「契約」的正面列出了川普會以總統行政權（行政命令）展開的 18 項行動，背後則是 10 項他會送入國會的法案。目前，川普一直倚賴「行政命令」來推動政見：一如其名所示，行政命令是由行政機關提出，以執行和實施國會通過、成為法律的法案。
川普在競選時承諾退出〈跨太平洋戰略經濟夥伴關係協議〉（TPP）、「每增加一項新規範，就要去除兩項現有規範」、移除 Keystone 油管的阻礙，並恢復遣返犯罪的非法移民。他在上任一百日之中，藉由簽署行政命令實現了這些承諾。
除了行政命令外，川普最大的「成就」即為信守承諾，選出取代史卡利亞（Antonin Scalia）的新任大法官。史卡利亞於去年過世，雖然歐巴馬試圖以賈蘭德（Merrick Garland）取代，但共和黨參議院拒絕審核此提名，認為即將卸任的總統不該做出如此重大的決策，因為大法官是終生職。川普實現了他的承諾，讓戈蘇奇（Neil Gorsuch）成為大法官。
值得一提的是，參議院為了通過戈蘇奇提名，使用了「核彈選項」，將核可門檻從 60 席降至簡單多數 51 席——因為所有的民主黨參議員都反對此任命（不過，戈蘇奇在 2006 年獲得提名進入聯邦上訴法院之時，他獲得了一致同意，時為參議員的希拉蕊和歐巴馬也支持他）。
川普持續努力實現「撤銷並替代」，眾議院亦有可能在幾週內表決，即使如此，我們也能從許多資訊來源發現，共和黨相當破碎，建立共識也十分困難（更新：已於台灣時間週五清晨以 217-213 票通過。但是送參議院後參議院已表示不會針對此案表決而要重新草擬，給人莊孝維的感覺）。川普已提出稅改提案，但距離改革稅制仍舊十分遙遠，在沒有裁減支出的情況下降稅，也很難說服共和黨內的預算鷹派。因此，川普並沒有在上任百日內實現「契約」背面那兩個最重大的承諾。
再看看民主黨。現在，他們成為「只會說不」的政黨：激烈的內部選舉之中，民主黨也還是沒有明確的領導者；民主黨過去十年的眾議院領袖裴洛西（Nancy Pelosi）過氣、脫離民意、仍舊以為布希是總統；民主黨目前的 2020 年人選華倫（Elizabeth Warren）、拜登（Joe Biden）和桑德斯（Bernie Sanders，為獨立競選人），全都超過 70 歲。激進派的民主黨支持者，在大學校園發起了言論自由壓制行動，最近一次就是迫使絕非溫和派的庫爾特（Ann Coulter）取消演說。正如歐巴馬強力支持者馬修（Chris Matthews）所言，民主黨在無數社會議題上也太過左傾，這也是民主黨接下來得思考的問題。
近期民調顯示，川普的支持者之中，超過半數仍舊相信川普信守了他的承諾，但不滿也確實在上升。川普的支持率大多在 50% 之下盤施，但從他上任至今並沒有太大變動；這一方面顯示川普擁有穩固的支持，也突顯了美國是多麼地破碎。簡言之，對大多數川普支持者來說，他們再怎麼不喜歡川普，川普總統還是好過希拉蕊總統。
There has been a lot of coverage in Taiwan on Trump’s performance up to the 100 day mark. Most of them are understandably negative, as they usually cite sources such as CNN, BBC or those “globalist” news outlet whom Trump regularly lambasted as “fake news”. Understandably, these regurgitations of “facts” (which they’re proud of) are constrained by the information they are able to garner. Trump’s 100 day “accomplishment” can be an abject failure, and he can surely be a laughingstock, but as I have been a constant outlier in Taiwan’s discourse on American politics, I would like to propose a different spin.
I rather not adhere to the above contextual framework, but I will propose different looks at the phenomenon that “mainstream media” has missed ever since Trump came down the elevator of Trump Tower since over reliance on selective news outlet is intellectual indolence.
Stemming from Trump’s Contract with American Voter, I will look at his domestic accomplishment first. Then I will briefly talk about his performance on foreign policy, which has already been much discussed, then going over some logical fallacies we see in his criticism.
I will say that he did enjoy some success via executive actions, though legislative wise he has performed poorly. Yet from a level of semantics, he has been successful and dictating public discourse, he has enjoyed some success as well. I define success not from a subjective ideological standpoint, but from whether or not he was able to execute on his campaign promises. In the same vein, failure would mean agenda he was not able to carry out.
During last year's campaign, Trump spoke of all the things he would do almost immediately upon entering the Oval Office such as repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, destroying ISIS and of course, building a wall and much, much more. However, as we approached the end of the campaign, he actually dialed back some of his promises. To understand where he ended up, we need to look at his event on October 22, when he traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to announce his "Contract with the American Voter,". It is worth noting to readers who are not familiar with American history that Gettysburg was where President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address.
