"Make America great again!" This tagline saw Donald J. Trump elected as America's 45th president in the election of 2016. He ran on a ticket of "draining the swamp", "building a wall", and "keeping my promises". No one took him seriously. Just about every news outlet said he would never beat Hillary Clinton. They were all very wrong.
Donald Trump was born the son of real estate developer, Fred Trump, in 1946. He graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. His meteoric rise to stardom began with him becoming president of his father's real estate business in 1971, renaming it "The Trump Organisation". He expanded the company's operations to building and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses.
Politically, Trump was described as populist, protectionist, isolationist, and nationalist. He became president without ever having served in the US military or government service. Right out the gate, his presidency was controversial, with a special counsel, Robert Mueller, leading an investigation into the so-called "Russia gate" – the assertion that Russia had allegedly interfered in the 2016 election to favour the election of Trump. What followed was four years of never before seen division in the United States.
Now, as asserted in the title of this blog, I happen to think that Donald Trump was a fantastic president. That is not to say that I think he's a great guy. Who could forget him mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski in 2015, making ridicule of his arthrogryposis. He clearly doesn't think much of people like me, people living with disabilities. And then, of course, being caught on a live mic bragging about grabbing women "by the pussy". I feel sorry for his wife.
But, in spite of all these terrible character flaws, he had distinguished himself as a businessman long before he became a politician. And, as a businessman with a businessman's mind, he turned the United States around from what it was becoming, that is to say, a pseudo-socialist state offering no incentive for what has made America great in the first place. I remember the 80s. I remember the tenure of then-President Ronald Reagan. It was a time where, even as a boy, I recognised America to be great. Back in those days, America was a force to be reckoned with. A country to be respected. Apart from making history as America's first black president, Barack Obama brought very little to the White House to recommend America is the greatest nation on earth.
To my mind, the 2020 election was stolen. Yes, I said it. But, then again, it was not the first to have this cloud hanging over it. Think back to the 2000. Al Gore famously lost out to George W. Bush in an election where the presidency came down to one state's results - Florida. Also, as previously stated, Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016 too was characterised by suspicions of malfeasance.
What amazed me, ultimately, is what America finally got with the left's "anyone but Trump" call to action. Joe Biden, became the 46th president of the United States, a man who was clearly coming toward the end of his time as someone who I might call cerebrally able. He was clearly suffering the initial stages of dementia, causing him to shake hands with people who clearly weren't there, chase after ice cream trucks during outdoor press conferences, causing me to feel very sorry for his wife. She clearly had more of a toddler on her hands than a husband. More worrying, were his political policies and his implementation of these. He seemed determined to remake the American voter demographic by allowing more than 2 1/2 million illegal immigrants to cross the southern border, unchecked, in his first year of office. His approach to crime was laissez-faire in the extreme, that is to say, he treated criminals as people who have been wronged in the first place and were therefore excused of culpability of any kind within the US justice system. To my mind, however, his most worrying act was his weaponisation of the FBI against American citizens, and trying to muzzle dissent on social media by actually creating a "ministry of truth". He had become an Orwellian villain straight from the pages of 1984.
By contrast, Donald Trump had, in four short years, remade the United States into an economic powerhouse. He was pro-business, pro-jobs, hawkish on immigration, and very pro-veterans and all things military. One could see in his dealings with foreign nations and their leaders that he was someone to be reckoned with. Nobody wanted to take him on. He was the strongman that America had been wanting for decades. And, yes, he was incredibly divisive. It is for this reason, as much as I think he's a great leader, that I believe he should remove himself from the 2024 election race. For a nation to thrive, it needs to stand together. For America to be truly great again, the people will be the vehicle that take them there and this can only happen when ALL the people stand behind the person in charge, be they left or right leaning.
I believe that the Republican party has leaders within its ranks that can lead the United States most ably. People like Ron DeSantis. People like Kari Lake. People like Ted Cruz. Even an ex-lefty like Tulsi Gabbard. I believe that there are great moderate leaders on both sides of the aisle who are young, energetic, and forward thinking. That is not to say that Donald Trump's policies or ideas should be abandoned, but that non-divisive personalities should take them forward into the next decade and beyond. Ultimately, America should be, to quote their pledge of allegiance, "one nation, under God, with justice and liberty for all."