One year on: The impact Trump has had on America
On the day that Donald Trump was announced as the new President of the United States, many people across the globe collectively took a deep breath and wiped their foreheads as they prepared for the worst. The former reality TV star, who was about to become the most underqualified leader in America's history, didn't exactly inspire confidence in the millions of men, women and children who knew him as a tangerine-tinted billionaire best known for firing forlorn contestants.
Grabbing women by the pussy, threatening a sinister Muslim travel ban, denouncing Mexican immigrants as criminals, his pre-inauguration record spoke for itself. But, speculation aside, almost exactly one year later, how has the Donald Trump presidency really affected the Land of the Free?
An anti-choice America
Trump has always made his feelings on abortion crystal clear, promising on the campaign trail that he would overturn Roe V. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court verdict that ruled women had the constitutional right to abortion under the 14th Amendment. To the horror of women everywhere, his anti-choice agenda has become a reality in many areas of American law over the course of his year in office.
Almost immediately after becoming President, the former reality TV star signed the executive order for the Global Gag Rule, the regulation that bans organisations from mentioning the word "abortion" and denies them financial help if they do so. It was a move that not only put women and young girls at risk of early death and result in an increase in unsafe abortions, but which also potentially jeopardised efforts to fight off deadly diseases such as malaria, HIV/Aids, and the Zika virus. As well as nominating anti-choice figureheads such as Supreme Court judge Neil Gorsuch and head of the Office of Civil Rights Roger Severino, he also told the nonprofit organisation Planned Parenthood that in order to gain his approval they must stop providing abortion services. His deal was wholeheartedly rejected by Planned Parenthood bosses, resulting in Trump signing off legislation aimed at cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and to other groups that perform abortions.
Unemployment rates have fallen
"I'll tell you what, we are indeed making America great again," Trump told crowds of Boy Scouts in July 2017. "What's going on is incredible. We had the best jobs report in 16 years." Was he right? Has the Trump era really been that good for providing Americans with means of making money? The answer is both yes and no. Reports tell us that Trump is correct that the national jobs picture is looking much better than it was a few years ago, with today's unemployment rate tied for the lowest in 15 years - not 16. But can this be put down to his presidency? Probably not. It's important to recognise that the rate of unemployment has been steadily declining since the end of the recession in 2009, meaning that we have both Trump and his predecessor Obama to thank.
Sexism in the workplace is condoned
Barack Obama's executive orders were always going to be at risk when Trump came into power - and the 2014 Fair Pay And Safe Workplaces Order was one of them. In March, America's leader revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order, which Obama brought about to ensure companies given federal contracts complied with labour and civil rights laws. This order included two rules that helped in protecting women in the workplace: the first being wage transparency, and the second a ban on employers from making decisions based on sexual bias. The deletion of these rules leave working females open to unfair treatment at work, including unfair wages, firings and sexual harassment.
Healthcare costs are up
The effect of Trump upon the United States remains unprecedented, however, one thing he has been unable to mould to his liking is the healthcare system. Amazingly, Obamacare has made it through more than ten months of repeal attempts with Republicans in control in Washington. However, although the former reality TV star has been unable to enforce Trumpcare, recent reports have shown that the lives of people needing medical attention have been more affected than previously thought. In the wake of the President's threats to end reimbursement payments to insurers, they have slapped surcharges of anywhere from seven to 38 per cent onto premiums for Obamacare. In addition, the White House has claimed that they plan to end a key set of Obamacare subsidies that helped lower-income enrollees pay for health care. Overall, over the course of the year, getting sick has gotten a whole lot harder for those with lower incomes.
The lives of minority Americans have become worse
It's no secret that the lives of American minorities have become even more difficult under the reign of Trump. The businessman caused outrage when he signed a directive that banned transgender people from serving in the military in August, unveiled travel restrictions on foreigners from Muslim countries on two separate occasions across the year and attempted mid-way through the year to push through plans to build the wall separating the US from Mexico, among numerous other incidents.
The economy has grown
The White House recently celebrated the news that the United States' economy had grown by three per cent in the third quarter of the year, the strongest showing since 2014. This was in spite of two horrific hurricanes and before Trump's anticipated tax reform. In addition, Trump has cited stock market gains and affordable house prices as others successes of his time as President. “Despite the damage from this year’s hurricane season, the U.S. economy grew at 3 percent for the second quarter in a row,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. “With unemployment at a 16-year low, the stock market at new highs and economic confidence soaring, the U.S. economy is surging under this president’s leadership.”
The US has more powerful enemies than ever before
As one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States has always had its friends and foes. But never before has it had so many formidable enemies. Friendly - or at the very least cooperative - relations with other countries have gone downhill in the past year, and perhaps you can put it down to Trump's liking for Twitter spats. First up, of course, is Kim Jong-un who, amid other incidents, was named "Rocket Man" by the US President. Next up, Angela Merkel who claimed in May that Germany can no longer rely on America as an ally under Trump and would have to take their destiny into their own hands. In addition, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani rebuffed a request for a meeting in October, just two years after Obama's historic deal that hoped to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. These are just three of a world of enemies that the billionaire has acquired, we could be here all day. So, can America kiss and make up with all of their newfound opponents? Not as long as Trump has his Twitter password it seems.
The United States is more divided than ever before
A poll in October 2017 showed that a little under a year after Trump's election, Americans are more divided than ever before. “The divisions between Republicans and Democrats on fundamental political values — on government, race, immigration, national security, environmental protection, and other areas — reached record levels during Barack Obama’s presidency,” Pew’s report states. “In Donald Trump’s first year as president, these gaps have grown even larger.” The disharmony in American society was no secret even before the report, with the deadly Charlottesville protests exemplifying the disparity across US society.
Looking back at the year with Trump certainly puts things into perspective for Americans everywhere. Are you happy with the way things have gone for the people of the United States? Or are you counting down the days until his removals truck arrives at the White House?