Donald Trump is set to be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, Jan. 20 as the country continues to lick its wounds from one of the most divisive elections in modern American history. President Barack Obama will soon leave office, raising legitimate questions and concerns about the next four years that can only be answered by the same uncertainty that has dominated the recent political scene. With many Americans in a state of perpetual unease, one can only wonder how so many have remained hopeful in the midst of such a toxic atmosphere. Even Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee who was once considered undefeatable, has retreated into a state of silence that has isolated tens of millions of fearful supporters. Results of the election were nothing less than a political whirlwind – prodigious in size and catastrophic for some.
Nevertheless, change won’t happen overnight under a Trump administration. We have a relentless system of checks and balances that would keep President Trump from changing the direction of the country on his own. He will have to overcome a slew of legal and congressional obstacles to implement some of his more ambitious proposals, including his plan to deport what could be around 11 million undocumented immigrants. Although the Senate will still be controlled by Republicans, the large Democratic minority will likely impede any pro-Trump immigration bill that comes its way. Without congressional support, Trump wouldn’t be able to reduce federal funding to sanctuary cities or triple the number of immigration officials as he originally pledged.
That leaves his other promises. Trump appealed to the common people with his anti-establishment rhetoric and enchanted tens of millions of disillusioned citizens with the promise of “bringing back jobs.” It was not uncommon for supporters to chant “drain the swamp” or “lock her up” at his rallies, the latter referring to Trump’s promise to appoint a “special prosecutor” to investigate Hillary Clinton.
However, in the weeks following the election, Trump not only dropped his plans to seek charges against Clinton but also proposed to maintain key aspects of the Affordable Care Act that he spoke so vehemently against during the campaign. While this may be good news (or not, depending on whose side you are on) for the 20 million Americans insured under Obamacare, it does seem to indicate some not-so-subtle differences between the candidate Trump and President Trump – interpreted by some as a sign of flexibility and condemned by others as an alarming knack for spontaneity.
Trump is already making history as we speak, but these next four years will determine whether or not he will be the leader everyone needs. If anything is certain, history will someday look back at this upcoming administration. Whether or not it will be remembered fondly is yet another uncertainty.
Israel Aragon is a sophomore majoring in psychology.