The inevitability of the Trump Presidency is causing jitters among people across global borders. The unpredictable President-elect Donald Trump looks to be gearing up to tear apart President Barack Obama’s legacy. The year 2017 might see much of all what Obama achieved getting overturned by the flick of Trump’s pen especially with Congress firmly in control of the Republicans.
Trump had vowed to scrap many of the executive orders passed by Obama when he takes offices. Obama bypassed the Congressional impasse on several occasions to pass some key executive orders that formed the base of his progressive image as president. He also held out the Republican Congressmen with his veto pen on key issues of national interest. He passed key legislations for social and intellectual growth but convincing GOP senators was always difficult. The House was even more stubborn with Obama’s spending policy with Speaker Paul Ryan leading the opposition demanding for a more thrifty administration.
Obama prepares to leave office with probably the highest ratings for any outgoing president in recent history. Much of this popularity came for moves to protect rights of minorities, underprivileged, women, LGBTQ community, poor, same-sex couples, working class Americans, immigrants, hispanics, Cubans, Mexicans, college students and the socially and financially weak segments. He also advocated strongly on environmental conservation gaining popularity for his progressive ideas and capacity to challenge the sentiment in the automobile and energy industry in order to ensure climate safeguards are put in place. Meanwhile, he was able to revive the automobile and oil industry with tax incentives as a double win.
Some of these orders included averting deportation of minor kids of illegal immigrants living in the US, wage hikes for federal contractors, regulations on emissions from power plants, granting same-sex couples the benefits of Family Medical Leave Act. Trump can undo all of these orders with just a stroke of his pen. He may also default on his commitment towards the Paris Climate Agreement, an agreement that Obama advocated vociferously that aimed at controlling global warming and reducing the global carbon footprint with commitments from all partner nations that would turn legally binding after a point.
Trump will enjoy huge liberty to follow the agreements or ignore them. Also, he may find it difficult to disavow the Iran nuclear non-proliferation deal signed by President Obama after a lengthy period of arm wrestling with the tricky Iranian government bent on carrying forward with their nuclear weapons program. Some key allies of the US also made commitments for enforcing the deal and therefore Trump would face resistance in pulling out here. However, going by his words on NATO allies, it seems unlikely that Trump will pay much heed to allies over his own decisions.
He may also look to tear up the CAFTA, NAFTA and TPP free trade agreements if his review plans are not accomplished and will likely impose higher tariffs of 45 per cent on countries like China and Mexico for alleged trade abuses. Even the Republican Congress may pose some opposition in this regard by Trump seems strong enough to roll through.
He has been against, privacy on the Internet, encryption, net neutrality and other forms of internet freedom. He is pro-government surveillance and is likely to roll bank the FCC’s net neutrality rules imposed under the Obama administration. He is also likely to ramp up the CIA’s surveillance program along with dropping freedom to use encryptions over the digital domain. Obama administration’s Voting Rights Act is also most likely to go into cold storage and out the door once Trump comes to power.
President Obama had become endeared by the women of America for his family man image and his steps to promote women’s freedoms and equal rights. His steps for ensuring women’s rights to abortion were also challenged in court but not struck down due to gridlock of 4-4 in the Supreme Court on the partisan issue.
Trump’s appointment of a supreme court judge could mean that Roe vs Wade verdict that protected women’s rights for abortion may turn turtle. Obama’s attempts at regulating gun laws will also be history. When Trump appoints the Justice after the ratification of the Republican majority Senate, there could be expansive readings of the Second Amendment that would ultimately remove chances of any new restrictions on gun ownership. This would be the exact opposite of President Obama’s envisioned US where assault weapons were a thing meant to be banned for the public and not made easily available to them.
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Republicans have long wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 2010 and Dodd-Frank financial reform act. The former increases taxes so that healthcare for the poor Americans can be subsidised with the increased revenue. The latter tightly regulates banking practices as a result of the 2008 financial meltdown. The republican Congressmen have also tried to bring back tax cuts for the wealthy as implemented by George W. Bush jr. However, the cuts were rolled back in 2013 as a result of a compromise between the GOP and the Democratic Party.
President Obama has repeatedly vetoed these attempts during his tenure but Trump may not block their way. He may even be eager to see it through. Obama’s social services program also didn’t find favour with conservatives and may fly out the window. The budget blueprint for the Donald Trump administration will be the budget plan as laid out by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. That will mean that there will be massive cuts to medicaid, scientific research across institutions, medicare, food stamps, domestic spending etc. These tea-party inspired plans were blocked by Obama for eight years but Trump may have a change of heart and he may actually give them a open road for passage.
Obama brought in sweeping social, legislative, executive and financial and civil reforms during his eight years at the white house. Trump’s exuberance and indifference are in the line again to wipe the slate clean off Obama’s name and write his own in shimmering golden letters, befitting a President of his mould.