, Boeing, Oracle, and Bank of America have all donated massive amount of money to the Biden campaign during this election. Donald Trump made the list three times with the NYPD, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Military that received the most support.
In categories of employment, the largest campaign donations to Joe Biden’s campaign came from lawyers, doctors, software sales, scientists, social workers, professors, and teachers. The largest donations to Trump’s campaign came from truckers, farmers, builders, police officers, construction workers, electricians, welders, machinists, and firefighters. This is an interesting case that most of Trump’s donations came from working class non college educated workforce, and most of Biden’s donations came from college educated white collar workers in city centers.
At the end of the day I recognized that is was not Donald Trump who bailed out the banks on Wall Street in 2009. It was not Donald Trump who allowed the banks to foreclose on 3.8 million Americans during the recession years. It was not Donald Trump who sat by and watched millions of low income children in Flint be poisoned by contaminated drinking water. It was the Trump administration that put a moratorium on evictions for the first time in American history, and gave all Americans a UBI during a pandemic. It was the Trump administration that cut taxes for middle class Americans, while income taxes on the top 1% remain twice as high as they were during Reagan’s second term. During his administration I received my first full time job, and I paid five thousand dollars less in taxes.
One other thing I can add is that, Donald Trump has declared time and time again that he wants to push a massive multi-trillion dollar infrastructure spending bill that would create million of jobs around the country rebuilding our roads, bridges, and highways as an alternative to spending money on overseas conflicts. He has yet to do this, but as a progressive I only hoped he would eventually succeed. The only thing stopping him was Republican colleagues in the Senate. His two trillion dollar infrastructure bill has already passed Nancy Pelosi’s House. Couldn’t we come together on this?
Minority Rights / Women’s Rights
This would a tough issue for me to talk about and discuss, and debate with my friends and family. I have hispanic, black, and asian friends. I have participated in three Black Lives Matter protests in the city of Boston. I believe we need to bring about serious drug law and police reform in this country. I believe immigrants are being abused and misused at the border. Why in the name of all that is good would I then support a Trump presidency? Could it be because I am sitting on a throne of privilege? This is the interesting case I am going to make and I believe it deserves to be heard.
During the 2016 election I had a choice during the blue primaries between Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. During that time period I became education on the drug laws and crime policies which have affected minorities the most, and gave us the highest prison populations in the world. It really began in 1994 when the Crime Bill was passed under President Bill Clinton. It was a half-hearted attempt to reduce crime in the inner cities, and it was written by then Senator at the time from Delaware’s Joe Biden. After Bill Clinton left office, the number of yearly arrests for marijuana had tippled, more so than any other drug in American history. Black communities were 3.64 times more likely to be arrested than in white communities.
Senator Bernie Sanders an actual progressive in Congress, called out the Clinton administration for the mistake he believed they would be making.
“Let us be honest. This is not a crime prevention bill. This is a punishment bill, a retribution bill, a vengeance bill.” — Bernie Sanders (10/22/1991)
Clinton successfully passed the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which for the first time introduced federal criminal punishment for foreigners casting a vote and harsh fines for states. Prior to this many migrants at one point in history could cast votes in local elections. This was at a time when the border patrol’s budget from 1992–2000 was increased by 300%. During this time we also setup the nation’s first highway stops in the country, where federal agents and police officers were given the right to ask for legal papers while traveling on roads.
In 1997 Clinton also introduced the Basic Pilot Program computer hiring system in six states across major businesses in America, to create a digitally systemic crackdown on illegal hiring in the workforce for the first time in American history. It would later be renamed E-Verify and deployed in all 50 states, which forces migrants to commit Social Security fraud for work.
In 2009 when the first black President had entered office, everyone though it would change overnight, and that minority communities in office finally had the right to change. Obama ran on a campaign of HOPE for Civil Rights. Such as his promise of closing of Guantanamo Bay. His desire to give permanent amnesty to every immigrant in the nation for a path to citizenship as his Dreamers. His desire to stop mass deportation at the border and defund border patrol. His promise to reform drug laws and criminal justice. Somehow and someway when he entered office, the complete opposite happened.
During his two terms immigration reform groups rallied every year in front of the White House and faced mass arrests by the Obama administration, who later faced deportations after they had a criminal record. This received very little media coverage or concern during his time in the White House. Mostly because the Democratic Party favored stronger borders as well as the Republican Party. Little did we ask are we dehumanizing a race?
