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By Bradyn Lawrence

Freshman, Georgia Southern University

Donald Trump’s legacy, even from the right-wing perspective, is complicated. Most would judge the man’s legacy on his performance in the last months of his presidency, and even more so considering the turbulent outcome of the last three weeks. It is important when analyzing his legacy, that the American Right give him a true evaluation, not simply one to inflate his popularity or shame him outright where shame is not due. My perspective will include his handling of issues from the economy to immigration, and whether his performance warrants a high grade from a right-wing standpoint. To set the tone for the rest of this piece, the grade I am giving Donald Trump for his performance is a solid B+. 

President Trump’s strongest boast is the economy, and when it comes to objective performance there is little to critique from a right-wing perspective. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is projected to grow the economy substantially even after the expiration of Trump’s term, at a 1.7 percent increase. Over the next decade, the growth is more pronounced, projected to increase by 2.86 percent. His next award for economic success comes from the marked drop in unemployment seen in the years before the ravaging of the pandemic. Even some of America’s most disenfranchised minorities have felt this growth, According to a jobs report in 2019, there are more Hispanic and African-Americans in the workforce than ever before. The mobilization of the labor market by President Trump is something to look back on with pride, given the Conservative focus on economic success. 

Over the last four years, President Trump has altered the course of our federal judiciary in ways that will have marked effects for the next few decades of American politics. By December of 2019, Trump’s nominees made up twenty-five percent of all US circuit court judges, with a record three Supreme Court Justices. For these accomplishments, a conservative like myself can only award him an A for this achievement. 

However, it is important to acknowledge his failures just as much as it is our duty to award him for his successes. One of his most notable being the failure to complete the construction of the wall. According to government estimates, only 452 out of the 1,954 miles of border wall have been completed. With the Biden administration’s move to halt construction, we can only look to this as a partial success, despite the four years he had to complete this task. One of the main focal points of Trump’s movement and the conservative movement more broadly has been the restriction of illegal immigration and cartel influence on our southern border. While every mile will contribute to this goal, it is unlikely to be resolved without a full construction. For this reason, I’d give Trump a D on immigration. 

One of the more controversial disagreements I will make with Trump’s record is his handling of legal immigration. While perceptively, it might seem that Trump has reduced the overall stream of legal immigrants to the United States, the effects do not line up with this conclusion. According to an analysis on immigration data, there has been no marked drop in the number of permanent immigrants, temporary foreign workers, international students, or asylum seekers. For an agenda predicated on an America First framework, this is one of President Trump’s worst failures. 

The area in which Trump often receives the most praise on the right is foreign policy. From my perspective, however, Trump receives mixed reviews. It is true that the normalization of relations between Israel and other Arab powers is a step toward long-lasting peace in the Middle East. However, I posit one of Trump’s many failures is his inability to pull troops out of Afghanistan and other countries. Our continuation of various proxy wars across the middle east has resulted in a destabilized region, with many countries like Yemen suffering because of it. Part of the America First foreign policy initiative is reorienting American foreign assets to deal with issues domestically. While the cartels rage at our southern border, it seems like we are more interested in a continuation of resource conflicts overseas. 

With all this in mind, it seems appropriate to grade Donald Trump’s presidency as a B+, from the conservative worldview.

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