America, Great Again?

—by Yash Sethia, Batch of 2023


“I, Donald John Trump solemnly swear …”

With these words, Donald Trumpthe billionaire real estate tycoon who is perhaps known more for his controversial tweetsbecame the most powerful and influential man of the free world. While some celebrated Trump taking office, many greeted it as one of the darkest days of American history and took to the streets, refusing him as their president. Even after getting 3 million fewer votes than Hillary, Trumpwith 304 electoral voteswon the presidential elections in 2016 and is up for re-election. The entire Trump campaign was permeated with controversies, yet the slogan “Make America Great Again” stood formidable and steered Trump to victory. So, we must ask ourselves, “Is America Great again?”


Countless Americans were convinced about the involvement of Russia in the US presidential elections, compelling the FBI to launch a formal investigation. The allegations were preposterous; still, what did our protagonist do? He fired the investigating officers along with the FBI Director because anything else would have made the story boring. It did fuel a new controversy—but if he cared about the controversies, he wouldn’t be in the Oval office. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity.


The entire Trump campaign was focused on the illegal immigration issue. The biggest controversy before and after the election was the ‘Wall’. Trump has mentioned in many of his public meetings that he will stop illegal immigration and seal the US-Mexico border. He promised to build his infamous wall.  

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” 

As expected, the democrats and media went after Trump. Now, a normal guy would stay away from controversies and would have simply apologized. But that’s what makes our protagonist different. Trump refused! He didn’t even regret saying this. Typecasting an entire community as criminals and rapists to win an election is new neither to me nor to 1.3 billion other people. But it was for the United States. Having said that, with his unyielding stance on immigration and H1B visas, he did produce the lowest unemployment rate of 3.4% recorded in September 2019 in US history.


In 2017, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un shook the world with his nuclear missile test. Nuclear power in the hands of a crazy dictator, accountable to none is a threat to world peace. Kim threatened to unleash his wrath on the US if they did not lift the sanctions. People all around the globe feared that this portended a world war. Things escalated when Trump responded with a warning that Pyongyang would “face fire and fury as the world has never seen.” Now, a war between North Korea and the US meant destruction the world has never seen. What does Kim have to lose? Nothing! When Pakistan threatens us with its Nuclear power, it expects the Indian government to act sensibly. But the problem with North Korea is that the ruler is a dictator. He is not bound to act sensibly. Luckily, nothing happened. Even though the Republicans can boast about how Trump strong-armed Kim, Trump is capable of creating a nuclear war zone, which is not something that can be taken lightly.


It is innocuous to say that these 4 years of his presidency have been 4 years of controversies. However, the Ukraine-Biden controversy was at par with almost all the other ones he had ever faced. According to a whistle-blower, the president pressured the Ukrainian counterpart into starting an investigation against a company having direct links with one of his political opponents and potential nominee of the Democrats for the Presidential election 2020Joe Biden. The allegations were so serious that the Congress passed the articles of impeachment against him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Given that the Senate had a Republican majority, outcomings of the Senate inquiry were predictable. 


Trump and his tenure have several things in common with the TV series, House of Cards. The only difference is that the consequences are real and tangible, with Trump being someone who is, in Underwood’s terms, ‘ready to hunt or be hunted’someone willing to do what others won’t; some strong-willed person who won’t regret anything. From firing the investigating officer to his version of ‘America Works’ in form of the Wall and the H1B visa, from Kim being his ‘Viktor Petrov’ to himself being impeached for abuse of power, the similarities are quite remarkable.


After considering everything, I can say that he is exceptionally good at marketing himself to the nation. He knows how to sell himself very well, and that is what brought him into the White House in the first place. Still, he is the most powerful man in the free world, and he needs to understand the consequences of every word he says, else the world is just one step away from absolute chaos.


As soon as the 2020 Election Campaign resumes, the president will be on the streets with the slogan “Keep America Great”. He will be trying his best to convince people that indeed he has made ”America great again!” and that all these allegations and impeachment was just a political stunt, a giant hoax. Nancy Pelosi tearing off his State of the Union speech will only strengthen his narrative. The only possible threat he has is the current COVID-19 crisis. With the number of infected people increasing exponentially, things aren’t looking well for Trump. Still, it is too soon for anyone to predict the impact it will have on ‘Brand Donald Trump’. “Make America Great Again” drove Regan in 1980 and Trump in 2016 to victory. But will it work once again? Only time can tell.