In terms of deportations and increase in border patrol agents, President Obama deported more immigrants and increased more border agents than any President in American history up until that point. While Democrats held the majority in both the House and Senate, from 2009–2013 we saw a 20% increase in mass deportations. All together throughout Obama’s two terms he deported a record number 2.9 million immigrants, twice as many as President Trump will have after leaving office. 57% of those deportations were non criminal families. By 2013 there were 21,391 border patrol agents, an increase of 22% from 2008. During that same time period Obama increased border patrol’s budget by nearly 70%. At the same time marijuana arrests from 2009–2016 only decreased by 8% according to FBI, and by the end of Obama’s presidency even medical marijuana was still considered a schedule 1 narcotic. After Colorado passed legalization in 2012, Obama watched over the Drug Enforcement Agency raiding 247 Colorado homes, and seizing more than 80,000 plants in one state alone. Which included the bank accounts of legal operations. In Obama’s first three years in office, he conducted 100 raids on legal dispensaries in full compliance with state laws. The raids were conducted disproportionally in minority communities out West.
When Trump stepped into office, a campaign of Civil Rights was not something I was expecting, but like I always do I kept an open mind to see what would happen. As a progressive I don’t say this lightly, that Trump has done more for civil rights and drug law reform and minority communities, than any President since Abraham Lincoln when you look at the numbers. For the first time in the nation’s history this President convinced Republicans to pass permanent funding for historically black colleges to the tune of $250 million a year. The has been pushing lower income communities to adopt “school choice”, by providing an historic $1.5 billion in the development of public charter schools, which benefited a total of 3 million American students.
Now what about marijuana? In 2018 Trump became the first President to legalize hemp farming and CBD products for the first time as the Hemp Farming Act. This unscheduled hemp as a schedule one narcotic, and we no longer have to import our hemp and CBD from Canada for the first time since 1970. President Trump also said numerous times that he would support medical marijuana bill if it reached his desk. On the campaign trail, Joe Biden refused to support decriminalizing, even going so far as to say that there are no proven medical benefits. Is that why we should continue imprisoning users? Especially after three more states legalized in this election. In the year 2019 we became the world’s third largest producer of hemp. This was a major bipartisan accomplishment.
In his four years of office so far he has issued 44 pardons and commutations on Americans imprisoned on drug charges after the Crime Bill was passed, more than any other President in American history. This included 6 drug offenders who were in jail for life on marijuana charges, who President Obama previously denied for clemency including John Knock. President Biden asked his staff if they had a prior history of smoking marijuana. They answered honestly and got them fired. So far Biden has stated he would not support a bill to legalize pot if it reached his desk, and Trump said he wanted to “see medical happen”. President Joe Biden was the author of the Crime Bill.
“Democratic political consultants dream of issues like marijuana legalization and even medical marijuana. Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of it, polls show. So are independents. A majority of Republicans favor it now too. It motivates progressives, young people, and Black Americans to vote. Joe Biden won’t support it.” — The Atlantic
Now let’s talk about Donald Trumps temperament towards women. This was criticism from many of my Democrat friends about Donald Trump’s past, and the words he used against the opposite sex. Also many of the allegations which were waged against him of inappropriate touching. I will not excuse his past, but we should we excuse Joe Biden’s past if we go down that road. The reality is both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have a series of sexual misconduct allegations which have been raised against them, including the Clintons during the 2016 election. Therefore I will not compare on anyone’s past in this article, but focus on what Donald Trump did for women empowerment during his administration as compared to Joe Biden’s history in politics in regards to women’s rights legislation.
The first instance of Joe Biden entering the spotlight was in regards to him handlings the Anita Hill hearings in 1991. Anita Hill felt that Senator Joe Biden at the time used Anita Hill has a “prop” to further his career.
“The focus on an apology, to me, is one thing,” Ms. Hill said. “But there needs to be an apology to the other witnesses and there needs to be an apology to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.” — Anita Hill (New York Times 3/25/2019)
It was at this hearing where witnesses testimonies were blocked by Biden, including the line of questioning chosen by Biden which was criticized for making a spectacle out of Anita Hill’s family to secure the nomination.
The Trump presidency broke more glass ceilings than any President in history, and as a progressive it would be wrong more me not to admit that.
We saw the first woman Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, and the first woman Department Of Transportation under Elaine Chao. We saw the first two women Press Secretaries, two of the first woman Homeland Security Secretaries. In 2020 Trump nominated only the fourth woman Supreme Court Justice in America’s history. In Trump’s four years in office we saw the Republican Party nominate 90 woman for the house which was a record for any political party in our nation’s history, and 13 were elected. Kellyanne Conway chosen by this President was also the first woman to run a successful U.S. presidential campaign in American history.
