Obama’s lasting legacy


Photo credit: Chase Falk

As President Barack Obama took the podium for his farewell address Jan. 10, it became clear from the cries across the nation that many want four more years.

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Twitter outcry for Barack Obama to remain president.

Although Obama cannot reply “Yes we can” to the pleas, we can remember his accomplishments over the last eight years.

Obama’s administration took over the financial crisis of 2008 and enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The purpose was to prevent economic collapse and save between 900,000 to 2.3 million jobs and by the end of his presidency. White House Secretary Josh Earnest said 805,000 manufacturing jobs have been created with Obama in office. Fact Check states that Donald Trump would have to equal the number of manufacturing jobs created while Obama has been president.

The economy wasn’t the only factor that affected Obama early in his presidency, as after his 2012 election, Sandy Hook Elementary School was attacked by a gunman.

The White House wrote Obama’s proposition to fix the nation’s gun laws two months later, proving that his administration intended to advance the issue.

Aside from gun control, Obama touched upon societal issues in the nation which struck the many lives of African-Americans. After the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Obama gave a preliminary statement following the ruling.

CBS News released the transcript of Obama’s remarks, as he addressed the nation’s concern about law enforcement and racial profiling. Several victims of similar situations like Eric Garner and Michael Brown followed years after, causing a social riff in the United States.

Obama’s administration passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, a significant Wall Street reform. It was put in place to prevent excessive risk-taking which led to financial crisis.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council was also established to bolster the economy and prevent any regulatory gaps and oversight failures. While the “Thanks Obama” meme often mentioned the economic failures of the administration, accomplishments were often overlooked.

Despite the strides Obama made, there were considerable setbacks with a polarized Congress and a massive disapproval by American voters of his economic reforms.

The biggest issue Obama gained was negative attention for was his handling of the federal budget. There was a 30 percent vote of approval. Gallup released Presidential Rating polls with questions regarding whether or not President Obama was handling education, immigration, foreign affairs and the economy. In 2009, 59 percent of voters said they approved of the way Obama was handling the economy. By 2016, it decreased to a 48 percent approval rating.

An early analysis by Nate Silver predicted that Obama will be ranked the 17th most successful president in history, for his success in economic intervention and the attention he brought to social issues.

The reason Obama resonated so well with college students is because of his attempts to speak to youth. Millennials often felt that Obama’s accessible social media accounts promoted the president as being current with today’s generation. Pew Research said that 66 percent of those under the age of 30 voted for Obama in 2008. This made the difference between young voters and the older age groups larger than any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972.

The accessibility of the president promoted a younger generation to take an interest in politics. Among the lasting impressions Obama made, he set the tone for how to connect with college students.

Obama’s presidency can be remembered for more than just the establishment of an African-American at the helm of the country. It’s the accomplishments he made that will lead us through the next four years.

Rachel Reyes can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.