Carter Elliott, Staff Columnist~

It has been a year since Donald Trump assumed the position of president and now at the beginning of his second year, our government experienced an unprecedented shutdown while one party controlled the executive and legislative branches of government.

In the first year we’ve seen no wall, Obamacare is still in place and we have not withdrawn from North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). However, we have seen constant fighting, negative rhetoric that has changed the office of the presidency forever and a party in control that doesn’t seem to know what to do.

So far I’ve only seen two positive things out of this first year. The first is a growing economy, which isn’t solely because of the Trump Administration, but the fact that it is happening is fantastic. The second and most important thing is that Trump has created what is probably the biggest wave of progressive elections since I’ve been alive. He has encouraged so many people to join the fight against the system that we are currently facing because of the disapproval that the American people have for what is going on.

Government closing
Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

During this government shutdown over 800,000 people did not go to work and it would cost the government on average $1.5 billion per day. The shutdown could have possibly been avoided in two ways. First, Republicans could have negotiated a DACA deal into the budget and the Senate Democrats would have been happy to pass it; the minority leader Chuck Schumer even offered to help fund “the wall” if a deal could be reached.

The second way that this could have been avoided is if the Republican leadership actually attempted to gain votes in the Senate. If every Republican voted for the budget they would have received fifty votes (five Republicans voted no including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan), along with the five Democrats who voted in favor of the budget, bringing the total to 55 votes – only five short of the 60 needed to pass a budget. Needless to say, negotiations could have been made to get the other five votes, especially since two of the people that voted no were independents.

At a time where the Republican party is in complete control, this weakness is definitely showing and it should be frightening to them. One can wonder if the party will ever be strong again considering how powerless they seem to be while controlling the presidency and Congress. At a time like this we should look to what the leader of our country has said and Trump said it best in 2013, because the core of this problem is a lack in leadership: “A shutdown falls on the president’s lack of leadership … He can’t even control his party … A shutdown means the President is weak.” On Jan. 22, a group of 30 senators came together to reopen the government until Feb. 8; doing this on their own is definitely not a good sign for the president either. Though Trump constantly tries to blame the Democrats, knowledgeable citizens will always see this as the #TrumpShutdown.

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