1. IntroductionIngeneral, the presentation by Prof. Fumiaki Kubo from The University of Tokyohighlights seven main topics:1) Currentsituation of U.
S economy under Trump’s administration, emphasizing on ofunemployment rate, stock market condition, and growth rate;2) US citizenopinions regarding Trump’s administration;3) The characteristics of US 2016’selections;4) Reasons why Trumps won 2016’s elections which comprise issues suchas why was Trump so popular? And the plight of working-class people factor(explains through case study in Scioto County, Ohio);5) US 2016’s elections voterscomposition and distribution; 6) Trump’s achievements so far (accomplished vsfailed); and 7) Trump’s foreign policy direction particularlyin the context of China, Japan, and North Korea.Thispaper attempts to discuss some important points regarding US Politics after the2016 presidential election based on Prof. Kubo presentation and other relevantsources, by also adding author personal opinions.2. DiscussionBasedon seven main topics above, I will emphasize my discussion on some importantpoints as follows:a. US economic situation under Trump’sadministration. 1) UnemploymentrateInthe context of the unemployment rate, Prof. Kubo in his presentation cites agraph from United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics aboutU.
S employment rate condition from January 2009 to October 2017. The graph shows a declining trend of theunemployment rate in the US since October 2009 (under Obama’s administration),from 10.0% (post-financial crisis peak) to 4.1% per October 2017 (one yearafter Trump’s inauguration). Thatpercentage claimed by Mr. Trump as his great achievement as he stated in histwitter as the lowest unemployment rate since 17 years.
But, if we looked at it further, actuallythat claim not all truly right. Parlapiano et al (2017) informed thatthe drop in unemployment rate actually has occurred during Obama’sadministration. When Obama ended his termof office in January 2016, the unemployment rate was already at 4.8percent. If Trump wants to show his ownreal achievement, he should able to break President Clinton accomplishment whenhe was able to achieve the unemployment rate at 3.
9 percent in the end of histenure in December 2000.2) Stock market conditionFromstock market condition side, Prof. Kuboshares data from Trading Economics.comthat show a significant increasing trend on Dow Jones Industrial Average from18,332.74 points on November 8, 2016-when Trump was inaugurated-to 24,272.
35points on November 30, 2017 (one year after the inauguration). In this context, President Trump claimed it as the highest stock marketrecord ever.I think at this point he was right. ButParlapiano et al (2017) argue this record exist more because themarket, particularly investors are waiting and hoping for the realimplementation of Mr. Trump’s promises during his presidential campaign whichinvolves infrastructure expenditure, deregulation, and action on tax policy.3) Growth rateIncontext growth rate, Prof.
Kubo shares data of US quarterly growth rate from2000 to 2017 from Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that show a relativelyfluctuated growth rate since Trump’s administration from around 1% to 3%. If we compared it with Obama’ administrationin the second quarter of his last presidential period, there is still nosignificant increment since then. But,President Trump thinks it differently. Asreported by Parlapiano et al(2017), based on the report by Commerce Department on July 28, 2017, whichinformed that the annual economy rate in the second quarter increased to 2.6percent, President Trump claims it as “an unbelievable number”. Eventhough, based on previous experiences, this number is actually not reallyspecial. According to Parlapiano et al (2017), since Ronald Reagen became apresident, the economy has expanded 2.6 percent or more in 81 of the 145quarters.
This number included 14 timeswhen Obama was a president. b. US citizen opinions regarding Trump’sadministration.Inhis presentation, Prof. Kubo also shares data based on Real Clear Politics(RCP) Poll Average, released on December 1, 2017, regarding the direction ofthe country about “Does US heading in the wrong direction?”. The data showthe majority of respondents said that the US is heading in wrong direction(around 60%).
Based on polling conducted on three different times (November 8,2016; March 17, 2017; and October 26, 2017), the percentage of respondents thatstated the US is in the wrong track was 61.9%, 52.7%, and 58.7% respectively. Meanwhile,the percentage of the opposite respondents (said the US in the right direction)was 31.
2%, 38.8%, and 32.7 respectively. One interestingfact that reported by www.cnbc.
com (October 7,2017) wasthe percentage of Republicans that optimistic about the countrydirection (heading to the right direction), which are 60 % in June 2017 declinedsignificantly merely 44 % in October 2017. Moreover, there were more than 60 % Americans that disapprove about howTrump managing the foreign policy, immigration, and race relations, among otherissues. d. Reasons why Trump won the US 2016’s electionInhis presentation, Prof. Kubo mentioned several reasons why Donald Trump becameso popular in the context of US 2016’s election such as the economic issue, hispersonal charm and future policy (anti-illegal immigrants, anti-free trade, andanti-internationalism), and strong desires for change within the Americans. Furthermore,Prof. Kubo explains, in context of strong desires for change, this situationtriggers by three main factors which are dissatisfactory about status quo,tired of democratic party rule for eight years, and the difficult condition ofwhite working class people. Similarto Prof.
