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 issuessuch as 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 examined it further, actually theclaim not entirely true.
Parlapiano et al (2017) informed thatthe drop in unemployment rate actually has occurred during Obama’s administration. When Obama ended his term of office inJanuary 2016, the unemployment rate was already at 4.8 percent. If Trump wants to show his own realachievement, he should able to break President Clinton accomplishment when he wasable to achieve the unemployment rate at 3.
9 percent in the end of his tenurein December 2000.2) Stock market conditionFromstock market condition side, Prof. Kubo shares 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 – to24,272.35 points 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 hewas right. But Parlapiano et al (2017) arguethis record exist more because the market, particularly investors are waitingand hoping for the real implementation of Mr.
Trump’s promises during hispresidential campaign which involves infrastructure expenditure, deregulation,and action on tax policy.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) was the 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. Zurcher(2016) argued that the other factor that makes Mr. Trump won the election wasthe effect of a deserted wave of Democrat’s white voters. Those voterscategorized as working-class white people-men and women- without collegeseducation. He also stated there werehigh numbers of rural 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%). 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 on all the facts above, manypeople think the US 2016’s election is about the battle between race, educationlevel, and age within US citizens. But the fact said the opposite way,particularly for the race issue, because many Trump’s voters actually had alsovoted for Obama in the previous election (Postrel, 2016). Moreover, Postrel (2016) also reported that thereasons why the Americans voted for Trumpwere because he is from outside the system and they want a change, similar withwhen they voted for Obama in 2008. f. 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 wealth. Trump alsoexplicitly accusing China of the country that ‘raping, the US. So, it isinteresting to watch whether this rivalry condition still continues or become apartner 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 even calledKim Jong Un as a “Rocket Boy” and stated that only waste of time negotiatingwith him.
So, we just wait and see, whether theWorld War III really occurs or not.3. Concluding RemarksPresidentTrump is a unique man, so unpredictable, and full of controversy, As Prof. Kubo mentioned in hispresentation, Trump is the first presidential candidate from the major party, inthis case, the Republican Party, that do not have political or militaryexperience since 1945. Butinterestingly, the Americans voted for him because they believe he can bringthe change that they need, particularly in the economic sector. Furthermore, in my opinion, as a successfulbusinessman, the way he governs US today is a reflection of how he manages hiscompany. 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.
PresidentTrump’s main slogans which are to ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘AmericaFirst’ really implemented in his policies. For example, the withdrawal of US from Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP)and Paris Agreement of Climate Change as mentioned by Prof. Kubo in hispresentation, reflects President Trump effort to protect the American economy(trade and businesses) From other countries intervention. So, no wonder many people said President Trump as an isolationist. But, interestingly, as explained by Prof.
Kubo, President Trump deny himself as an isolationist. He prefers to call himself as a flexibleperson. So, that why there is a tendencyof change regarding Trump’s foreign policy from ‘America First’ to ‘Peacethrough Strength’.Inmy opinion, the policies that taken by President Trump today actually has twomeanings. First, he seems reallydetermined to bring a security and prosperity for the Americans in all sectorsof life.
But, at the same time, probablythere are hidden economy motives such as securing his business empire alongwith his cronies interest by using the “America First” principle as adisguise. These opinions purely based onmy personal assessment regarding President Trump long experiences as abusinessman, which is for me significantly affect his way in governing Americaas I mentioned earlier.Finally,it is interesting for us to wait and see whether President Trump stillcontinues his controversial actions particularly in the context of his foreignpolicy, or this condition will be stopped permanently due to impeachment onhim.
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 significantlyundermine the image of US among other countries in the world.ReferencesKubo, 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. Parlapiano, A., Schwartz, N.D., & Yourish, K. (2017,August 4).
The markets 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. TheWashington 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.