1. The environment and the climate crisis
Just six months into his presidency, Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord – making the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, one of the only countries on earth that does not participate.Trump has also gutted the Environmental Protection Agency, forced out or muzzled scientists whose research contradicts the administration’s political preferences, and appointed industry insiders to federal agencies. He has rolled back Obama-era emissions standards, massively expanded the federal land and water available for oil and gas drilling, and propped up the dying and environmentally ruinous coal industry.2. The judiciary
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In only three years, Trump has appointed 185 judges – a staggering re-molding of the federal judiciary. (By comparison, Obama appointed 55 appeals judges in eight years.) Even if Trump loses re-election in 2020, the judges he has appointed will remain in office for decades.
Rightwing activist groups have seized the opportunity to push new restrictions on abortion rights, including state abortion bans unprecedented since Roe v Wade. Ohio legislators even attempted to pass a bill that would force doctors to re-implant ectopic pregnancies, a dangerous procedure with no medical justification. Many of these radically anti-abortion laws are explicitly designed to test Roe v Wade, and there is a strong chance Roe could come up for review in the US supreme court, where liberal justices are now a minority.
Trump kicked off his presidency by banning immigration from several Muslim countries; he has also separated migrant children from their parents, escalated Ice deportations, and worked to sideline immigration courts. One of Trump’s advisors, Stephen Miller, is suspected to be an outright white nationalist.
6. Voting rights
Thanks in part to aggressive gerrymandering, the Republican party has consolidated control of state legislatures and governorships across the US. These lawmakers’ ultra-conservative agendas are often wildly unrepresentative of their more moderate, and increasingly diverse, populations.
The past several years have seen a dangerous rise in voter suppression, a trend the Guardian is documenting in our ongoing special series on voting rights. Under now-governor Brian Kemp, Georgia purged hundreds of thousands of voters from its rolls before the 2018 midterm elections. Wisconsin is currently on the brink of purging more than 200,000 voters – in a state where Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes.
7. The justice system
Despite an increasing bipartisan consensus on the need to reform the criminal justice system, the Trump administration has often promoted ineffective, backwards, and punitive criminal justice policies. Under former attorney general Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice largely abandoned oversight of troubled police departments operating under federal consent decrees. He also worked to undo state-based marijuana legalization and drug law reform.
8. National security and foreign affairs
Trump habitually denigrates US allies, the Nato military alliance, and his own intelligence agencies, while praising dictatorships including Russia, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Polls show global opinion of the US, and Trump’s leadership, at de-moralized levels.
9. Poverty and social welfare
10. Education policy
Secretary of education Betsy DeVos, an ardent critic of public education, has loosened Obama-era restrictions on predatory for-profit colleges. She’s also fought attempts to introduce debt relief for the millions of Americans who owe a collective $1.6tn in student loans.
Since Trump took power, the Guardian has been a constant and rigorous watchdog. We commit enormous resources to our investigative and public interest reporting. In all our journalism, we also work to give voices to the human beings affected by Trump’s policies.
Next year America will face a momentous choice. The future of the White House, the supreme court, abortion rights, climate policy and a range of other issues are in play – at the same time that misinformation makes rigorous reporting more important than ever.
That’s why robust, fact-based and independent reporting is critical: we hope to raise $1.5m to fund our journalism in 2020.
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