Since Donald Trump became president, the past several years have been… “trying,” to put it mildly. Trump’s a man who, until the election, was (to me) some 80s trivia question that made a comeback with a reality show I didn’t watch.
Political policies aside, Trump’s been particularly aggravating in that he represents everything negative about the United States as a country: he’s racist, sexist, corrupt, boorish, anti-intellectual, bullying, egotistical, poorly educated, and thin-skinned. He’s not just an unqualified and bad leader—he’s a bad human being, period.
As such, I’ll be glad he’ll be back out of political power after Wednesday’s inauguration. (The odds look slim of him running for re-election in 2024.) I thought I’d look back at the Trump-related posts I wrote over the last few years, and see how they’ve panned out since.
Clinton vs. Trump on tech issues?
Early in the election, Engadget did a report on how each of the candidates fared on tech issues, ranging from net neutrality to immigration (and work visas). Clinton earned a “B,” while Trump earned a “D-.”
Current status: As shown below, the Trump administration hasn’t been a good thing on a tech issue standpoint, as feared even early in the election cycle.
Trump’s rhetoric boosted sales of John Lewis’ “March”
Four years ago, the late congress member John Lewis said he wouldn’t attend the Donald’s inauguration. Predictably, Trump responded with insults about Lewis. However, said insults ended up drawing attention to the “March” graphic novel trilogy, sending their sales skyrocketing.
Current status: Lewis sadly passed away in 2020. “March,” however, continues to sell well in bookstores. Meanwhile, Trump’s inauguration, despite Trump claiming it’d be a record-setting crowd, saw at most 600,000 people attend according to Vox. Meanwhile, Obama’s inaugurations saw 1.8 million and 1 million in 2009 and 2013 respectively.
Trump advisor urges cutting PBS funding
In 2017, one of Trump’s advisors, budget director Mick Mulvaney, argued that government PBS funding should be eliminated. While not a new argument (It’s been one conservatives have argued for for years), what was new was the rationale given. Mulvaney felt single mothers in Detroit would rather be paying for military funding instead of public broadcasting.
Current status: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is still receiving some government funding (about $445 million a year), and PBS/NPR continued to be one of the bright spots of journalism during the Trump years. Meanwhile, US defense spending is still gargantuan; for 2020, it was $732 billion, more than the next half-dozen nations (including Russia and China) combined.
The FCC repeals net neutrality
The FCC’s chairman, former Verizon employee Ajit Pai, led a move to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules. The argument is they supposedly weren’t needed, and that the free market would take care of everything.
I noted the multiple reasons why repealing net neutrality’s a bad idea, as well as the motives of A) Trump’s general efforts to “disappear” anything his predecessor passed and B) there’s little or no competition for broadband for most Americans.
Current status: As expected, the repeal passed, and the internet’s not exactly better for it. As expected, conglomerates are exempting their own streaming services from data caps—AT&T is exempting HBO Max from data caps for AT&T broadband customers.
That said, the possibility exists of a Democrat-controlled Congress passing more useful net neutrality regulations.
Trump wants CNN and NBC’s (nonexistent) FCC licenses revoked
Trump’s railed against media and journalism, especially anything questioning or reporting negative news about him, from day one. This extends to Trump occasionally expressing a desire to have the FCC revoke the broadcasting licenses of networks like NBC and CNN.
Of course, as I noted, networks don’t have FCC licenses–individual TV stations do. I also outlined how a TV station would have their license revoked. They mostly have to: engage in fiscal corruption; be ineptly run (causing broadcast interference, etc.); or fail to serve the public interest, such as racist practices (in the case of the one TV station to lose their license over such). Basically most of the things Trump’s done as a businessman/leader. Reporting negative news about the president isn’t grounds for TV stations losing their license. Imagine Watergate if Walter Cronkite wasn’t allowed to report anything negative about Richard Nixon.
Current status: CNN and NBC (and NBC’s handful of owned-and-operated TV stations) are still here, of course.
Trump and Twitter
Trump’s made Twitter his mainstay through his campaign and presidency. Social media’s advantages, of course, include an easy ability to reach out to a base of followers, as well as not having to worry about being questioned by reporters. (And of course the ability to make insults about any reporters who actually do so.)
Still, despite his massive ego, Trump even at his peak was never the most popular political leader (current or former) on Twitter—that was still Barack Obama. I imagine that must’ve bothered Trump; much of his platform is premised on claiming superiority to, and appealing to people mad about, a Black man who was president for eight years (and more popular than the Donald).
Current status: Things went quickly south for the Donald online as 2020 wore on. After goading his followers to riot at the Capitol building a few weeks ago, things are now much worse—he’s completely banned from Twitter, along with most other social media platforms. Meanwhile, Obama’s Twitter account currently holds over 128 million followers.
Trump blames mass shootings on… video games
In 2019, after back-to-back mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, Trump stated a major cause to blame was… video games. Not the US’ lenient gun control laws, obsession with firearms, or White supremacist activity, but apparently the PlayStation and Xbox.
Blaming video game violence for the real world variety’s long been an easy target for politicians. However, I pointed out that: at this point, the average person’s grown up with video games or had them for the majority of their lives (unlike Trump/Baby Boomers); video games are a multi-billion dollar industry; and that Baby Boomers grew up with Hollywood/media in general holding a death-grip hyper-obsession with cowboys and Westerns (which were also violent).
Current status: Video games are pretty much unchanged. If anything, sales are booming thanks to the Nintendo Switch and games like “Animal Crossing,” plus the pandemic forcing people to stay home and find entertainment of some sort.
“Black Lives Matter Mural Painted On Fifth Avenue In Front Of Trump Tower New York City” by Anthony Quintano is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)