As a libertarian, a classical liberal, someone who hates both political parties, I’m comfortable in saying that I have a more objective understanding of Trump and his presidency than most people. Democrats and left-wingers blindly hate Trump and many Republicans blindly support and defend every action Trump takes.
With a year under Trump’s belt it’s been a mixture of surprisingly good in some ways as well as extremely disappointing and saddening in other ways. Here are the positives and negatives of Trump so far as I see them.
- Trump’s enormous deregulation of businesses.
- Trump & Rand Paul’s collaboration on expanding competition and freedom of choice in healthcare.
- His Supreme Court pick of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
- Strong defense of gun rights and the Second Amendment.
- His delegitimizing of the sanctity and necessity of government, and how he has thrown a wrench into the political system.
- Trump’s pandering to nationalists, anti-immigrationists, and supporters of closed borders. They’re all wrong and need to read some economics.
- He has failed to make any meaningful cuts to government spending.
- His choice of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Do conservatives only support states rights when they aren’t in power?
- Trump’s blind, illogical support of civil asset forfeiture and the abusive level of power that police have.
- His enormous escalation of drone strikes and bombings. More civilians have been killed in 9 months under Trump than Obama killed in 2 years.
- His support for tariffs and economic protectionism. This will only hurt the American people.
- How Trump has flip-flopped on many of his “libertarian-esque” campaign promises and instead has given in to political pressure from the neoconservatives.
- The Trump administration’s decision, without Congressional approval, to keep US troops in Syria indefinitely and to pursue the removal of Assad. This isn’t a defense of Assad, rather a skepticism of regime change based on the numerous other failures resulting from US-backed government overthrows.
During the election I heard many Republicans say things like “Donald Trump is more libertarian than Gary Johnson” and the reason for that was due to Trump’s criticisms of past military interventions, his support for auditing the Federal Reserve, and his claims of support for free markets. Most of this hasn’t panned out yet.
Trump has done more bad than good. His actions with Jeff Sessions, anti-immigration, expansion of drone strikes and military intervention, and support for protectionist economic policies have led to more suffering than the good actions have alleviated. It's hard to even say if Trump is still a better choice than Hillary (which I used to strongly think), only because Hillary wasn’t an anti-free trade, closed-borders, populist, and with a Republican congress she would have faced heavy obstruction, for the better obviously.
Let’s hope that we’ve already seen the worst of Trump and that his best is yet to come.