With President Donald Trump’s announcement to run for reelection in 2020, many have reflected on his presidency and his impact as America’s leader.
Political science professor Thomas Marshall said Trump has changed the style of presidency and people’s expectations.
Traditionally governors, senators and military figures have filled the presidency — but in recent years, unusual characters have voiced their interest in running for president, Marshall said.
Celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Cher, Kanye West and many others have teased the idea of running for president on previous occasions, yet none officially announced a campaign.
If I ran for President, would you vote for me?— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) April 8, 2019
I won’t ask you for any $.
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Beating Trump would be so easy.
Marshall said Trump is unique in the sense that he was the first celebrity businessman.
Physics senior Julian Beatty said Trump showed it’s possible to be elected without professional political experience.
The campaign for the presidency is essentially a popularity contest, Beatty said. Trump won, he said, because he had a strong message that appealed to the country at the time: “Make America Great Again”.
“I honestly don’t think the presidency has really been about qualifications for a long time,” Beatty said. “When was the last time we had a truly qualified, effective president?”
Architecture graduate student Joshua Abaya said people overdramatize or misconceive the president’s actual role in the country.
“The presidency has been almost brought to a monarchical level, where they’re almost the king of the country,” Abaya said. “We really have to look at them as a glorified representative, a glorified officer.”
Marshall said a notable difference from past presidents is that Trump doesn’t feel the need to be politically correct. His extensive social media usage is also rare among presidents, he said.
“His willingness to frequently go negative or to make publicly negative remarks about what might have been thought of as traditional supporters like foreign countries or alliances or members of his own administration sometimes, is unusual,” Marshall said.
Outspoken remarks are a characteristic now found across the country, he said. America has become confrontational as a whole, unafraid to voice its opinions.
“American culture has changed,” Marshall said. “What we’re seeing is polarization on both sides of American culture and a more brazen, outspoken culture on all sides.”
Although Trump is undeniably outspoken, Abaya said no one can blame a nation’s culture solely on its leader. A world view doesn’t come from a political figure, he said.
Everyone needs to find a way to educate themselves, Abaya said. Social media isn’t the best way to become politically informed.
“Trump and his rhetoric have exacerbated the problem when it comes to our rhetoric, when it comes to the way that we interact with one another,” he said. “But I don’t want to say that he started it.”
Beatty said it’s a refreshing change for America to have a leader who means what he says even if he can’t always turn his words into actions.
He said he is not concerned with Trump’s Twitter usage. Trump is a person just like everyone else, and he’s going to Tweet his opinions like everyone else, he said.
“It’s still probably the most powerful, influential role occupied by a single person in the world,” he said. “I don’t think it’s been devalued.”
When Trump goes down in history, Beatty said he might not be remembered for solving any problems. However, he could be remembered for pointing out problems and increasing awareness and engagement among Americans through Tweets and mainstream media usage.