Editor’s Note: For an alternative viewpoint, please see: Point: Grading Trump — Not an Honor Roll Record
President Trump has hit the ground running since he was sworn in January 20, and many have been shocked by the aggressive pace the new president has taken to deliver quickly on the promises he made during the campaign.
And that’s primarily how our political leaders should be graded: Whether they fulfill the promises they make to voters or not.
Trump won the election because he promised to take on business-as-usual Washington, push for big change, and not accept gridlock. While sadly many voters have come to expect politicians to say one thing on the campaign trail and then do another once elected, people viewed Trump as a different candidate who would deliver. In fact, soon after the election, a survey conducted by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and the National Research Group found that the majority of Americans said they trusted Trump to fulfill his campaign promises.
Trump has done just that, starting on day one. Just hours after taking office, Trump signed an executive order directing government agencies to “minimize the economic burdens” of Obamacare. Then, the president named Rep. Tom Price — who is well-respected for his deep understanding of our nation’s healthcare system as well as for his commitment to replacing Obamacare with an improved system that works for all Americans — as his pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
Providing real relief and laying the groundwork for a more affordable and accessible healthcare system assures those who have struggled for years under the Affordable Care Act that Trump is focused on taking meaningful actions to improve their lives.
Trump has also taken strong action though his selection of other Cabinet nominees who join him in promising not to shy away from making much needed changes.
For example, Trump’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, has already pledged to bring about the largest tax relief for businesses and families since Ronald Reagan was in office. Trump’s Labor secretary nominee, Andrew Puzder, has pledged to roll back constrictive government regulations so that there are fewer impediments to upward mobility for workers, particularly low-income workers.
This is refreshing for those who find themselves falling behind. Real median income decreased by 2.3 percent during President Obama’s time in office, according to a Gallup poll, only 51 percent of Americans consider themselves to be middle- or upper-middle class, down from an average of 61 percent between 2000 and 2008.
Most recently, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, fulfills yet another campaign promise. Trump had shared with voters a list of judges he would choose from when appointing new jurists to the Supreme Court. And he did just that, not only showing the people again that he is a man of his word but also restoring the balance that was in place prior to the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
For Americans who have been concerned about the creeping power of the judiciary — which too often now seems to craft policy, not just interpret statutes — it’s reassuring that Judge Gorsuch is an originalist who will put his own policy preferences aside and look to the Constitution as written when deciding cases.
Americans know that the justices who sit on the Supreme Court will affect areas important to all of us, ranging from healthcare to environmental regulations, and in fact, while this didn’t make many headlines, this was a key issue for many votes in the 2016 election, according to an ABC exit poll. Twenty-one percent of voters said Supreme Court appointments were the most important factor when voting for president, and these voters overwhelmingly preferred Trump over Clinton, 57 percent to 40 percent.
Of course, we’re only a few weeks in to President Trump’s term; and with four years remaining, we’re all anxious to see what else is in store. And certainly, President Trump could have done better in more carefully rolling out some policies and reassuring Americans that all of his actions and comments, including those to foreign dignitaries, have been thoughtfully and strategically considered.
But Americans know that ultimately what will matter is if his policies deliver the changes that they have been longing for: Will the president’s reforms create better economic opportunities for Americans? Will our country be safer and stronger? Will our system become fairer, one in which the laws are clearly written and enforced?
These are the questions that will ultimately determine whether this presidency is successful.
But for the many Americans who have struggled for far too long to get ahead, the fact that Trump has already made such impressive progress in delivering his campaign agenda signals a bright future for our nation — and their voices should matter more than anything. And for that, President Trump deserves the highest marks.