The Case For Trump Part 1: The Positives
I was having a conversation with my two best friends the other night via app because we all live in different parts of the country now. One is a former classic lib that at this point is (like myself) pretty much all in the bag for Trump. The other is a classic lib that doesn’t like what the left has become but can’t bring himself to vote Trump. He said “I’ll concede the Dems have lost their minds but I’ll never vote for a Trump.” He then said “I like Joe Biden. He’s old and demented but I’ll vote for him.”
That started me asking - why? What is it about Trump and the many positive results that his presidency has produced did he not like? Weren’t there a ton of reasons to not vote for this swamp monster that had been in government for 40 plus years? I see the changes that are happening in the Republican party and on the right in general and I am a big fan. I’m going to tackle each of these issues in a three part series. In part one, I’m going to focus on the positive reasons to vote for Trump. The plethora of reasons to not vote for Joe Biden is a subject I want to tackle in part two of this series. Finally, in part three I want to explain that Trumpism is just the first of many steps as the Republican party moves away from an establishment base to a much more populist and/or worker oriented party.
1. It’s the economy, stupid.
We were having one of the best economies in American history up until the 'Rona hit. I was a big fan of lowering the corporate tax rate to a level that was more in line with other countries’ corporate tax rate making doing business in the US competitive. However, the biggest change is that Trump unleashed the economy by signing laws that reduced rules, regulations, and overhead.
One of my favorite examples I point to in terms of reducing regulations was the end of net neutrality. If you aren’t familiar, it was a rule implemented in the Obama era (because of course *eye roll*) that said different types of data couldn’t be handled differently by internet service providers (ISPs). This is just patently stupid. You can’t tell ISPs that they can’t treat data differently. Netflix requires significantly more bandwidth to consume content than checking a Facebook feed occasionally. We were warned of apocalyptic scenarios if Trump did away with the rule. “Get ready for the death of the internet!” Not only did that not happen but bandwidth speeds have greatly increased even as people use the internet ever more and more. Mobile and fixed broadband increase in speed by double digits year over year.
Consumer confidence has spiked 14 points. Goldman Sachs is predicting a 35% jump in Q3 GDP. As long as 'Rona deaths don’t start spiking I’m confident that we’ll start returning to that economy in pretty quick fashion.
2. “Tariff Man” & Trade deals
Candidate Trump railed against trade deals like NAFTA and TPP and said as President he would tear them up and renegotiate new deals. He didn’t wait long after he was swore in to start this process and tariffs was the main weapon he was going to leverage to get his way. He right away started slapping tariffs on China, Mexico, Canada, and the EU. I laughed when Trump said he was a “tariff man” back in 2018. Generally, I’m against tariffs because it raises the cost of goods and there were a litany of articles from all our elite “experts” about how Trump was going to crash the economy.
Krugman (as usual) was wrong - the economy just kept growing. Record breaking low unemployment rates and the higher salaries that come with employers having to pay more to find workers continued right up until April of 2020 when the lockdowns started happening for the rona.
The first trade deal he was able to get was the USMCA (United States, Mexico, and Canada). The deal had boosts for auto manufactures, the tech sector, drug companies, and dairy farmers. It even strengthened labor laws and had new protections for the environment in it. Trump in typical fashion was not very humble about it as he called it “the best and most important trade deal ever” and called NAFTA the “Country’s worst Trade Deal”. The White House estimates the revised deal will create 600,000 jobs and add $235 billion to the economy although some economists disagree with these numbers.
It was also really funny to watch Biden admit that USMCA was better than NAFTA since he had voted for NAFTA back in the Bush years.
The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal which Trump claimed was “pushed by special interests who want to rape our country” (he’s nothing if not classy) was most likely going away no matter who was elected as Hillary Clinton had come out against it, too. TPP has been replaced by various individual trade deals like the Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Japan Free Trade Agreement. Of course, the big fish that Trump is after is China. This has led to a bruising trade war over the past two years with tit for tat escalations of tariffs from both countries. The simple fact at the end of the day is that China needs access to our markets way more than we need access to their markets. A “Phase One” China deal has been signed. We’ll have to continue to watch what happens going forward.
3. How about peace?
The Trump administration has been actively working on Middle East peace deals. The first was between Israel and the UAE. The second was between Israel and Bahrain. Trump says more will be coming. The elite establishment for decades had claimed that there could be no peace in the Middle East without an agreement involving the Palestinians. For years, the Palestinians under their horrible leaders had rebuffed any offer no matter how serious it was. They demanded total capitulation to their demands. The Trump admin decided to simply ignore them and work with the countries that were more afraid of a resurgent Iran. The gamble worked and Trump claims more countries will be joining. An unexpected peace agreement was signed between Serbia and Kosovo. It also entailed that Kosovo (a mostly Muslim country) would now recognize Israel as a country and Serbia would move their embassy to Jerusalem. Trump has now received three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
4. China Push-Back
China is an authoritarian, dystopian nightmare of a country that imprisons its minority Muslim Uighur population in re-education camps that it also uses for slave labor. It regularly cheats on its trade agreements. It bullies smaller countries around it. It militarized the Spratly Islands after repeatedly stating that it would not. It threatens to take back Taiwan by force. It claims airspace and seas that it has no right to as its own. It steals intellectual property. It hid the danger of the Coronavirus.
Trump has slapped sanctions on various military and political leaders in the CCP. He has made new military agreements with Japan, India, and Australia. He has approved the sales of billions in advanced weaponry to Taiwan. He has sent warships through Chinese claimed seaways in “freedom of navigation” operations. These are common sense actions that show the Chinese simply can’t bully Trump the same way that they have other American presidents.
5. Criminal justice reform
This was one of the few bipartisan bills that made it to the President’s desk and it was a big win for Trump and Jared Kushner who advocated the bill named the First Step Act. It boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts and encourages them to participate in programs designed to reduce the risk of recidivism. It would reduce life sentences for prisoners that were convicted of “three strike” laws but only for drugs and not violent offenders. It also allows for federal judges to have some leeway when sentencing drug related crimes.
These are all positive changes and the peace agreements are awesome changes that make the world a better, safer place. In the next article, I’ll detail the negative reasons to not vote for Joe Biden.