By Cormac Quinn
It’s been nearly a year since the election of Donald Trump as president of The United States of America. While expectations varied, President Trump hasn’t lived up to the hopes of Democrats or Republicans on campus.
The rhetoric of the last election stirred fear into some, and resonated with others with such force that it leaked into all areas of our lives.
“There was a strain on interpersonal relationships,” CSB senior Dana Svensson said. “It was a point of tension you couldn’t really address.”
Svenson thought there was a palpable perception of animosity across the political divide that made communication between them difficult. She thinks the heated exchanges have since subsided, and discussion about the presidency has embraced a more civil tone.
For the more liberal students interviewed, the consensus oscillated between the president not meeting their expectations, or meeting their admittedly low expectations.
“There is a lot of controversy about keeping up with what he promised,” CSB first-year Sara Zhanay said. “He tries to avoid making corrections.”
Zhanay said the damage of which leads her to believe that in the future others will grow tired of this and withdraw their support.
“I expected he wouldn’t do a good job, and he’s living up to that,” SJU sophomore Mark Ellman said.
Ellman thinks that Trump doesn’t demonstrate proper leadership qualities, and his that his personality doesn’t fit with what a president’s should be.
On the conservative side of campus, perceptions sway more dramatically, with some disappointed with his work and others rallying behind him.
“He’s doing some things well, but the backlash will outweigh his successes,” SJU first-year Joe Pieschel said.
Pieschel said that he expected that the Republican control of all three branches of government would break the political deadlock.
“I wanted change, I’m sick of things not getting done,” Pieschel said. “This was a historic election we can learn from, I’m optimistic for the next election after having two bad candidates this year.”
“He’s doing a good job thus far,” CSB senior Lauren Hennen said, “But the media only portrays what he does wrong.”
For her, the news isn’t helping his cause.
“He’ll be able to get a lot more done after [the media] stops focusing on his day-to-day life. With some time, our scope will widen and his successes will be more evident,” Hennen said.
Faculty members also weigh in on the political nature of President Trump.
“It initially seemed like he could work with the Democrats and be the bi-partisan deal maker,” Matt Lindstrom, director of the McCarthy Center and political science professor, said. “He talks about a lot of things, but frankly, he hasn’t done a lot of legislation.”
Lindstrom doesn’t think this will hurt his base supporters because they are attached to the symbolism of his actions, they wanted to stir the pot with a “non-politician.”
“The distinguishing trait of President Trump is his blunt talk,” Lindstrom said. “We’ve never had a president that’s so into name-calling.”
Lindstrom thinks his supporters are getting what they expected.
“If Trump and Congress cannot deliver, it’s going to grind the gears of Republicans.”