On Politics: A milestone for Trump
May 3, 2017
Saturday, April 29, marked the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency and hardly anyone is neutral or equivocal about his performance to date.
An April 27 Rasmussen Report poll shows that 72 percent of Democrats believe he has been a failure so far. Somewhat surprisingly, 10 percent of Democrats credit his performance as a success. A plurality of Independent voters (43 percent) thinks his first 100 days have been a bust, but 23 percent say he has been successful.
As one might expect the president's performance scored highest among those who voted for him last November. In a poll and series of focus groups conducted for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, 93 percent of Trump voters approved of his performance, and an astonishing 96 percent of people who voted for him would do so again. Only 2 percent of those who voted for Trump now regret it, according to the New York Post.
Interestingly, the Rasmussen poll found that one in five Trump supporters interviewed had previously voted for Barack Obama at least once.
A great majority (72 percent) of "Trumpsters" support a border wall, but given a choice between that or health care spending fully, two-thirds opted for health care. Only 5 percent of Trump voters blame him for the failure as yet to repeal and replace Obamacare, and a whopping 88 percent believe that 24/7 media criticism just shows that Trump is on the right track.
While it may be premature to judge Trump's effect on the economy, most people do it anyhow. Democrats decried the anemic 0.7 percent gross domestic product growth rate in the first quarter, the slowest pace in three years.
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Conservative economists point out, however, that since the year 2000 first quarter growth has never exceeded 1 percent; they note that accelerated growth typically occurs in later quarters, possibly because winter weather curtails economic activity in much of the nation.
Wage rates have shown steady gains for the first time in a decade, and Wall Street pretty much loves President Trump. Buoyed by his promises of deregulation and tax reform, stock market averages have gained 20 percent since Election Day and 5 percent during the first 100 days of his term.
How do the political pundits regard the president's performance to date? The Washington Post wrote that his greatest achievement was the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, an accomplishment that will outlive the Trump reign.
It went on to give him high marks for withdrawing "from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, restarting the Keystone XL pipeline and restoring our credibility on the world stage with a swift military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria."
The left-leaning New Republic was less charitable saying: "In just 100 chaotic days he has clumsily taken major steps towards his goal of radically transforming America into an ultranationalist country that scorns immigrants, threatens and alienates allies and embraces racism and xenophobia.
The conservative Washington Examiner countered: "Trump's executive actions have dramatically reduced illegal immigration with apprehensions at the Mexican border down a whopping 64 percent from last year."
Fox News' Greg Gutfield made an interesting observation. Referring to media reports about Trump's tax plan being rolled out as a series of bullet points on a single sheet of paper Gutfield observed that Trump is not a lifelong politician, but a business man famous for his negotiating ability. Rather than offering detailed proposals, Trump leads with "dream schemes" knowing that he will have to retreat from his ideal to work out an acceptable compromise.
David Brooks, New York Times columnist and political moderate, summed up Trump's first 100 days by observing that the president started off as a scary, America-first populist with crazy ideas, but has matured into a not-so-scary "corporatist" evidenced by his pro-business executive orders aimed at restoring prosperity.
I can't wait to see what the next 1,360 days will bring.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.