Opinion; Post-Trump presidencies will never be the same

As Donald Trump’s tumultuous single term as president comes to an end, Americans should begin to look at the Trump administration in retrospect.  What impacts has the Trump presidency had on our country and our politics?

Not many people expected a President Trump. His victory in 2016 signified the divisiveness of the nation at the time, as he was only one of 5 presidential victories in which a president won the election but lost the popular vote. Now in 2020, Joe Biden has defeated the incumbent president and has become president-elect. But Trump’s legacy will not be forgotten, for better or worse.


Social Media

Donald Trump is not the first president to gain a following on social media both during the election, race, and his presidency. Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor, shot into the mainstream political scene in 2007, when the then-Illinois senator launched his candidacy for president under the Democratic ticket. With his messages of reform and a “Yes, we can” attitude, Obama began to take the internet by storm, far more than his opponent, Senator John McCain. With this boom in popularity, social media ended up becoming a great tool in his arsenal.

But no politician, even Obama, has used social media as Donald Trump has. Even years before Trump’s campaign was even thought of, Donald Trump had been a strong voice on social media, specifically Twitter. His social media presence ramped up during his widely publicized criticisms of and skepticism over Barack Obama’s roots and birth certificates.

As of 2020, @realDonaldTrump has Tweeted over 50,000 times, amassing a previously unheard of 88 million followers. While former presidents such as Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, have also been popular on social media platforms during their presidency, Trump has used these platforms like no other.

Whether it’s Trump retweeting his supporters or his attackers, he always seems to take one side over another. If someone online attacks him, he attacks back, friend or foe. If someone defends him, he defends them. This use of social media has certainly attracted its criticisms, however. Trump has tweeted criticised media such as making racist comments, attacking his critic’s reputations, and even downplaying our current pandemic, stating, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

But this platform has an upside, too. For better or worse, Trump has all his feelings, thoughts and policies displayed out on his Twitter for all to see. This unprecedented transparency is something that previous politicians have left their supporters and critics alike wanting. Donald Trump’s Twitter use surely will have an impact on future presidents, politicians, influencers, and people in general.


Attacks on the Press

Richard Nixon is well known for his controversies, from Watergate to his handling of the Vietnam war to his attacks on the press. With comments from Nixon such as, “The press is your enemy,” it is very easy to liken these statements to those from President Trump.

Since the beginning of his campaign, Trump has used the term ‘fake news’ to loosely describe any article, program, journalist, or even an entire network  or organization for creating and spreading stories that are either flatly untrue or even simply seen by him as damaging to his reputation or he doesn’t want to hear.

This shift from ‘fake news’ meaning exactly what it sounds like to meaning, “Don’t listen to them, trust me,” is a dangerous move from our commander in chief to spread propaganda and divisiveness throughout our country. This all began to come to a dangerous point, where, in late 2018, Trump began labeling journalists for organizations such as MSNBC, CNN and The Washington Post as, “enemies of the people,” and, “rude, terrible people”.

This has already taken its poll on the American people, who, before Trump, had trusted the news, regardless of bias or platform, relatively highly. Since Donald Trump’s presidency, however, trust in the news for all adults in the U.S., whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, has tanked. Republican’s trust in the media has especially taken a nosedive, from just over 30% to under 20% in the first half of the President’s first term, as reported by Gallup. Certainly Trump’s rhetoric of ‘fake news’ propaganda has taken its toll here.


Division in America

It’s no secret that America has always been divided. From those who stuck with the British against those who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War at the beginning of our country, to the Civil War of North vs. South, it seems as though the only thing that has changed today is the types of people fighting.

In modern times, political unity in our country is few and far between. Perceived Communists against a nation unwilling to accept them, politicians refusing segregation vs. those who wished to garner it in, Democrats vs. Republicans, and now Trump supporters vs. those who don’t support him.

But 2020 has raised tensions to a previously unseen level. A pandemic worsened by Trump who refuses to deal with it correctly, as well as racial tensions have pushed people over the limit, resulting in mass death and protests. But even in the face of these injustices, Trump finds ways to sow division in American citizens in ways never before thought possible.

Those who wear masks are confronted with those disillusioned with a president who tells them “not to let it control them”, making them far less likely to take proper protocols to protect themselves and others. Each side has blamed the other for all these issues, and unity is incredibly hard to come by.

Now, our president-elect is Joe Biden. Even now, President Trump is disillusioning his followers, making unfounded claims of election fraud, even though legal experts have negated these claims from the start. He has stated that, “(he) concedes NOTHING!” on his Twitter, making an even more divided country than we already have.



Donald Trump has been a highly divisive figure since he came into the mainstream. But as president, he has made some fundamental changes to the way politicians use social media to discredit the press and further divide our country’s union. This will have lasting consequences, positive and negative, for those after us. Whether things will fundamentally change in the near future, that’s anybody’s guess. But what our country needs is unity. And we shall hope that befalls us.