The Positive Effect of Donald Trump on the American Political System

By Raymond Brewer-Posey

Opinion Staff Writer

rbrewerp@unca.edu

The spectacle of the Trump administration has gained the full attention of the American people in a way that rivals the best reality television show. And that is a good thing.

Opening up the office of the president through media saturation, endless investigative articles and even his own shameless tweets allow the American people to see the chief executive in a historically unprecedented way. The importance of the news media in a democracy, where ideally an informed public makes decisions, cannot be understated

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in the U.S. Cellular Center in the fall of 2016. Photo by Nick Haseloff

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Since the beginning of 2017 the president has referred to the news media as either “fake” or “failing,” attempting to berate them for pursuing stories he does not like or stories that frame him in a negative light. Ironically, the amount of attention he has given them has breathed new life into the industry.

The Economist reported since the election shares of the “failing” New York Times Co. have risen by 42 percent and cable news networks like Fox, MSNBC and CNN have increased their viewership by 40 percent or more. It seems the American people cannot get enough of Trump and have been paying attention to the news because of him.

Boosting the popularity of the news industry is not the only effect Trump’s brought onto the American public. His outrageous views energized liberal opposition, increased activist engagement and brought civil rights issues to the forefront of the national conversation.

“Donald Trump has invigorated the left wing of the Democratic Party in ways I have not seen since the Vietnam War,” said Mark Gibney, professor of political science at UNC Asheville.

In an election cycle that featured two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in American history, Donald Trump won by a slim margin. However, if it had been Hillary Clinton, nothing would have change

People crowd at the Trump rally. Photo by Nick Haseloff

d for the general public and many issues would not have the attention they do now.

The presence of Donald Trump destroyed the Democratic party’s apathy, while his notoriety comes at a price for the GOP. Republicans who take pleasure in Trump’s petty attacks on the media or his childish Twitter rants should consider the impact this will have on the Republican party.

“As a Republican, I think that Donald Trump’s presence as president shines a bad light on the Republican party. He is the extreme of the Republican party. He represents what is wrong with the Republican party’s beliefs,” said UNCA junior psychology student Paige Henley.  

Trump’s presidency will haunt the Republican party for years to come, especially among younger voters who generally have memories of only two presidents: the well-spoken president Obama and vicious president Trump. The same dynamic that fueled the popularity of Ronald Reagan and subsequent Republicans after Jimmy Carter, an unpopular Democratic president, will work against the Republican party in the modern era in the wake of the most unpopular president in American history. Donald Trump has been good for the United States, but not in the way he intended.

 

 

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