Day 1: Inauguration
Today, Trump embarks on the most historically crucial period of a president’s term: the first 100 days. Or, if you’re inclined to indulge his latest whim, he’ll begin on Monday, because, “…I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration.”
The first 100 days represent a president’s “honeymoon period,” a span of time marked by an unequivocal sense of public optimism that presidents often use to easily pass items on their agenda. President Obama, for example, used his first 100 days to pass an economic stimulus package, sign a law requiring equal pay for women, and force congress to enact healthcare reform. As with many aspects of Trump’s presidency, no one is exactly sure how these 100 days will play out.
Trump does not come into office with the same widespread sanguinity as past presidents. Trump faces the lowest incoming approval rating (41%) of any incoming president since the Pew Research Center began collecting data in 1989 (for comparison’s sake, Obama came into office with a 72% approval rating, and had a 65% approval rating on his 100th day in office). Safe to say Trump’s honeymoon phase ended before it began, and maybe so has America’s.
Trump’s divisiveness has had an extremely polarizing effect on political and civil discourse. While many see Trump as the long-awaited savior of a systemically broken America, non-supporters view him as a narcissistic demagogue who evokes a time when anyone other than a straight, wealthy white man held second-class citizenship. The public’s broad skepticism, coupled with an agenda that differs from the overarching Republican platform, could limit Trump’s ability to capitalize on the historical benefits that the first 100 days typically brings. While Trump plans to repeal Obamacare, build a wall on the Mexican border, and withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, accomplishing these items without the support of the general public will be an interesting journey.