Editor’s Column: Working Together Trumps All

Brian Rose, Managing Editor

As we enter into the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency, it might be productive to avoid analyzing Trump the individual, and instead analyze the political situation that he entered and has failed to capitalize on. Before I enter into this analysis, I feel that I must make it abundantly clear that Donald Trump as a person is both morally reprehensible and dangerously illogical. He has been, and always will be, unfit for the seat he currently holds. That being said, if he were a bit different, our outlook as a nation might be different too.  

The last decade has been marked by political gridlock, a lack of bipartisan compromise and a

political environment in which legislators answer more to their campaign donors than their constituents (cough, cough, NRA). Even the supposedly friendlier branch, the Senate, has been marked by an unwillingness to compromise and a desire to use Senate rules to delay progress. This was most evident when Senate Republicans held up Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination. Garland was considered rather moderate in his political views, yet highly qualified for a seat on the highest court in the land. If there was a moment for compromise, it was this one. As we all know, that did not happen. The Merrick Garland affair is the tip of the iceberg, as the federal government spirals deeper and deeper into partisanship during the Trump presidency. 

Perhaps, it did not have to be this way. Examining Donald Trump and the situation into which he entered in a vacuum reveals some interesting things. As Donald Trump became President-elect Trump on that improbable night in November of 2016, control of the Senate and House went to the Republicans as well. That swing represented the first time in about eight years that all three branches of government were controlled by one party. Most people viewed this swing as one that could be used by Republicans to institute policies true to their ideology, such as tax cuts and a revamp of Obamacare. However, it could be argued that the Republicans, Trump included, could have used this time in history to bring back compromise and good government that defined the Senate and the House in the middle of the 20th century. I don’t imagine a utopian world of buddy-buddy compromises and niceties across the aisle, but rather a willingness to simply work with the opposing party, and in turn set a precedent for the future of the federal government. Donald Trump, who told the American people time and time again that he could not be bought by lobbyist groups and campaign donations, could have used the position from which he sat to incite a change in which legislators would answer to constituents instead of campaign dollars. 

Instead, Donald Trump has used his platform to incite fear and a brash unwillingness to concede anything, even if a concession would mean passing policy that conservatives hold dear to their collective heart. Beyond that, he has drifted away from his promise to “drain the swamp” and into the back pocket of high powered lobbying groups like the NRA as he prepares for his re-election bid. As a result, the gridlock and the lack of accountability to the American people are not going anywhere during Trump’s presidency. Soon though, there will be a different individual who sits in the Oval Office, and when that day comes, that individual has a tremendous opportunity to use the power they hold to end this era of gridlock and an unwillingness to work across the aisle. 

Contact Brian Rose at [email protected].