The United States remains a vastly unequal country, with significant gaps between what men and women earn (gaps that grow wider for women of color); with revolting numbers of black men imprisoned, often for nonviolent crimes and often locked away in for-profit prisons where their incarceration monetarily benefits wealthy shareholders; with wholly inadequate or totally nonexistent social services that are the norm among our economic peer countries: paid parental leave, housing for the poor, affordable high-quality health care. The gulf between the richest and the poorest people in this country is getting larger.
Some of the party’s top potential 2020 candidates are testing a barrage of early — and unusually explicit — race-related appeals in the run-up to the next presidential campaign. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pledged not to be “shut up” by critics of “identity politics.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has drawn attention to the disproportionate number of nonwhite people incarcerated in a system he said has “criminalized poverty.”
Unrelenting in his belief that a strong America makes a safer world, President Trump has also for the most part kept his campaign promises to not send America’s best into theaters of combat that don’t serve our purpose. He has a budget that is bulking up our fighting hardware. He has deployed missiles. He’s coordinated with our allies. He’s responded to the actions of state sponsored terrorists. He has ISIS all but obliterated. Almost none of it requiring more human boots on the ground. Meanwhile rogue nuclear powers are having their bluffs called, phony agreements torn up, and their futures reconsidered—because America is dealing from strength, not desperation.
Trump is a Presbyterian. His ancestors were Lutheran on his paternal grandfather's side in Germany and Presbyterian on his mother's side in Scotland. His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936. As a child, he attended the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, where he had his confirmation. In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, part of the Reformed Church. The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993. Trump has cited Peale and his works during interviews when asked about the role of religion in his personal life. In August 2015 Trump told reporters, "I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church," adding that he attends many different churches because he travels a lot. The Marble Collegiate Church then issued a statement noting that Trump and his family have a "longstanding history" with the church, but that he "is not an active member".
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh have filed a lawsuit in June 2017 alleging that President Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution by continuing to profit from his businesses, such as the Trump International Hotel in D.C., as well as receiving foreign government payments through his businesses.
I asked Stepien what the White House learned from the special elections in 2017, in which Democrats won decisively in Virginia, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. “The special elections were elections in a vacuum,” he said. He contended that the candidates in those races ran as centrists, while the party’s midterm candidates, and likely 2020 candidates, will be far to the left of the mainstream. “[Bernie] Sanders, [Kamala] Harris, [Elizabeth] Warren. They’re all going to out-left each other,” Stepien said. “That is a very good thing for this Republican president.”
The Trump administration has been characterized by high turnover, particularly among White House staff. By the end of Trump's first year in office, 34 percent of his original staff had resigned, been fired, or been reassigned. As of early July 2018, 61 percent of Trump's senior aides had left and 141 staffers had left in the past year. Both figures set a record for recent presidents—more change in the first 13 months than his four immediate predecessors saw in their first two years. Notable early departures included National Security Advisor Mike Flynn (after just 25 days in office), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, replaced by retired Marine General John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Close personal aides to Trump such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, John McEntee and Keith Schiller, have quit or been forced out.
Trump began his campaign unusually early for an incumbent President of the United States. He began spending for his reelection effort within weeks of his election, and officially filed his campaign with the Federal Elections Commission on the day of his inauguration. Since February 2017, Trump has held several rallies and a fundraiser for this campaign. He has visited key electoral states. The campaign has raised funds and run two nationwide advertising campaigns. The campaign has announced, and Trump has confirmed in several stump speeches, that the slogan for the 2020 race will be changed from "Make America Great Again" to "Keep America Great", once a sufficient level of greatness is reached. As of the fall of 2018, Trump continues to use the old slogan.