Notes on Trump and Policy


I think the most contentious position one can have in the US right now is that Trump isn’t really that big of a deal. That’s because most people on the left think he’s the second coming of Hitler/Stalin/Satan/Apollo Creed and is going to start World War 3. And most people on the right think he’s America’s savior who is going to “fix” everything and we’re all going to party like it’s 1959.


I think he is neither. The right is wrong because it’s clear that he’s a shitty, ineffective, and needlessly controversial president. The left is wrong because they forget that US history is full of shitty, ineffective, needlessly controversial presidents. And you know what happened to most of them?




That’s right. A big ol’ nothing-burger.

I sorta feel that way too. The left wants to believe Trump is Hitler 2.0. Many on ‘right’ believe he’s a ‘god emperor’ of sorts, or that his win is of significant consequence. No one wants to hear that Trump thus far has proven to be inconsequential. He has accomplished some things (Paris Agreement withdrawal, Korea talks, travel ban) but no legislation thus far on immigration, jobs, healthcare, etc. One can argue that this is not his fault ,but rather due to Congress, the FBI, and other factors, but regardless of whose fault it is, that does not change the evidence that that the Trump presidency has thus far has not moved the needle policy-wise as some had expected.

A common argument is that legislation is not that important, anti-left sentiment and being in office is. And to some extent that is true. Trump will likely win reelection on the heels of a strong economy, strong stock market, geopolitical stability, and strong support of his base–even without any legislative accomplishments, save for the tax cuts (which were a shoo-in). Trump tweeting about Amazon, the post office, drug prices, Korea, China, jobs, etc. is as effective (in terms of drumming up support from his base) as actual policy. We can all agree Trump is way better than Hillary.

My response to those who say legislation does not matter: Obamacare. What do you call that. Remember how big of a deal that was in 2010-2013…all the articles written in NRO decrying it. It’s only because a lot of time has elapsed since its ratification that we’ve sorta forgotten about it.

But at some point you need policy and legislation, because that is how the U.S. government functions. Feelings will only get you so far. Sentiment is like draping two pieces of rope across a ravine and calling it a bridge. Well it’s the beginning of what could be a bridge, but in its present state is useless. You need the rest of the materials.

The US system is incredibly complex and robust. The president’s power is overrated. In fact, the presidency is only a recent obsession (in the era of reality TV and sound bites). The president always gets credit for things he didn’t do and always gets blamed for things he didn’t fuck up.


Although the system is slow and robust, if the left keeps having legislative victories, what do you think happens to the country over many decades, centuries?

The post-Trump sickness is real for some. You see it in decline in posting activity on certain sites and blogs, as well as the post-2017 decline of the alt-right (guys like Milo, Richard Spencer, etc.) which parallels the meteoric rise of the alt-middle and intellectual dark web (Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Steven Pinker, Jordan Peterson, etc.). There was all this pent-up excitement in late 2016 and early 2017 in the hope that Trump would really change things, but it hasn’t quite panned out as some had hoped.

Yet there is immense enthusiasm on /r/the_Donald, so it really depends where you look. One can liken it to giant extended family (cult is too harsh of a word and has negative connotations). You see this on Twitter regarding certain crypto-currencies. There are these groups of people that form a shared identity around a certain thing (Trump, Verge currency, Nano currency, Tron currency, etc.), that can do no wrong.

And as with Kardashian or school shootings, the more attention we shovel in his direction, the more empowered he becomes, and the more we encourage other politicians to follow in his footsteps. People are always complaining that he should delete his Twitter account, but how about this: stop reading it! Stop clicking on articles about shit he tweeted. Stop watching news segments about shit he tweeted. You don’t just vote with your ballot every four years, in 2018, you vote with your attention as well.

I agree. Stop worry about the latest tweet or outrage. The media profits from your attention, which could be better spent improving your own life.

Trump (or any politician) can’t make your life better. He can’t make you successful, unless perhaps you’re one of the handful of pundits in 2016 who rode on the coattails of Trump’s sudden popularity. Problems seldom fix themselves.