The legacy of Trump
Perhaps the lasting legacy of the Trump presidency will be a reassertion of the three co-equal branches of government. The most obvious effect of his time in office could well be within the judicial branch, which he has remade in a much more conservative mode.
However, the trend of populism in America is still at a crossroads. There are elements of both left- and right-wing ideas, but the core of this movement is a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. Both President Trump and the wave of liberal women entering the halls of Congress share the populist mantle. While there may be systemic differences in the political and social views of the disparate wings of this groundswell movement, there are many elements of mutual concern which, in the end, might give them common cause. Term limits, the rights of the individual, the role of the “little man,” economic reform, rejection of gridlock, and a renewed interest in the political process itself are just a partial list of these.
As these act themselves out on the national level, the process is often dirty and angry. However, past movements of similar origin have eventually melded themselves into a strong, if not always harmonious, engine for real change. The president’s ardent supporters are frustrated by the pushback of the Democratic House, but they, along with other elements of populism, may find that Congress is the most accessible and readily influenced branch of government. Term limits, voter participation, and social media give opportunity to send rapid and clear messages to House and Senate members.
With a resurgence of the checks, balances, and oversight by Congress, the government just might re-establish the Constitution’s intent found in its first three articles.