The "Contract" was a single piece of paper that listed 18 actions Trump would take under his executive authority as president, and the back listed ten pieces of legislation he would introduce in Congress. So far he has been relying on executive order to carry out his agenda. Executive orders, as their name implies, are for the executive branch to carry out, literally to “execute,” a bill passed into law as they follow on and implement laws passed by Congress. Executive orders have been used more frequently in modern times as Congress is bogged down by inefficiency due to partisan politics, not to implement new laws, but to "interpret" the law. For example, Obama signed many executive orders such as to halt deportation of illegal immigrants due to the frustration of Congress unable to pass immigration reform. It shows the ease an E.O can be implemented, but once he is out of office, Trump quickly nullified the E.O and begins to "re-implement" the law as it is written.
Beyond Executive Order, Trump's biggest accomplishment comes is keeping his promise to select a Supreme Court Justice to replace Antonin Scalia. Scalia passed away last year, and though Obama sought to replace him with Merrick Garland, the Republican Senate refused to review his nomination, citing that a lame duck President should not make such an important decision as Justices are life time appointments. As president, Trump kept that promise, and Neil Gorsuch is now on the Court. However, it is worth noting that the Senate approved his nomination by employing the “nuclear option”, lowering the confirmation vote from 60 to a simple majority 51 as all Democratic Senator objected the appointment. (Though when Justice Gorsuch was nominated to the Court of Appeals in 2006, he was approved unanimously with the support of then Senator Clinton and Obama).
Candidate Trump promised to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to require that "for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated, to lift “roadblocks” to building the Keystone Pipeline, and to deport criminal illegal immigrants. On these issues, he kept his promises through signing executive orders.
On a different note, the president has been a crucial part of a determined effort by Capitol Hill Republicans to use the Congressional Review Act to abolish rules put in place by the Obama administration. The CRA bills have sometimes been left out of assessments of Trump's record on Capitol Hill. But undoing the damage done by a predecessor is an entirely legitimate use of presidential power, and from the perspective of his supporter, credit ought to be given.
Foreign policy wise, Trump has received surprisingly decent review, and there are ample discussions on this matter so I will not dwell on this area. The bottom line is that Trump has been a 100 day success when it comes to exercising the executive powers and on legislative front, while Trump has been part of a Republican effort to turn back parts of the Obama legacy, which has so far been unsuccessful. Yet it is precisely in the legislative area that the 100 day mark is such an unrealistic measure as Congress acts on its own schedule. If he has passed either a full-scale Obamacare repeal and replace measure or a major tax reform measure, that would be a reasonably good legislative record for a first year.
On the other hand, there are also promises he kept but unable to execute. The most significant of those is his pledge to "suspend immigration from terror-prone regions." Trump has done it — twice — only to see his executive orders tied up in the courts. His first try was botched, while the second try will likely survive judicial scrutiny. Trump also promised to "cancel all federal funding" for sanctuary cities. Yet in the most recent spending bill, funding for sanctuary cities were kept in order to avoid a government shutdown.
He also broke some promises most notably his promise to label China as a currency manipulator, which I don’t think I need to go into details. The net result of Trump's promises involving executive authority is that he has done well when it comes to keeping the Contract. Indeed, the two biggest successes of Trump's first 100 days are on the front page of the Contract: the Gorsuch nomination and Trump's immigration executive order tightening controls at the Mexico border, so far, border crossing has dropped significantly just by his bluffing, so that is a solid success on his part.
The back page of the Contract is a total failure up to this point. He stated that "I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage with the first 100 days of my administration," he said in the Contract. He has failed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and he has not introduced promised legislations like the American Energy and Infrastructure Act, or the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act and many more that he has written in the pledge.
Though he has continued to work on the “repeal and replace” to the extent that that a vote in the House could be just a few weeks away, we have seen from multiple sources that the Republican party is fragmented and building a consensus has been difficult. (The repeal has been voted on and passed around Friday midnight Taiwan time, but the Senate will instead draft its own bill and not vote on the bill passed by the House). Trump has rolled out a tax proposal but movement closer to the goal of reforming the tax code is far, and cutting taxes without curbing spending will be a hard sell to budget hawks within his own party. So on the two biggest items on the back page of the Contract, by the time the actual 100 day mark arrives next Saturday, Trump failed to keep the back page promises of the Contract in his first 100 day.
Let us take a look at Trump’s method of "strategic ambiguity". Trump promised last year and a willingness to make a deal wherever possible. Yet this ambiguity can also be interpreted as incoherence one might expect from a politically inexperienced President who hasn't shown much interest in policy. Is Trump simply more flexible than your average politician or is he less aware of what he is doing?
