Today is president’s Obama’s final day as the president of the United States of America.
Americans have all kinds of emotions and opinions on his presidency. Right-wingers, conservatives, and members of the tea party are happy because they think he was a horrible president and many can’t wait for the Trump era. Democratic loyalists are sad because many of them feel Obama is one of the greatest presidents if not the greatest president ever and are terrified of a Trump presidency. Then there are progressives and those in the middle who have mixed emotions. There are a lot of opinions on Obama so my friend Claudio Gonzáles and I will go over various policies that Obama passed while in office. We will talk about the good and the bad vs what he could have done. We will grade him on him on these policies and give him a letter grade for each category. At the end of the article, he will receive a letter grade from Claudio and I agreed upon based on his overall performance. We decided not to grade Obama in comparison to the other presidents. Had we compared Obama to other presidents, he would probably rank as one of the better presidents. We had no interest in doing that, because he would be graded on a curve if we did that. If the lowest of the low is George Bush, virtually anyone is at least passing in comparison to him. What we will do is grade him off of categories that we found essential in improving the country. These categories are:
The Economy/Wall Street Reform/Job Creation, Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Civil Liberties, Social Rights, Immigration, Money in Politics, Infrastructure, Leadership, State of the Democratic Party and other significant policies that may fall outside of these categories.
I (Diandre) will talk about domestic policy and Claudio will focus on foreign policy.
Before talking about what Obama did as president, it is important to understand what he inherited. Before Obama took office, America was facing its biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Inflation was through the roof, wages were stagnant, unemployment levels were at near record highs, the stock market was near record lows, there was a record annual deficit of $1.3 trillion, and there was a net loss of 600,000 jobs under Bush. Things are significantly better than they were in 2008.
After eight years of Obama, America is no longer facing a financial crisis, inflation has slowed, unemployment levels are near record lows, the stock market is at record highs, over 100,000 jobs a month or over 17 million jobs in total have been created under Obama, and he halved the deficit. There is no doubt that Obama left the country in better shape than Bush did. At face value and especially when compared to Bush, who is arguably the worst president ever, it is easy to look at President Obama as one of the best presidents ever. However, when you dig deep into Obama's policies and when you take into account everything that he did vs what he could have done, Obama is a massive mixed bag. He passed a lot of great policies that he deserves a ton of credit for, but he also passed a lot of atrocious, inexcusable policies that cannot be ignored along with many half measure policies.
Domestic Policy (Diandre)
Obama’s domestic policy is all over the place. I’m going to start off with the good. The good is Obama’s stance on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a massive 1,179 mile, 36- inch diameter crude oil pipeline that would have began in Hardisty, Atlanta, ending in Steele City, Nebraska. While the pipeline would have created thousands of jobs, it would have been an environmental disaster when it inevitably bursted had it been completed. To Obama’s credit, he did not approve of the Pipeline despite his donors being in favor of it. Obama in that case sided with the people and with the environment so I have no criticism of him there.
I’m also going to give a ton of credit to Obama for not going through with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Some may think I’m being too fair to Obama and I can see where you’re coming from but I’m going to give him credit anyway. I understand that it was the protestors that caused the temporary stoppage and not Obama but we must understand that Obama made the decision not to go through with it. That was a politically smart move because he now puts the ball in Donald Trump’s court. If this pipeline is passed, Donald Trump will have to do it and deal with the backlash that could be damaging to the republican party in the future. He does deserve criticism for allowing peaceful protestors to be attacked but in the end, I think he will be viewed favorably for obeying the will of the people. Lyndon B. Johnson was pressured into signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and he is still viewed favorably for it today. I think in the end, Obama will be viewed favorably for not going through with the pipeline.
Another thing we must give Obama a ton of credit for and it’s impossible not to give him an A for this is the fact that he has freed more nonviolent drug offenders that any president in history. Obama has freed over 1,000 nonviolent drug offenders; this includes pardons and commutation. This may be the best part of Obama’s legacy. There’s plenty of taboos around drug use, and because of drug law, millions of people are behind bars for no good reason, the majority of whom are non-violent drug offenders. The people he released from prison should not have been in jail in the first place so no one should have a problem with this. I would have gone farther and released all nonviolent drug offenders but the fact that he set the record and released more than all presidents combine is an automatic A. He would have gotten an A+ had he released them all. While he did not have the power to release those in a state prison, he had the power to pressure states by threatening to cut funds to assure they were released, but I digress. He gets an A here.
