U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is preparing for the first presidential debate with former Vice President and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden on September 29th in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

At noon on Wednesday 20, last month President Donald Trump’s term came to an end. The new Sherrif in town took over the reign of power. It’s been a whirlwind four years, so what might the legacy be of such a history-making president? There’s a lot to consider, Putting democracy to the test Donald Trump, and his enablers in the Republican Party and conservative media, have put American democracy to the test in an unprecedented way.it is truly striking the ways in which he has convinced millions of people that his fabricated version of events is true. Funnily enough, three quarters of Trump voters believe he won.What happened on 6 January at the US Capitol is a culmination of over four years during which President Trump actively advanced misinformation. Just as Watergate and the impeachment inquiry dominated historical interpretations of Richard Nixon’s legacy for decades, I do think that this particular post-election moment will be at the forefront of historical assessments of his presidency. Presidents across the 20th Century have increasingly used sophisticated measures to spin interpretation of policies and events in favourable ways and to control the media narrative of their administrations. But the assertion that the administration had a right to its own alternative facts went far beyond spin, ultimately foreshadowing the ways in which the Trump administration would govern by misinformation. 

Sometimes judges surprise us, but for the most part, the historical evidence is that they pretty much do what their politics and their backgrounds say they will do. Trump also made egregious comments about black people and other people of colour, tried to have protests against police abuse disrupted and in other ways appealed to his white supremacist base. 

His lasting impact on race relations depends on what the Biden administration does on policy, and on healing and how long the pandemic and economic downturn lasts. 

Donald Trump will be remembered as the first president to be impeached twice. He fed the myth that the election was stolen, summoned his supporters to Washington to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote, told them that only through strength could they take back their country, and stood by as they stormed the US Capitol and interfered in the operation of constitutional government. When historians write about his presidency, they will do so through the lens of the riot. They will focus on Trump’s tortured relationship with the al-right, his atrocious handling of the deadly Charlottesville protest in 2017, the rise in violent right-wing extremism during his tenure in office, and the viral spread of malevolent conspiracy theories that he encouraged. The president has demonstrated that there’s a constituency who’s opposed to a lot of these trade deals and that there are people willing to vote for those who will either extricate us from these trade deals or “make them fairer”. 

The president has also suggested that China has been taking advantage of the United  States in ways that are deleterious to our economic and national security – and I think  there’s a consensus behind this view. No one wants to be accused of being soft on China,  whereas no one cares if you’re “soft” on Canada, right?

I think people are going to fall all over themselves to be tougher or at least say they’re  tougher on China. Domestically the president had a populous tone to him. It wasn’t ever  fully realised in his policies, but we see more Republicans adopting populist ideas.

Author: Bunmi Johnson

New York, USA



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