West Palm Beach, Fla. - Author and MSNBC chief political analyst Mark Halperin visited Palm Beach Atlantic University on Wednesday, as a guest speaker of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy.
Prior to his talk with former U.S. Senator George LeMieux at the DeSantis Family Chapel, Halperin stopped by The Beacon to discuss with Professor Israel Balderas what journalism students could learn from today's news coverage of President Donald Trump.
Sitting on stage along with LeMieux in front of a large audience, Halperin focused his evening discussion on two main topics regarding U.S. President Donald Trump: the mood and environment in which the election took place, and his perspective on what might happen in the country going forward.
Halperin first discussed the uncertainty and negativity that has been troubling the hearts and minds of the American people for some time. “For over a decade, 75% of people in the country have said we’re going in the wrong direction,” Halperin said.
Former President Barack Obama ran for office, Halperin argued, on the princi
ple that he was going to be a different kind of leader that would unite the country - solving problems in a post-partisan way. However, Obama left the White House on January 20 without making those changes people were promised.
"People believe the reason why the country isn’t doing well is because Washington is messed up," Halperin said. "People want to see Washington get its house in order and get things done."
Looking back at last year's presidential race, Halperin told LeMieux and the audience that Trump represented an entirely new type of candidate who didn’t owe anything to either the Republican or Democratic party. Throughout the campaign, Trump promised he would make bold moves and solve big problems.
"I believe the reason Trump ran was because he really wanted to make America great again. He looked at the career politicians on things like trade, jobs, national security, immigration, and said, 'Are a Bush or a Clinton going to change anything?'" Halperin said.
Despite many mistakes made during Trump’s campaign, Halperin said the country’s desire for something new became a driving force.
"They wanted change so badly they were willing to put aside the things they didn't like,” Halperin said. "They thought, 'That guy does crazy stuff, that’s what we need in Washington. Someone who won’t care about being politically correct…someone who won’t act like a politician'."
The key to the future of Trump’s presidency, according to the TV commentator, will be based on whether his positive or negative qualities win out the day. What Halperin calls “good Trump” include his graciousness, generosity, charm, and understanding the real lives of real people. “Bad Trump” includes being vindictive, un-informed, divisive and childish.
"Bad Trump will never unite this country, will never pass anything of significance, and will never leave office with people feeling good about him," Halperin insist, “but I think good Trump has a pretty good chance of doing that.”
Overall, Halperin said there is an air of uncertainty and disquiet in this nation. But if Trump achieves things through economic growth and greater security, then Halperin believe he will end up as a successful president.