This may seem like an odd moment for saying so, but a year into the presidency of Donald Trump, I’m elated.
Trump was not my first or even second choice for president, but a full two years ago I predicted he would win. I also predicted he’d be a progressive president, which explained why I was not among his supporters and why I am so pleased now.
Expecting Progressive Trump was a reasonable assumption. Trump supported the 2009 stimulus, the auto bailouts and the bank bailouts. He’d recently left the Democratic Party and had raised a ton of money for the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer. He’d supported single-payer health coverage, tax increases and even Planned Parenthood.
He was a New York liberal who had conquered the Republican Party in part by promising a good Supreme Court nomination. That was the most I allowed myself to hope for when he won.
The nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to fill the vacancy of Antonin Scalia more than fulfilled that promise. Gorsuch isn’t a John Roberts, David Souter or Anthony Kennedy, to name three disappointing justices appointed by the three previous Republican presidents, but a brilliant legal mind with tremendous writing ability and persuasive powers.
Trump critics, particularly those on the right, like to mock Trump voters with the phrase “But Gorsuch!” It’s their way of saying that Gorsuch is the only good thing Trump has done and that a Trump presidency is not worth the rest. Except Gorsuch is not even close to the only good thing Trump has done.
He has appointed 12 outstanding federal appellate judges — a record number for a president in his first year. By comparison, President Barack Obama had only three in his first year.
In early June, Trump announced the U.S. departure from the Paris climate accord, an agreement that would have had virtually no impact on future temperatures but would have come at a large cost in the growth of government and control over the economy. Since Obama never ran the treaty through the Senate, it was nonbinding, but the federal bureaucracy was working to implement it with new regulations on U.S. businesses. Critics on the right say Trump just does what other Republican candidates would have done. Yet the previous Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney,lobbied Trump to stay in the global agreement.