Is Trumpism working for us?

The long-term viability of Trumpism might be linked to its success. Here’s a look at some of the high and low points of the ideology.

high points

Note: While you might not consider these “high” points–particularly if you lean left–we use this phrase to mark goals-met under President Trump.

conservative-minded judges

So far, Trump has installed two Supreme Court justices and 187 judges to the federal bench, all for lifetime appointments. Trump nominees now make up roughly 25% of all US circuit court judges.

tax cuts

Trump has cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%.

Supporters argue that tax reduction helps the economy because businesses potentially react by investing in operations, which leads to growth and employment opportunity.

criminal justice reform

The First Step Act reduces mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies and expands early-release programs. It reduces the differences in sentences for offenses in crack versus powder cocaine, long considered to be racially unjust. It includes more rehabilitation and job-training opportunities, as well as policies designed to treat prisoners more humanely.


ISIS’s caliphate–the land area that ISIS claimed–was defeated. Also, a US raid led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Baghdadi had been the world’s most wanted terrorist and his death represented a blow to the terrorist group.


President Trump’s willingness to confront China is largely seen as an important step toward addressing China’s business transgressions, though it has devolved into a near cold war and few China concessions have been made.

low points


President Trump is the third president in US history to be impeached.

The House approved two articles of impeachment, one for abuse of power over his attempt to compel Ukraine’s president to launch an investigation into his political rival while withholding Congressionally approved aid, and one for obstruction of Congress over his efforts to impede the impeachment inquiry.

coronavirus response

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was delayed and chaotic, and has included exaggerations, lies and head-scratching theories.

He said the coronavirus was not serious while experts said otherwise; he assured people that everyone would be tested even though there weren’t enough tests; he told the US public we are very close to a vaccine but it’s probably a year to year-and-a-half off; he promoted unproven theories about drugs and cures against his own science advisor (Dr. Faust) including hydroxychloroquine, a treatment widely promoted by Fox News; he encouraged people to protest against their own government to pressure local governments to reopen; he mocked Joe Biden for wearing a mask (and refuses to wear one himself); he did not heed the warnings from the Obama administration laid out in a pandemic forecast/report.

George Floyd protests

Protests, larger and longer than any we’ve seen in the US in over 50 years, have spread through every state of the country, and include diverse areas from liberal-leaning big cities to conservative-minded small towns.

President Trump’s desire to have a photo op at a DC church led to the forceful clearing of peaceful protesters in an event that has been broadly condemned across party lines.

dishonest claims

President Trump isn’t big on truth and facts, and has an extensive and well-documented record of overstating his accomplishments and recasting his missteps. According to the Washington Post, Trump has made more than 18,000 false or misleading claims.

We don’t seem to expect politicians to be consistently honest, but the number of dishonest claims from President Trump is unprecedented. Check out this NYTimes graph comparing number of lies, Trump versus Obama.


Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence that erupted during a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of a counter-protester.

He also said there were “very fine people on both sides.” This unwillingness to condemn white supremacists and violence has been repeated since then.

reputation internationally

Confidence in US leadership declined after Trump’s election according to a new report from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

The president’s tendency to push important allies away and isolate the US, including by pulling out of international agreements like the Paris climate accord, has contributed to this sentiment.

separating families at the border and treatment of children

The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families entering the US was condemned by the United Nations as a violation of rights and international law. It was also condemned by a majority of US voters, including both Republicans and Democrats. President Trump defended it, however, and falsely claimed that President Obama had a separation policy.


President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted in a distrust of US partnerships, an increase in enrichment activity in Iran, and no new deal on the horizon.

Additionally, Iran has been increasingly aggressive in the region, including a series of provocations that many feared could end in war.


President Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria is considered a disastrous foreign policy move. In doing so, Trump effectively abandoned the Kurdish forces, who had been US allies and first-line fighters against ISIS.

The withdrawal induced a humanitarian crisis and created a leadership vacuum that pushed Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into a closer alliance.

pushing division

He promotes divisiveness, and an us-against-them theme that alienates a huge group of Americans. Hatred, suspicion, name-calling and revenge are among his tactics.

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