It has been exactly one year since I stood on the National Mall on January 20, 2017 and watched the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe my skepticism was entirely justified. If anything is true, I look back on my old posts and see that I wasn’t skeptical enough. Of all the voices in the Alt-Right, I can at least claim that I was one of the very first to stop drinking the Trump koolaid. I became sharply critical of Trump during the transition when I saw the nature of the Cabinet, the agenda that was taking shape and the attitude of the Alt-Lite which telegraphed what soon followed.
At the end of Year One, this is where we are now:
- Confederate monuments have been torn down throughout the South as the backlash against the Trump administration has been channeled into erasing history. There has been little pushback from the Republican Party outside of a heritage preservation law in Alabama and a few tweets.
- Doug Jones occupies Jeff Sessions’s old Senate seat which is a political feat that I considered impossible but which has been realized due to Mitch McConnell’s intervention in Republican primaries.
- The Alt-Right has been banned from every major crowdfunding platform.
- The Alt-Right has been censored on mainstream social media platforms (Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, YouTube).
- The Antifa violence at the Trump inauguration augured a massive uptick in leftwing political violence in the streets, not a crackdown or the return of “law and order.”
- The Overton Window moved as homosexuality was mainstreamed on the Right.
- The Alt-Right was unanimously condemned by the Republican Congress for the violence in Charlottesville.
- The Trump administration attacked the Syrian government. We have begun an indefinite occupation of parts of Syria because our aim is to oust Bashar al-Assad.
- The Trump administration has attempted incite a revolution against the Iranian government.
- The Trump administration has armed Ukraine.
- The Republican Congress voted to impose sanctions on Russia.
- Montenegro has joined NATO which has been declared “no longer obsolete.”
- Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel. Congress also voted to spend $770 million on Israel’s missile defense programs and defund the Palestinian Authority and United Nations over anti-Israel bias.
- Sholom Rubashkin has been released from prison after his sentence was commuted.
- President Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment is Larry Kudlow’s tax cuts which preserved the carried interest loophole and didn’t add a border tax.
- Most of the year was squandered on healthcare reform that went nowhere. Although the Obamacare individual mandate was gutted, the issue remains a political quagmire with expensive rates.
- There is no border wall.
- Deportations are down from a year ago.
- The trade deficit is up.
- Congress hasn’t passed an infrastructure bill.
- Congress passed a $700 billion NDAA which further bloated the military and set aside a $65 billion dollar slush fund for future overseas wars.
- Steve Bannon was removed from the White House and lost his perch at Breitbart.
- Jared Kushner and Gary Cohn won the power struggle in the West Wing.
If you think I am being overly negative here, I will grant you the following:
- ISIS has been destroyed. This was mainly due to Russia and Iran’s intervention in Syria, but it was also wiped out in Iraq which is something to celebrate.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead.
- Wall Street has been on a roll since the election.
- We pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.
- It appears there have been massive cuts to the refugee program. We’re on track to admit significantly fewer refugees in FY 2018.
- The US economy has heated up. Unemployment is down. More people believe the economy is doing well.
- There has been significant action on the energy front: ANWR has been opened up, the Keystone Pipeline was approved, the outer continental shelf was opened up to drilling.
- Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court. President Trump has appointed a record number of federal judges. There is still a question mark on how these judges will rule.
- The Muslim ban is now in effect in a limited form. Unfortunately, it applies to North Korea, Venezuela, Chad and Iran which aren’t known for producing terrorists.
- Fewer illegal aliens are crossing into the United States. There was a big dip in the first half of 2017. It has bounced back since then, but illegal immigration isn’t as big a problem as it was in the 2000s.
- President Trump has slashed regulations in a number of areas.
- In spite of all the bellicose rhetoric and aggressive posturing abroad, we have managed to avoid getting embroiled in a war in Iran, Syria and North Korea.
The overall picture that emerged in Year One of the Trump administration was a sharp pullback from the revolutionary nationalist populist rhetoric of the campaign and a sharp turn back toward the policies of mainstream conservatism. The MAGA agenda was shelved aside from the few moves that were made at the very beginning of the Trump administration when Steve Bannon was still in power – killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Muslim ban, cutting the refugee program.
After all the talk about the big uprising against globalism and political correctness, the Trump administration celebrated every politically correct holiday on the multiculturalist calendar and recommitted itself to all the existing globalist institutions from the UN to NATO to the WTO. Instead of huge tariffs and rightwing deportation squads, Chinese imports and immigration enforcement on the Mexican border hasn’t changed much under the Trump administration.
Basically, we haven’t gotten much of what we wanted, but things could be worse. The economy could have plunged into a recession. We could have stumbled into a war in Syria. Year Two begins with significantly less political capital in Washington as we hurtle toward the 2018 midterm elections. Year Two also opens in a defining moment for the Trump administration with ZOG’s Shutdown over DACA.
Note: OD is going to do a much better job covering every twist and turn of the Trump administration in Year Two.