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How Donald Trump Changed the Government

Social Justice Policy Brief #38 | By: Maureen Darby-Serson | July 29, 2022

Header photo taken by: The White House

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Donald Trump supporters march around the Michigan State Capitol Building to protest the certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States on Jan. 6, 2021 in Lansing, Michigan.

Trump supporters subsequently gathered at state capitals across the country to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election on that fateful and historic day

Photo taken from: Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images

Policy Summary

A President can change the course of the United States in many ways. Donald Trump was no different. But the ways that Trump changed the government are haunting us and will follow us for decades to come.

While there are most likely hundreds of things Trump did that will affect us for years, here are a few that come to mind – naming three Supreme Court Justices, appointing hundreds of federal court judges, changing the way we do the census, making lists of fake electors, and the list goes on.

What does this mean for our country and what can we do about it now?

Policy Analysis

In 2016, President Obama was not given the opportunity to name a Supreme Court Justice, mainly because the Republicans held up his pick of Merrick Garland. With the retirement of another justice and the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Donald Trump was able to put three Justices on the bench. 

The first being Neal Gorsuch, then the drama filled confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh and the unprecedently speedy confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett. The first president to be able to put that many justices on the court in one term. These justices will likely serve on the court for decades.

In addition, Trump was able to appoint over 200 federal judges to various courts throughout the country. These appointees switched the balance of the courts from democrat to republican. These judges have lifetime appointments and will serve on benches for decades, similar to Supreme Court judges.

While Donald Trump was in office, the 2020 census took place. Emails showed that the Trump administration stopped the census early and did not want to include those that were included in other census counts, such as undocumented immigrants. 


While Trump’s supreme court picks have received a lion’s share of the public’s attention, his appeals and district court picks could have more influence over the life of the nation.

Photo taken from: The Guardian, Doug Mills / AFP / Getty Images

(click or tap to enlargen)

Why do this? 

Because we use the census to draw the maps for political districts, which help determine which party gets more seats in Congress. Trump wanted the census to work in the Republicans favor. Redistricting to favor republicans will have a lasting effect on our country.

To help perpetuate his own presidency, Donald Trump and his administration created a list of fake electors to try to get Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the election for Joe Biden. These people would claim that they were from the Electoral College and say that they were voting for Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. This would give Donald Trump the victory. Emails from the administration have shown that these lists of electors were faked.

So, what can you do? Vote. Vote in your local elections. Vote in every election you can. Use your voice to elect candidates committee to maintaining and strengthening our democracy.

Engagement Resources​

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