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Post-Midterm Elections: The Great American Divide

An assessment of Trump’s presidency and his waning popularity

In 2016, the United States of America shocked the world by electing the most unexpected president in its history. Trump’s disposition has been widely criticised and the popular media has labelled him as a brash, racist hypocrite. Yet, one must acknowledge that against all odds, Trump won the presidential election. This begs the question: how did such a person become the most powerful individual in the ‘land of the free’?

Upon closer inspection, however, it is apparent that while many people disliked his brash persona, the people mainly voted for Trump due to economic reasons. Trump’s economic policy targeted the gap in Obama’s work, capitalising on what the people wanted the most: bringing back jobs to the masses. Through his charisma, Trump gave people confidence that he would not back down from other countries, which was appealing to many who believed that Obama’s cooperative and diplomatic approach had let them down. Furthermore, Trump had an excellent publicity campaign which promised tax cuts and deregulation to boost businesses in America. The success of his campaign was evident as he secured landslide victories in states with heavy industry, such as Alabama and Louisiana. However, many voters were ignorant of the fact that there lay an economic issue with Trump’s promise which made it unworkable in the long run. Heavy industry and factory jobs which brought America an economic boom in the 1900s have since become largely redundant due to technological advancements. Therefore in reality, these jobs are essentially obsolete and Trump was simply stringing his blue-collar worker base along.

Fast forward to 2018, this year’s midterm election had a record-shattering turnout, spurned by the democratic resurgence and Republican defence. As expected, Republicans remained in the majority in the House of Representatives while Democrats claimed majority in the Senate. Although there have been calls to impeach Trump over the past two years, a case for impeachment can only be brought by the House of Representatives, which has always been a Republican stronghold. Nevertheless, midterm polls indicate that Trump’s popularity has fallen since 2016.

Why has this happened? In the lead up to midterms, Trump was keen to offer new pledges to get support from Republican majorities, including tax cuts, lower prescription drug prices, and tougher border policies. However, no concrete evidence was provided to show that these plans would actually be put into practice. Neither White House administration or Congress could give any details on the middle-income tax cuts promised. Also, if Trump was to proceed with his pledge to cut medical costs that Medicare currently pays for, this is likely to provoke backlash from pharmaceutical giants. Ironically, Trump signed the fewest bills into law in his first month than any other president and has (even more ironically) faced a wall in putting his policies into practice.

A Divided America

By examining voter demographics in the midterm elections, it becomes apparent that Trump’s administration faces many problems in the future. The three main elements which seem to define voting choices are: education level, immigration status and news sources. These dividers create fundamental problems for both political parties. According to WSJ, the Republicans demographic mainly consists older, white Americans, mostly without college degrees, who are a shrinking percentage of the population. In contrast, democrats are clustered in cities and suburbs, hampering their chances in rural districts. In terms of education, the U.S. Census shows that Republicans have lost nearly 30% of its educated suburb voter base since 2010, and their share of House seats won by individuals with the highest attainment of education has fallen from 50% to 20% in the past 20 years. This disparity in education levels is further exacerbated by the third dividing factor: difference in news sources. Surveys show that almost all Trump voters use Fox News as their primary news source, and equally social media platforms, such as Facebook, tailor individuals’ news feeds in line with their interests. Trump has been keen to call out ‘fake news’ from the left and validate far-right wing news. Ultimately, what can be agreed on is that the vastly different news sources and education levels between parties are creating an extreme divide.

A further problem faced by Trump’s administration is the slew of scandals associated with the President, which have provoked immense retaliation and media attention especially among women. Trump’s open support for Kavanagh and insensitive comments made during the trial period stood in stark contrast from #MeToo movement which was sweeping across the States. Moreover, his actions also displayed the politicisation of the American judiciary, evoking rule of law concerns. During campaigns for the midterm election, Trump argued that the treatment of Kavanagh alone was enough grounds for defeating the Democrats, and unsurprisingly White House data showed that support for this claim has waned.

Will Trump be able to ‘Make America Great Again’ despite its polarised state?

Only time will tell.

Su-Ann Cheong

Politics Section Editor

21 December 2018



Hook, R. (2018). What the Midterm Election Shows: America’s Two Parties Live In Divergent Worlds. [online] WSJ. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].

The Independent. (2018). Record-breaking early voter turnout nearly doubles from 2014, six days before historic election. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].

YouTube. (2018). What Trump Did to Silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].

Disclaimer: The views expressed are that of the individual author. All rights are reserved to the original authors of the materials consulted, which are identified in the footnotes above.

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