If a historic, popular, two-term president like Obama can have his legacy undermined and partially erased in the span of eleven months, why should Trump be any different?
The answer, of course, is political will. Most politicians care about popular support. Trump, rather uniquely, doesn’t give a shit. So, that’s the first reason why it’s a bit different.
But, there are others:
- Obama accomplished very little legislatively outside of the ACA, and what he did accomplish legislatively he did with Republican help, inferring that its a policy that the GOP have no interest in overturning.
- Most of Obama’s “accomplishments” were though the extensive use of executive order, many of which were being litigated as overreach, and either were or were expected to be overturned by the courts. For example, no future Democrat president with any sense is going to try and re-establish the Waters of the US rule. The admin was going to take a bath on that one (pun intended).
- Obviously, what’s been done through executive power can be reversed through executive power, ASSUMING NO INVESTMENT has been made. A Democrat president is not going to order the teardown of any pipelines, or re-establish a ban on drilling in ANWAR, once the infrastructure is in place. Too late. The optics are terrible.
- The individual side of the tax bill will result in a net lowering of taxes for about 90% of Americans; they’ll see that in their paychecks on Feb 1. No sane Democrat is going to ram through a tax INCREASE that is not bipartisan just because they can. They’re not stupid, after all. If they gain power in 2018, revoking the tax bill would hand it right back to the GOP in 2020.
- The corporate side of the tax bill codifies things that BOTH parties have wanted in a restructure of corporate taxation. Obama wanted it the corporate tax rate lowered as well, you’ll recall, and the lowering of the tax rate for corporation has enough political support to be permanent. Again, they Dems aren’t going to hand power right back in 2020 after they gain it in 2018. Bad optics, plus they need corporate support to stay in power.
- Same for the shift to a territorial tax system. Nobody wants to change that; the prior system made sense during the Depression Era, it hasn’t made sense since. The only reason it was opposed by the Dems was because of the name of the president who signed it; in private, they’re all saying “the territorial tax part is not bad at all.”
- And, obviously, the fact that he has replaced Scalia with another Scalia, and had more high level court nominees confirmed than any other 1st year president (life time appointments) doesn’t go away.
You’re quite correct that *some* of Trump’s actions are easy lifts for a Dem administration to reverse. Anything that is by executive order and unpopular is an easy lift. But not everything falls into that category.
Reality is that nobody raises taxes without bipartisan support, nobody is going to want to reinstitute rules that might be unconstitutional anyway, nobody wants a lawsuit with the major oil companies (which are our last manufacturing area where we lead the world), and nobody really wants to change the new corporate tax system.
Hope that helps.