This topic guide will help you work with the topic of Donald Trump. The guide is mainly intended for use in English class, but it may also be relevant for other school subjects such as Social Studies or History.
The guide is designed to give you a good overview of both Donald Trump's presidential campaign and his presidency. You can also find specific suggestions for texts to use as reference points, as well as ideas for further thematic perspectives.
This topic guide was last updated on December 19, 2019.
When the businessman and reality star Donald J. Trump announced that he would enter the 2016 presidential race as Republican candidate, few people took him seriously. Most political analysts felt that his chances were very poor because of his lack of political experience, his extreme political views and his highly controversial rhetoric.
However, Trump became increasingly popular among the American people, and he finally overtook all the other Republican candidates and secured the nomination to become the party's official candidate. Even then, most analysts believed that his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton would be victorious in the end, but Trump secured some of the most important states and thereby won the election. His victory came as a surprise to many, as his campaign was plagued by a number of scandals.
Trump was sworn in as President in January 2017. During his campaign, some of his most important promises were related to the fight against illegal immigration, abolishing Barack Obama's health reform, less restrictions for corporations and a general improvement of the US economy. Some of these promises proved difficult to realise, however. Despite the Republican's complete control of Congress at the beginning of Trump's presidency, they never managed to settle on an alternative for Obama's health reform, and Trump's early attempts to block immigration and travel from a number of Muslim countries also faced several legal challenges.
Just like his presidential campaign, Trump's presidency has been haunted by an unusually high number of political and personal scandals. For example, suspicions about Russian interference in the 2016 election quickly started to emerge, with some evidence pointing to illegal collusion between Trump's campaign staff and the Russian government in an effort to discredit Hillary Clinton and secure Trump's victory. These suspicions led to a large-scale FBI investigation, which has already led to several arrests of people in Trump's inner circle.
Trump has often been criticised for his aggressive rhetoric, where he tries to undermine his opponents by calling them names, constantly doubting their claims, or changing the subject when he is faced with personal accusations. He also has a very loose relationship with facts, and often labels stories he disagrees with as "fake news", without presenting any kind of evidence or argument. He is generally sceptical towards the mainstream media (such as TV networks like CNN or newspapers like The New York Times), and has even referred to such media as "the enemy of the people".
Globally, Trump's presidency has led to a decline in the international popularity of the US - especially in Europe and in the other countries of the Americas. Nevertheless, Trump's message is also gaining global popularity, which can be seen in a general tendency towards more nationalistic policies in many parts of the world. For example, the UK's decision to leave the EU has often been compared to Trump's election - both can be viewed as symptoms of popular frustrations about the realities of the globalised world, and a desire to keep one's country safe against foreign powers.