“In everything we do we’re putting the American families first, and frankly we’re putting America first, but American families are coming first. With more woman working today than ever before we now have an historic opportunity to enact longer overdue reforms. It’s time to pass paid family leave and expand access to quality affordable childcare.” — President Donald Trump (Press Conference 12/12/2019)
At the same time the Trump administration passed the first six week paid parental leave in the country for federal workers, something both Hillary Clinton and President Obama said in the past they were not ready to support. We oversaw the largest increase in childcare funding in history, leaving with a record 3.5 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant in the COVID relief stimulus bill. President Obama failed to pass his plan.
All of this happened under the most racist, sexist, and xenophobic President in history. As a progressive and libertarian on social issues, I can’t be dishonest and say Trump has not made major achievements in this regard. He would have had a chance to make medical marijuana a schedule two narcotic, which Trump has said numerous times he would support a bill that would decriminalize medical products it if it made it to his desk. Four years ago at the same time, the Clinton campaign was saying we needed “more research” before we could look at reforming any drug laws. It would have been great to see Democrats working with Republicans under a second term of Trump if Democrats had taken the House and Senate instead of the White House. I can say Donald Trump was not Adolph Hitler.
Gun Control / Firearms Legislation
From the year 2000 to 2020, in a two decade period there has been 1,072 casualties of mass shooting violence, that took place in 159 events. At the same time over the last two decades we have seen a 233% increase in gun sales since the year 2009. In 1994 President Bill Clinton passed the first serious firearms control legislation that banned assault rifles, and in the year 1996 Republican controlled House voted to overturn it. In 1998 President Clinton banned the imports of 50 types of semiautomatic weapons, continuing the Brady Bill which was passed by Bush in 1989. He even went after firearms manufactures and forced them to include internal locks with every purchase to insure that firearms are less likely to abused.
What followed was the Columbine Massacre of 1999 with assault rifles purchased from unlicensed sellers at gun shows in pizza shops in Colorado. In 2004 the importation of assault rifles reached its sunset clause and expired. When Bush entered the White House the lawsuit on firearms manufactures fell apart, and “smart technology” that would have utilized fingerprint sensors were thrown out. During the 2008 election President Obama campaigned on the chance to restore gun control legislation passed under Clinton, and restore aspects of Ronald Reagan’s Brady Bill that were withered away by Supreme Court decisions under a conservative supermajority. Those were his promises he rallied Democrats behind, but when he stepped into office the story changed.
One of the first words uttered by President Obama was “I am not going to take your guns. I’m not going to ban assault rifles”. In his two terms we did not close gun show loopholes, we did not ban the sale of assault rifles. We did not ban the importation of assault rifles. He did not push for background checks or permit registration, and he never went after gun manufactures.
Democrats put an assault weapons ban on the Senate floor in 2013, and it received only 40 votes, with several swing state Democrats who are still in the Senate — Colorado’s Michael Bennet, New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich, Maine’s Angus King (a nominal independent), Montana’s Jon Tester and Virginia’s Mark Warner — voting against it. — Politico
During Obama’s legacy we saw firearms sales double from where they were previously, and a record number of mass shootings. Democrats went on television, they cried tears, and then they did nothing. In fact, more Republicans during this era supported firearm law reform like Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, and Senator Rob Portman from Ohio.
When Donald Trump was campaigning in the Republican Party, the media portrayed him as a far-right demagogue. Even though he has a history of being a Democrat himself who was pro-choice, campaigned for Kerry, and pushed gun control legislation in New York City under Rudy Giuliani. People were worried especially because of his campaign rhetoric, Trump frequently said “Bernie wants to take your guns.” Did anyone think he would do anything for firearms to further prevent the insane amount of mass shootings. However at the same time he was also saying we should “get tough on crime” at the border, and keep out terrorism and attack from our country.
In an ironic twist of fait, Donald Trump has done more for passing gun control legislation than any President since Bill Clinton. In 2017 supported the “no fly, no buy” reform that said anyone on the No-Fly-List would be banned from purchased firearms. He received much push back from his Republican colleagues and the NRA. Trump actually forced the NRA into an “emergency meeting” in attempt to convince them to back the bill. It was eventually shot down by the House Republican controlled majority, despite most Republicans and Democrats supporting that we keep firearms away from terrorists.
In 2018 by executive order, the Trump administration banned bump stocks on assault rifles, and various silencers on pistols. The first major gun control legislation passed in 25 years. At the same time under the Trump White House there has been a record number of firearms prosecutions.
“In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had “smashed records” by charging more than 15,300 defendants with federal firearms offenses, 17 percent more than the previous record.”
During the Trump and Bush administrations there were a record numbers of firearms prosecutions and investigations to crackdown on illegally obtained firearms. During the Obama presidency there was a record low number. In an ironic twist of fate, under Trump presidency we also saw a record low number of firearms sales in this country as opposed to Obama’s two terms. I simply fail to understand how many Democrats choose to cast that the Trump White House and his base were insensitive towards the victims of gun violence, while at the same time refusing to hold their own party accountable when they don’t act.