One may argue that he is the greatest negotiator who is not confined by left/right binary, but Ben Shapiro, a conservative pundit whom I often read, has stated that pragmatism is bad, because “pragmatism is a progressive philosophy,". He added "There is no clear consensus on 'what works.' This is why elections matter, and why political ideology matters. It's an empty conceit of arrogant politicians that they alone can determine, based on expert reading of facts, the best solution; they can't."”
When he sought to negotiate health care reform the first time, he failed miserably. He negotiated for the sake of negotiation without knowing the ins and outs of policy making. He did not understand how to strike a deal that was only partly about dollars and cents. Freedom Caucus members balked at the first version of the American Health Care Act because of values and ideology, though they are now on board, the moderates are not buying the second version for electoral reasons. Many of the incumbent Republicans were elected since Obama took office and their claim to fame was, for better or worse, being an ardent opponent of Obama's policies. Now they have complete control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, their inexperience in governance are being exposed as they can no longer be the party of no.
Yet on foreign policy, as America still holds its position as a hegemon, Trump’s pragmatism has yielded satisfactory result, after all, the US still holds most of the leverages when it comes to negotiation. For example, Trump is able to engage with China on the problem of North Korea, which is something the previous administrations were not able to accomplish, but to what end will this engagement result is still undiscernible.
Public Perception and my thoughts
As a good lead in to Trump’s first 100 days in the realm of public discourse, especially for people who are “resisting” and “standing up” to his presidency, launching missiles at Syria effectively ended the discussion of Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russian government on the past election though late night comedian still suggest Trump performs oral sex for Putin. The situation with Russia now is awkward, and that’s the awkward relationship Trump’s detractors want. Trump is no longer a dictator because he suffered setbacks in health care reform and immigration executive order. So now rather than being the second coming of Hitler, he is more of a loud mouth bumbler.
There are a lot of criticisms before he even took office, I have to say a lot of them are well deserved due to his own actions, his critics imagined scenarios that 1. he might be blackmailed by Russia, 2. imagined nuclear holocaust that happens because of Trump’s imaginary insanity, 3. Imagined problems caused by his ignoring of facts that don’t matter. 4. Imagined poor performance based on imagining a control case of another imaginary president doing the same job at the same time, but doing it faster. We have no way to confirm or deny whether imagination might turn into reality, but as a Taiwanese politician once stated, ＂有夢最美希望相隨＂, let us hope that dreams do come true.
Similarly, one can critique that Trump is putting economics above the environment, yet a stronger economy almost always puts you in a better position to keep the environment clean, we don’t see clean air and water in poor countries. Trump reversed course on unattainable promises, is that failure? He did say a lot of outrageous things on twitter sans fact checking per his daily routine, it might be a failure for the sake of fact checking, but he successfully made us focus on what he wants us to focus on and get a lot of journalists paid.
There are chaos and in fighting within his White House, but is that worse than having no debate at all? Wasn’t the media portraying Bannon as the real President? So Isn’t having multiple sources of consultation a good thing? He did not release his tax returns, so we imagine there are problems there. He incorrectly claimed that his staff had been “wiretapped, which CNN quickly denounced it as “diversion” from his “collusion with Russia”. It turns out that they were only surveilled in an indirect way, which his critics would say is not wiretapping, so what is wiretapping then, who knows?
Looking at the Democrats, they are now the party of no, they do not have a clear leader after wrapping up a fiercely contested internal election, their House Leader for the past decade Nancy Pelosi is archaic, out of touch and still thinks Bush 43 is the President and their current candidates for 2020, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders (who is an Independent) are all above 70 years old. The radical faction of their supporters are engaging in the suppression of free speech across University campuses, most recently forcing the cancellation of an appearance of Ann Coulter, who is also by no means a moderate. As ardent Obama supporter Chris Matthews put it, the Democratic party is also moving too far to the left on numerous social issues, and it is a problem they need to consider going forward.
Recent polls have suggest that amongst Trump supporters, more than half of still believe he is keeping his promise, though dissatisfaction is indeed boiling. While Trump's support has generally hovered below 50%, it has largely stayed the same since his inauguration, which on one hand shows that his support is firm, but also shows how fragmented the US is. Simply put, for most of his supporter, no matter how much they dislike him, a Trump presidency is still better than a Clinton presidency.
Finally, to summarize, over his 100 days, Trump signed a lot of executive orders, which is a win for him though they are not nearly as meaningful as legislative accomplishment, and whether we like these orders or not is not his problem but our own subjective liking. Foreign policy wise he is flexible to the extent of being fickle, but he is engaging global problems while shedding the label as “Putin’s puppet” (until further evidence to indicate otherwise). He is no longer Hitler as he stumbles to learn how to pass legislations, and most importantly for him, he nominated a Supreme Court Justice and curbed border crossing. He does have some accomplishments to tout to his core supporters, but these accomplishments are largely symbolic and he still has a lot of work to do to have a meaningful presidency.
Photo Credit：Evan El-Amin@Shutterstock