Now the not so good is Obama did nothing to get rid of the War on Drugs. In 2009, Obama had a super majority in the house and senate. He promised criminal justice reform. The fact that he did nothing about the War is troubling especially because more people are arrested for marijuana possession alone than all violent crimes combined. A person is arrested for simple drug possession every 25 seconds. In America, we prioritize locking up people for tweaking their consciousness over arresting people who are murderers and rapists. That’s a major issues. The Drug War is the biggest failure in modern human history and Obama did nothing to address that. Furthermore, Obama never changed the scheduling of marijuana. Yes, marijuana is legalized in several states but the fact that marijuana is still a schedule one drug and marijuana is still illegal federally, due to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution, federal law overrides state law. That means even though marijuana is legal in some states, if the Trump administration decides to crack down on those states where marijuana is legal by enforcing federal law, there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Had Obama changed the scheduling of marijuana, the Trump administration would be unable to crackdown on states where marijuana is legal.
Another policy that is a massive mixed bag is ObamaCare. The good about ObamaCare is that an additional 30 million people who were unable to receive health care were able to do so through ObamaCare. Some important and great provisions of ObamaCare was that you could still get health care even if you have pre-existing conditions, which was not possible before ObamaCare. Children can also remain under their parent’s healthcare plan until the turn 26 which was another amazing provision. Now the big negative is that individual mandate. The individual mandate forces you to buy private insurance. This puts the insurance companies in charge which allows them to price gouge Americans. This is why rates are increasing because the health insurance companies are in complete control of ObamaCare.
What Obama should have done is get single payer like most other modern nations. Single payer would mean that your tax money is paying for your medical expenses. You would not have to worry about the insurance companies price gouging. Obama had a Super majority in the house and senate. People make the excuse for Obama because at one point he didn’t have the numbers in the Senate because democratic senator Robert Byrd was hospitalized and out of commission for months so Obama had to compromise with the republicans. That is simply not true, and it is a lie. President Obama was able to get the individual mandate passed even though not one republican voted in favor of it, probably because it was named ObamaCare. They also say that the blue dog democrats would not have voted for single payer. Here’s what everyone needs to understand and something Obama never understood his eight years in office. President Obama, you were the PRESIDENT. You have the bully pulpit. You could have demanded that those blue dog democrats vote for single payer or you would campaign against them next election cycle and their political career would be over. I’m going to touch on Obama not using his bully pulpit throughout and expand upon in more in the close paragraphs. It seemed like quite often Obama forgot he was president. Lyndon B. Johnson used the bully pulpit to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, and Obama could have done the same thing.
Here’s the thing about ObamaCare, it was a right winged policy created by the Heritage Foundation. Later Richard Nixon proposed a similar policy, eventually Mitt Romney implemented it in Massachusetts; it was called RomneyCare. If Mitt Romney was president, we would have gotten RomneyCare. Obama was president and we got RomneyCare. The fact of the matter is, the American public doesn’t care whether or not a policy is a right winged or left winged policy. They care whether or not the policy works. ObamaCare does not work. Although it is a right winged policy so in theory republicans should agree with it, the fact that it was passed by a democrat, the Republicans will repeal it with the support of the people that ObamaCare has screwed. Now the republicans have all the right to say “Look at the stupid health care plan the democrats had.” If Obama passed single payer, no one’s premium would have went up and there would have been hell to pay if the Trump administration tried to get rid of it. Now that people have legitimate grievances with ObamaCare, the republicans will have legitimate support to repeal it.
On December 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place. After that over 90 percent of the American public supported a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers. Unfortunately the democrats are weak and couldn’t get a background check bill through congress that was supported by over 90 percent of Americans. Now Obama defenders may cite the fact that by 2012 the republicans controlled the both houses of congress and that true. But what is important that we understand is that Obama was the F*CKING PRESIDENT of the United States of America. He never understood that concept.
