The USA’s ever-changing presidency

The politics surrounding the US has taken up more and more space in the sphere of world news as the decades have rolled around; and for very good reason. As one of the biggest global superpowers, the country has the ability in which the rest of the world designs itself, at least in the political sphere. In more recent years, there has been more and more of a mess made in US politics. At the heart of this mess, is the US presidency. The leadership of the country has changed hands many times since the time of Clinton, and with it, there has been increasing damage made to the foundations of democracy caused by the commander-in-chief. 

Americans, and many diplomatic services from around the world, expect the president to be many things; a diplomat unequal to those in power around the globe, commander of the biggest collection of armed forces in the world, the party leader, and most importantly, a motivational and inspiring leader that will live on in the memories of generations to come. However, it has become that many leaders in recent years have lost sight of that goal and only further the causes that are side by side with their personal beliefs and not on behalf of the American people. This has come up in many ways, starting with the end of Obama’s presidency in 2016 all the way to the current day.

Obama signing legislation in The Oval Office

44th President Barack Obama had his faults, such as the ethically-illegal camps found at Guantanamo. However, much of his policies in office were geared towards a better future for the general American public. Having inherited wars in the Middle East from the previous Bush administration, he had many difficult diplomatic decisions to make, and for the most part, made the right decisions. The administration did not come without its faults, as was mentioned above. He ballooned the deficit, he might have fast-tracked healthcare reforms without the proper infrastructure and so on. However, his mistakes were not as grand as those made by his predecessor. By the end of Obama’s 8-year term in office, the accusations made by his opponents in the 2016 race were beginning to gain traction and in all the wrong ways. 

Following the inaugural appointment of Donald Trump as the 45th President, it was clear that he, in many ways, did not realise what the position he had taken up would constitute of. He led the country as a businessman would, which had grave consequences for both the Republican party as a whole, as well as what little trust there was in American politics. To start with, he was the first president in US history that had no military or governmental position prior to taking office. Having made many misleading and, often, false statements in his campaign to run, he continued this during his administration. He hindered the effort of improving the beyond-broken healthcare system, signed a family separation policy that ripped families apart that were coming over the border to build a better life for themselves, and he reversed many decades-long environmental regulations, such as the Paris climate accord.

Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Arizona

To name a few, his handling of foreign affairs could be classified as worse than his domestic incidents. Pulling military aid in the Middle East with no forethought this would cause the image of the US, after having invaded the area in the first place to mediate peace. He also was hostile to EU leaders and denigrated the efforts of NATO, as well as bypassing his own security agencies to attend to the accusations made of the Russians hijacking his election. All this combined with how he would make speeches regarding the very people who supposedly voted for him has brought the image of the US into disgrace and, as a byproduct, brought around the unpopular opinions that many within the Republican party have been pushing for many years now. 

The Republican Party was not always known to be the political powerhouse of unpopular decisions that it is known as now. However, with the advent of recent leaders and their remarks, every decision that had been previously quashed has, one by one, been passed with more to come. The people that surround the president have a major impact on the laws that are passed during the administration’s time in office. An example of this can be seen in how he filled the positions in his office, such as Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General or John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security. Consequently, many people were fired during their time in office as they disagreed with his decisions or stood in the way of them. This, in turn, brought down the trust that many people held in the ideological framework of democracy in the US and freedom of speech as one of its pillars.

The other side of this, many left-wing and conservative voters now had a person in office that would allow them to fully form their views, a topic that will be covered in the next in the series.US politics have never been as much of a mess as it is at the moment. Even after Donald Trump left office in 2021, he left behind a wave of destruction that has been difficult to repair, especially with a relatively ineffective leader at its helm for the last 3 years, and the former president himself still gunning for office in the next election. This has created an air of discomfort and unsafety in the political ranks of the government, causing the general public to feel that their own country is not protective of their rights. As for the views from the rest of the world, leaders have said that they view America at the lowest it’s been, ever; which is a feat in itself, with the discontent with previous commanders-in-chiefs, such as Nixon or Johnson for Vietnam. However, it is to be seen if America’s battered world image can be rescued with some political moves by the next administration.