White House

Trump's first 100 Days, Hillary Clinton and America's missed opportunity

What report card does the administration deserve thus far?

 

I’m a Hillary Clinton fangirl and I feel no shame.

She was the most qualified candidate to run for president in history – we all should be Hillary Clinton fangirls.

Does that mean I don’t see her faults? Of course not.

She had a flawed message (I’ll get back to you when I figure out what “stronger together” actually means). She had a private email server and bungled the explanation. She didn’t surround herself with new faces on the campaign trail. She didn’t go to Wisconsin. She didn’t learn valuable lessons from the primary about sentiment within the white working class community. She overplayed the gender card, even with the role of misogyny in the election which was very real and powerful.

I could go on and I could certainly also discuss the bizarre twists that undoubtedly hurt Clinton on November 8th. They include, but are not limited to, the role of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference, Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, an overblown server scandal and viral rightwing media (I’m looking at you “performance artist” Alex Jones) that spread lies and disinformation about Clinton.

But the reality is that obsessing over what Clinton and her team got wrong distracts from the real issue at hand: the Trump presidency.

Soon President Donald Trump will have been in office for 100 days and with very little to show for it.

He’s failed twice to push through his controversial travel ban, feeling the impact of an independent judiciary, outside groups and security experts. The de facto Muslim ban pulled at the heartstrings of Americans on both sides of the aisle who were horrified when he first floated the idea on the campaign trail - “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on,” his statement said – as there’s little more American than freedom of religion.

The American Health Care Act crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. Majority of the blame rests on Paul Ryan’s shoulders as he let his ego get ahead of good policy, public sentiment and the numbers. What good is a Speaker who can’t deliver his caucus? President Trump learned the hard way that there are actually principled conservatives (shocked this Democrat, too!)

It looks like tax reform is going to have to wait until after health care reform, a dangerous move for Trump as the promise of a big fat tax cut pulled Republicans and Independents who were uneasy about him into his camp. Voters wanted a tax cut even more than the wall at the Southern border. 

And while we’re on the subject, there is no wall. 

Trump promised to drain the swamp and instead filled the White House with bankers from Goldman Sachs and his own family. Can you imagine the outrage if pictures of Chelsea Clinton sitting next to Angela Merkel were making the rounds? Or if Chelsea won a trademark in China after having dinner with President Xi? I can’t even.

"I do wish he would spend more time in Washington, D.C. That is what we have the White House for," GOP Senator Joni Ernst commented. "We would love to see more of those State Department visits in Washington D.C. I have not spoken to him about the Florida issue yet, but that is something I think has been bothering not just me, but I think other members of our caucus.” That’s right, the guy who criticized President Obama for nonstop golfing can’t stop golfing – on our dime. His party is noticing.

What’s more, of 554 positions that require Senate confirmation, 473 are still without a nominee and only 22 have been confirmed. That isn’t just Democrat obstruction. That’s Trump.

Then there’s the flip flopping. On NATO, on the Fed, on intervention, on Chinese currency manipulation. And that was just one day!

Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to see why the president’s approval rating continues to hover in the low 40s, even with majority approval for his actions in Syria (Americans split on posturing with North Korea).

Moreover, I’ll spare you a diatribe on rolling back worker and environmental protections – you know what I’m thinking.

In the plus column, the stock market is still performing well and consumer confidence remains high. Elections are won and lost on the economy and that’s where Trump could prove the haters wrong. But without a comprehensive tax plan and the numbers to get it passed – debt hawks are going to be a tough sell especially if Trump deals on infrastructure with Democrats – we’re looking at the potential for a lame duck presidency.

So candidate Trump sold America a bad bill of goods and they bought it. Now we’re getting a bad bill of goods from President Trump. Clinton surely had something to do with that and we’ll continue re-hashing how it all went so wrong until the end of time (or at least the next four years).

But to return to the original point here, I’m a Hillary Clinton fangirl and we should all take note of the message of her concession speech. After taking 8 hours to collect herself, Clinton told her supporters – and all of America – “Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.”


I remember her message every time President Trump does something that makes my jaw hit the floor. It’s going to take us all working together. That starts with the occupant of the highest office in the world and trickles down to each and every one of us.

So to all the fangirls out there, we can still love Hillary and make this work. Four years isn’t that long. 

Jessica Tarlov, Ph.D., is a political strategist at Douglas E. Schoen, LLC. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaTarlov.