The Trump administration, in spite of not logging a major legislative victory, has been able to make significant policy gains with key judicial and administrative appointments, and by aggressively using the executive’s powers to roll back Obama administration regulatory overreach and abuse of executive orders.
Yet, just as important as this policy progress is how Trump continues to reshape expectations for how Washington works.
Key among these are:
Changing the Conversation to How Things Get Done, Not IF They Will Get Done:
Washington insiders snicker at the dysfunctional relationship between the Hill and the White House, on which they blame the failure to repeal ObamaCare and pass immigration reform.
Yet Trump voters see a president who is unwavering and undeterred in pushing his agenda and getting things done, one way or another. The wall is being built, even if Congress won’t pass specific funding for the project. He’s going to keep issuing guidance restricting access for those from terrorist-heavy countries until one is okayed by the judiciary. And he’s going to keep chipping away at ObamaCare’s worst aspects while he waits for Congress to get its act together on repeal and replace.
The media and left dismiss this as Trump stubbornness and an inability to accept failure; but his supporters recognize this as a dogmatic commitment to progress, and love him for it.
Snip! The media and establishment politicians only note Trump’s rhetorical excesses, which they see as off-putting to many Americans. They forget that for every outrageous Trump tweet, there’s a dozen apoplectic ones voters see coming from Democratic politicians, activists, and the mainstream media, which leave them hemorrhaging credibility.
Media organizations like The New York Times, and increasingly the Washington Post, as well as all the major network news broadcasts, aren’t viewed by most Americans as a source of objective news, but rather as another source of intensely hostile partisan critiquing.
Tom Steyer’s recent anti-Trump ad, for instance, is the gift that keeps on giving: That activists routinely compare this president to Hitler and suggest he’s mentally ill means that those charges are now just so much over the top noise and, to Trump supporters, confirmation of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The Trump administration need not fear stirring the wrath of the left: That wrath is as reliable and as un-notable as the rising of the sun each morning. Indeed, President Trump encourages it. He understands that after decades of Republicans trying to win over mainstream media and tiptoeing around the left, this lack of fear is exhilarating to Trump voters.
Saying What He Thinks:
The left bemoans that Trump just says "whatever he thinks," which they see as dangerous. It is dangerous — but mostly for their cause. The mainstream media and the academic left has long been able to dictate the boundaries of the public’s conversation, and are frustrated that Trump won’t play by their rules. Not only does he fail to follow the strict codes of political correctness, but he continues to speak directly to the people, end running the usual media filters, and in doing so controls the narrative.
Creating a Whole New Industry for Liberals:
Trump has been highlighting all of the companies that are moving their headquarters back to the United States as well as the steady increase in job creation, which he rightfully sees as evidence of the restoration of America as the land of opportunity and an outcome of his Making America Great Again agenda.
Yet here’s a job boom that he hasn’t taken credit for, but could: The left and mainstream media early on objected to Trump's tweeting and wanted it stopped, until they realized that they could capitalize on it. The liberal media has been acting on their basest capitalist instincts to engage those angry with Trump to build their audiences and cash in with more advertising dollars. They may not publicly acknowledge it, but Trump’s tweeting is a cash cow for the left and a gift to morning television everywhere.
One year into this presidency, the president is continuing to make major strides in installing a conservative judiciary, rolling back the administrative state and moving forward on key policy promises, such as tax and healthcare reform. At the same time he is continuing to completely reshape how our politics operates, which will likely be one of his first term’s most important legacies.
Heather Higgins is CEO of Independent Women’s Voice.