Kubo explanations, McKernan (2016) also reported that based on exitpoll data, from the total of 70 % white voters, 58% of them voted forRepublican Party or Trump. Meanwhile,Zurcher (2016) informed that there was a deserted wave of Democrat’s whitevoters who voted for Trump. Those voters categorized as working-class whitepeople-men and women- without colleges education. He also stated there were high numbers ofrural voters turned out that affect Trump’s victory. But, for all the reasons explained above, forme, the hunger for change is the main reason why the Americans voted forTrump.
As reported by Postrel (2016)based on Amy Walter of CookPolitical Report observation, When voters asked about what is the mostimportant quality in a candidate, 39 percent of the said candidate that canbring change, which Mr. Trump embraced 83 percent of those voters.e. US 2016’s elections voters composition anddistributionBased on data presented by Prof. Kuboand data that I cited from www.
bbc.com (December 1,2016), in general, Mr. Trump won 47% of the vote compared to Ms. Clinton with48% vote.
In other words, thispercentage can be translated that the Republicans won 306 electoral collegevotes and the Democrats only won 232 electoral college votes. As reported by www.bbc.com (December 1,2016), Trump won seven key battleground states which are Florida (with 29electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), Michigan (16),North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), andNevada (6). Furthermore, based on source fromEdison Research for ABC News, AP, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News, www.bbc.com (December 1,2016) also reported that Mr. Trump was voted by 58% of white people from total70% white voters (only 37% voted for Ms.
Clinton). Meanwhile, Hillary Clintonmostly voted by Hispanic people (65%; Trump only 29%), Black people (88%; Trump8%), and Asian people (65%, Trump 29%). Another interesting fact, Mr. Trump was popularamong non-college-educated white men (seven out of 10 votes) andnon-college-educated white women (six out of 10 votes).Moreover, based on US Census, www.bbc.com (December 1,2016) reported that from 250 counties with most white people, 249 voted forTrump. From 250 counties with most old men, 241 voted for Trump.
Meanwhile, From 250 counties with most blackpeople, 144 voted for Clinton. Based onall the facts above, many people think the US 2016’s election is about thebattle between race, education level, and age within US citizens. But the factsaid the opposite way, particularly for the race issue, because many Trump’svoters actually had also voted for Obama in the previous election (Postrel,2016). Moreover, Postrel (2016) alsoreported that the reasons why the Americans voted for Trump were because he is from outside the system and theywant a change, similar with when they voted for Obama in 2008. So, once again the desire for change was themain reason why the American voted for Trump. f. Trump’s administration achievements so farInhis presentation, Prof.
Kubo also mentioned about President Trump achievementsso far, which ones that already accomplished and which ones that failed. For example, in accomplished achievementcategory, he mentioned about the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as the AssociateJustice in the US Supreme Court, the withdrawal of US from the Trans-PacificPartnership (TPP) and the withdrawal of US from the Paris Agreement of ClimateChange. Meanwhile, in failed achievementcategory, Prof. Kubo mentioned about the failure of Trump’s administration inimplementing the immigration ban and in repealing the Obama Care program.Inthe context of Gorsuch -a 49-year-old federal judge in Colorado- nomination,Mr. Trump select him due to his age and his conservative view about governmentover-regulation. These factors areimportant for Mr. Trump to help and smooth his agenda of strengtheningconservative majority in court for long period and to reduce governmentregulations particularly in businesses (Abramson, 2017; Jackson, 2017).
Moreover,in context of US withdrawing from TPP and Paris Agreement of Climate Change, inmy opinion, is basically only about saving the existence of American economy -trade and businesses -, if refers to Trump’s slogans during his campaign whichis ‘America First’ and ‘Make America Great Again’. Trump believes the US should control theirown economy to achieve prosperity for its citizens by freely choose thecountries that they want to negotiate and cooperate with, without any intervention. These actions really confirm what many peoplesaid that Mr. Trump is an isolationist.g. Trump’s foreign policy direction particularly inthe context of China, Japan, and North Korea.Asreported by Rauhala and Roth (2017), in context of China, Trump already notedthis country since his presidential campaign and during his administrationtoday as US main competitor along with Russia.
Mr. Trump uses words such as ‘rival power’ for both countries andconsidered them “seek to challenge Americaninfluence, values and wealthTrump also explicitly accusing China of the countrythat ‘raping, the US. So, it is interesting to watch whether this rivalrycondition still continues or become a partner in the future.Moreover, in context of Japan, in hispresentation Prof. Kubo explains several issues related to US-Japan relationsuch the fate of TPP, the operation of Freedom of Navigation, Article 5 aboutUS-Japan Security Treaty and Senkaku Islands, and also about the covering costof US troops in Japan (75% or 100%).
Prof. Kubo also questioning whether President Trump knows about Article6 regarding Japan’s New Security Legislation on the right to collectiveself-defense and also the fact about 900,000 jobs creation that contributed byJapanese firm’ in the US. Moreover, Prof.