It’s one thing to show up with crocodile tears in front of the camera. It’s another thing to actually do something. There were more gun control legislation passed under Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr, and Donald Trump then at any time during the Obama presidency. Why do we continue to ignore this and not call out the Democratic Party for not putting their words into actions? Joe Biden has been touted as being even more conservative than Obama, and is promising many of the same things Obama once said before he stepped into office. Time will only tell but the record stands clear. Republicans over the past two decades have done more for gun control than Democrats.
Do I regret my decision?
I would like to say this about my vote. As a progressive I disagree with most of the social issues he is fighting against. I believe in Medicare For All, raising the minimum wage to $15, amnesty for immigrants, pro choice, universal basic income, free college tuition, and making the top 1% and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Of course Trump has stood opposed to all of these social issues, but so has the Democratic Party since the 1980’s. When it comes to other areas I had to stand back and take a pause at what I was witnessing before me in the last four years.
This administration has been extremely progressive when it comes to foreign policy around the world, and standing up for labor unions and trade that benefits the American worker. His critics say he wouldn’t get anything accomplished, and even I was extremely skeptical. After four years he has in every sense he proved his words on the campaign trail. NAFTA has been repealed with the first new trade deal written in 25 years. He followed his word of ending America’s involvement in regime change wars around the world. Actually backing clean energy and innovation, where Democrats fail to accept as the cleanest and safest energy source we ever discovered and that would be nuclear power. Repealing the Obamacare penalties which forced Americans to buy private health insurance as a gift to insurance companies, and giving consumers greater options and transparency in the medical field. Being a champion of women representation and fighting for criminal justice reform and closing firearms loopholes.
I believe this President was a rare breed of showman we have not seen since Reagan and maybe Teddy Roosevelt. His downfall with public relations would maybe be his love to stir the pot of emotions on Twitter, and to draw negative controversy towards ideas which in the past under any other administration would have received praise and admiration from the media. However to his credit that is how he got the ratings. I looked at Donald Trump’s accomplishments as a fork in the road. I could have pretended none of that mattered and voted for Joe Biden simply because of the party he belonged to, but I looked at the bigger picture.
As a progressive I have to be honest in saying, nowhere near was Donald Trump worse for our views than the Bush era of politics. In many ways Joe Biden has a closer relationship with former President George Bush than Donald Trump does. I realized that if Joe Biden was elected into office we would continue to lose the Congress and the Senate. Perhaps if Trump was to stay in office we could have regained both houses and blocked him for four more year. Maybe the worst he could do was a bad storm of Tweets. It took a Democrat in the White House for NAFTA and the Crime Bill, two Republican legislations to become law. My greatest fear was that, maybe a conservative Joe Biden would be even more effective at passing more Republican legislation than Donald Trump could have dreamed of. After all, it has been said many time that Joe Biden can “reach across” the aisle.
Joe Biden could surprise me. Within his first months if office he could rally behind Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Ed Markey to push for progressive legislation and agendas. If he actually listens to Kamala Harris’s ideas as a progressive and not isolate her and hide her from the cameras. Unlike President Obama, is Joe going to prevent banks from foreclosing on homes during a pandemic? Since climate change is such an existential threat to the future of our planet, is Joe Biden going to push for a Green New Deal and carbon free energy? Now that New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota legalized pot, are we finally going to see drug law reform at the federal level? Are we going to see more interventionist wars or are we going to bring out troops home? Many of those ideas require no legislative branch, rather government restraint of power and common sense.
Throughout history we have seen time and time again that when we elect moderate or conservative Democrats, we bring the party farther away from the workers party it once was. It was refreshing to see MSNBC and CNN criticize our President every day, but I wonder if that criticism is going to stop now that a Democrat is in office. During the Obama years the New York Times, Washington Post, and others refused to criticize his many out of left field policies that brought his party farther to the right. It was why I felt electing another term of Donald Trump would keep us on our toes.
I truly hope that the protests in the streets and the overall passion from the left and labor activists do not dry up now just because we have a blue President in office. Now more than ever we need to rally in front of politicians homes and buildings to demand action. If we do nothing but vote once every four years we will continue to be dissatisfied with progress. My vote for Trump was showcasing that who is in the White House does not matter if we are an engaged people. The most direct power we have to make a difference is in your community. Let us rally behind Democrat Congresspersons and Senators and demand direct action on progressive issues we care about. FDR did not give us the minimum wage and Social Security, labor unions protesting in the streets did. Now is the time to hold politicians feet to the fire and demand the change we all want.