Donald Trump is driven by his pathological jealousy and hatred of Barack Obama. More than anything he wants to destroy Obama’s legacy. But Trump is going to fail.
I keep reading that Donald Trump is destroying Barack Obama’s legacy. But it’s not really true. Trump has been rolling back some of the Obama-era rules and regulations. But Trump cannot change all of the good that Obama did.
We’ve never had an American president so obsessed with, and insanely jealous of, his predecessor. He may be able to chip away at the edges of some of Obama’s accomplishments. But he’s completely delusional about destroying Obama’s legacy. As usual, Trump doesn’t understand the breadth or depth of what Obama actually did.
As Jonathan Chait from New York Magazine said,
“Very few people, even people who follow politics closely or professionally, have been able to hold in their heads just how much Obama accomplished… One of the most important elements of Obama’s legacy — indeed, at the time it was frequently said it would be the entire Obama legacy — was his response to the greatest financial crisis in 75 years. The stimulus, the stress tests that re-solidified the banking sector, and the auto bailout all collectively saved the economy from a second Great Depression. And all these measures passed in the face of total and frequently hysterical opposition from the entire Republican Party, along with many Democrats.”
The economy is not growing any faster under Trump than it did under Obama. The fact that Trump has been able to take credit for the strong economy shows how underappreciated Obama’s accomplishments were. Trump and the Republicans might have done a better job of forming the narrative on the economy. But they are not doing a better job on the economy. This boom is thanks to Obama. And, no matter what Trump says, he can’t change that.
It is true that Trump is rolling back some of Obama’s achievements on climate change and healthcare. But we shouldn’t overestimate the extent of Trump’s efforts.
“The $80-billion green energy investments in the stimulus stood up a massive expansion in green tech, from wind to solar to electric cars and more energy-efficient appliances. The plummeting cost of green energy gave world leaders the economic space to craft the first international climate accord.”
“Trump can’t unspend the green energy subsidies. He’s trying to undo Obama’s regulations, but courts are checking him, and market forces have stymied Trump’s desire to revive dirty energy, which continues to decline. The emissions targets reached in the first Paris accord were not ambitious enough, and were meant to set the table for continuous ratchets. Trump has thrown sand in the gears by pulling out of the accord. But while he has impeded progress, he has not stopped it, let alone restored the status quo ante. Political support for the Paris goals remains firm globally, and the economic basis for the developing world to follow a green energy path — rather than the dirty energy model the West followed — continues to brighten. Trump has been a speed bump on a path he cannot fundamentally alter.”
The same basically holds true for healthcare. Trump and the Republicans have chipped away at it around the edges. But the basic structure of Obamacare is intact. It’s far from the death spiral that Trump wishes for. And, in the future, after Trump is gone, the Dems will build on Obamacare and improve the law further. Trump can’t stop that.
“It may be fair to consider the durability of legacy achievements. But in this bitter partisan age, they will inevitably swing back and forth. A still photo of the Obama legacy under Trump, as if the political clock has stopped forever, is the opposite of a long-term approach. Will Trump’s vision of health care have prevailed over Obama’s, 50 years from now? His ideas about democracy and tolerance? Will textbooks afford Trump more reverence than Obama? That story remains to be written by us all. But I suspect it will not be the one the angry, jealous old man in the Oval Office hopes for.”