Kubo also describes the US-Japanrelation as an Asymmetrical Alliance regarding both countries rights andobligations (i.e. the US obligates to defend Japan but not with Japan, and theUS has a privilege to use Okinawa as their military bases not only fordefending Japan but also for other objectives). So, we just watch how this alliance will bedeveloped in the future under Trump administration, particularly regardingNorth Korea issue.Lastly, in context of North Korea,Prof.
Kubo explains that PresidentTrump had already shown his clear position about North Korea through sanctions,military pressure, and put North Korea again in the list of countries thatsupported terrorism. Mr. Trump evencalled Kim Jong Un as a “Rocket Boy” and stated that only waste of timenegotiating with him. So, we just wait and seewhether the World War III really occurs or not.
3. Concluding RemarksPresidentTrump is a unique man, so unpredictable, full of controversy, and actually donot have anyexperience in politics before. As Prof. Kubo mentioned in his presentation, Trumpis the first presidential candidate from the major party, which is theRepublican Party, that do not have political or military experience since1945. But interestingly, the Americansvoted for him because they believe he can bring the change that they need,particularly in the economic sector. Furthermore, in my opinion, as a successful businessman, the way hegoverns US today is how he manages his company, which is not surprising due tohis background. Moreover, this kind ofbusinessman behavior, which is mainly more focusing in getting and maintainingthe profit for the sustainability of its company, by using any kind ofopportunities and strategies even though they are controversial, reallyreflects on Trump’s administration today.
Trump’smain slogan during his presidential campaign which is ‘Make America GreatAgain’ and ‘America First’ really confirm America direction under Trump’sadministration for at least four years ahead. Mr. Trump wants to confirm that he wants to reestablish the dignity ofAmerica as one of the great nations in the world again by protecting Americafrom all kind of threats, especially from abroad such as illegal immigrants,terrorism, other countries domination, particularly in the economic sector andso on. So, no wonder many people saidMr. Trump as an isolationist. But,interestingly, as presented by Prof. Kubo, Trump deny himself as anisolationist. He prefers to call himselfas a flexible person.
So, that why thereis a tendency of change regarding Trump’s foreign policy from ‘America First’to ‘Peace through Strength’.Forme, the policies what Trump doing today actually has two meanings. First, on the surface, he seems real to wantto bring a security and prosperity for the Americans in all sectors oflife. But, at the same time (the secondmeaning), he is likely want to secure his business empire along with hiscronies interest by using the “America First” principle as a disguise. These opinions purely based on my personalassessment regarding Trump long experiences as a businessman, which is for mesignificantly affect his way in governing America as I mentioned earlier.Asa conclusion, it is interesting for us to wait and see whether President Trumpstill continues his controversial actions particularly the in context of hisforeign policy, or this condition will be stopped permanently due to impeachmenton him.
As we all know, North Korea andMiddle-East countries (Israel versus Palestine regarding Jerusalem) were thehottest issues today related to Trump’s foreign policy which is significantlyundermine the image of US among other countries in the world.ReferencesAbramson, A., (2017, April 25). Here are President Trump’s 3biggest achievements in his first 100 days.
Time.Retrieved December 27, 2017, from http://time.com/4748860/trump-100-days-achievements/.Jackson, D., (2017, February 1). Why Trump chose NeilGorsuch as his supreme court nominee.
USAToday. Retrieved December 27, 2017, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/31/donald-trump-neil-gorsuch-antonin-scalia/97306468/Kubo, F. (2017, December 4). U.
S politics after the 2016 presidential election. Material presented at GRIPS Forum in NationalGraduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) Tokyo, Japan. Mckernan, B., (2016, November 9). The real reason peoplevoted for Donald Trump.
Independent. RetrievedDecember 27, 2017, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/president-donald-trump-why-people-voted-for-republican-wins-us-election-2016-a7407541.
html.Parlapiano, A., Schwartz, N.D., & Yourish, K.
(2017,August 4). The market are up, unemployment is down. How much credit shouldTrump get?. The New York Times. RetrievedDecember 20, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/04/business/economy/the-economy-under-president-trump.html.
Postrel, V., (2016, November 10). Trump won election becauseAmericans wanted change.Miami Herald. RetrievedDecember 27, 2017, from http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article114030208.
html.Rauhala, E., & Roth, A. (2017, December 19).
China leftwondering what ‘American First’ foreign policy actually means.The Washington Post.Retrieved December 27,2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/rival-china-left-wondering-what-america-first-foreign-policy-actually-means/2017/12/19/ad76bc8a-e43a-11e7-927a-e72eac1e73b6_story.html?utm_term=.160f3804d61d.US election 2016: Trump victory in maps (2016, December 1)?.
BBC. Retrieved December 27, 2017,from http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37889032.Zurcher, A., (2016, November 9).
US election 2016 results:five reasons Donald Trump won.BBC. RetrievedDecember 27, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37918303l.