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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsElephant in the Room

Trumpism on trial

Days after President Donald Trump’s surprise election in November, stories of the “silent majority” filled the news. Extreme dissatisfaction with politics-as-usual and economic anxiety left many voters seeking a leader who would fight for their interests. Trump, with his brash style and unapologetic rhetoric, was the unconventional candidate that this silent majority wanted. Now, almost 100 days into Trump’s presidency, what has he done for the forgotten men and women of our nation? Nothing, and it should come as no surprise.

Throughout the campaign, Trump relied on grandiose statements rather than proposing actual policy positions, such as when he said he would be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.” Or when he said he would have the “greatest minds” working in his administration. Well, he could certainly use those great minds right about now. While Trump knew how to exploit voters’ fears and frustrations during the campaign, he has struggled to turn that anger into policymaking. Why? Because Trump is a political neophyte whose allies think they can simply shove his priorities through without pushback. But that’s not how Washington works.

So Trump has continued to lash out on Twitter at anyone and anything that gets under his thin skin. First, it was voting fraud claims after losing the popular vote. More recently, it was claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him. And of course, there is his ongoing battle with the news media. But does any of this help the unemployed men and women of rural Pennsylvania who voted for Trump? Not at all.

While Trump continues to golf each weekend, the silent majority continues to struggle. The president must put down his phone, turn off the cable news and recognize that the nation’s problems are now his own. It is time for Trump, who wrote a book about deal-making, to invite both Republicans and Democrats to the table and hash out an agenda that will improve American lives. Rushed executive orders represent a leader unwilling or unable to persuade the legislative branch that his ideas are sound. The silent majority is relying on Trump to make the changes he promised. It will be watching over the next few years, and unless Trump can restore hope for these voters, he won’t be able to run on his 2020 campaign slogan, “Keep America Great,” because he will have had nothing to do with the greatness to begin with.

Kyle Stewart can be reached at kstewart1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @KyleStew107