When the republicans turn down a bill that was supported by over 90 percent of the American public, all Obama had to do is use his bully pulpit, and tell the people that the Republicans are authoritarian criminals who don’t care about anything the American public wants. Hold a press conference everyday letting the American people know that the republicans don’t care that an elementary school got shot up. Then after a week of slamming the republicans, propose a stronger bill and let them know that if they don’t agree to the bill, you will continue to destroy them night after night on the evening news and they will never get elected again. Every time the bill doesn’t pass, the next bill will get stronger. They would have to cave. We saw the republicans cave on gutting the Independence Ethic Committee after strong public outcry. Obama had the cache to rally the citizens to fight and get things done and he never used it. Yes, he proposed strong legislation for gun control but he never fought to get it. He and the other democrats run away with their tails between their legs anytime they are opposed. If only the democrats fought for us as hard as they fought to make sure Bernie Sanders wasn’t president.
Something else that was extremely disappointing is that President Obama never fought for Universal Public College. Other modern nations have universal college and we still don’t. As of right now, student debt is the number one debt in America. From 2004 to 2012, Student loan debt has grown 300 percent, more than 10 percent of student default on debt in three years, more than 1 in 5 households have student loan debt which is more than double the number of households burdened with this as compared to 1989, the average student loan debt is over $26,000 , and more than 80 percent of bankruptcy attorneys reported that their clients with student loan debt increased significantly or somewhat in a February 2012 survey. Student loan debt is destroying millennials. Because so many students are defaulting on debt, they have horrible credit. Since their credit is bad, they can’t buy a house or a car, and they have children much later because they don’t have the essentials to take care of a family. Obama at the very least could have prevented future generations from having to continue to suffer with this burden, instead he chose to do nothing because he didn’t want to rock the boat or disappoint his donors.
Obama’s final grade on domestic policy is a C-.
The Global War on Terror (Claudio)
Obama vowed in 2008, while still on the campaign trail: “We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda.” Despite this, Obama was relatively reluctant to deploy regular ground troops in comparison to his predecessors; he has instead rapidly escalated use of special forces and an arguably illegal global drone campaign, both of which were employed on the hunt for the founder of al-Qaeda. Many analysts have observed that bin Laden was successful in many of his stated objectives in the war with America which eventually claimed his life. As explained by senior CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, “Bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us… U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it is fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden’s only indispensable ally.”
The founding strategy for bin Laden’s campaign against the U.S. was to draw American forces into expensive conflicts in a style not dissimilar from his tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War. In the words of Eric Margolis, “The United States, first under George W. Bush and then Barack Obama, rushed right into bin Laden’s trap… [Today,] grotesquely overblown military outlays and debt addiction are crippling the United States and undermining its global power.” The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to run as high as $6 trillion.
Nonetheless, Obama’s campaign promise of assassinating the al-Qaeda leader was ultimately realized on May 2, 2011. The president has since hailed the operation as a grand success, though he openly regretted the “cost to our relationship with Pakistan and the backlash among the Pakistani public over encroachment on their territory.” Moreover, Obama was adamant that this grand use of military force in a nuclear-capable nation was a special case which should not be normalized.
Let us consider these statements. The resistance encountered by American forces was minor, though the exact amount varies in different versions of the story—the Obama administration generally agrees that the courier al-Kuwaiti engaged American forces (lightly injuring a SEAL with bullet fragments) before his death, while journalist Seymour Hersh reports no firefight took place at all—in either case, only one of the five people killed was armed. Seymour’s source reported that bin Laden was found cowering and was shot dead, while the SEAL who later identified himself as the killer stated that bin Laden was standing behind a woman when he was shot. Meanwhile, if the Pakistani military had scrambled their fighter jets in response to unknown craft encroaching on their airspace, U.S. General Petraeus was poised to mobilize U.S. warplanes to respond; if the SEALs had been confronted by Pakistani troops, their orders were to fight their way out. In any case, Obama clearly had little qualms about upsetting the Pakistani government. An unnamed national security official told Reuters that “This was a kill operation,” making clear that capturing bin Laden was not a concern. And, lastly, bin Laden’s assassination was just one of thousands which we can attribute to the Obama legacy.
In 2006 and 2007, one of President Obama's greatest critiques of the Bush administration's approach to combatting terrorism was the legality of denying detainees in Guantánamo Bay the writ of habeas corpus. Obama has since extended the Bush-style policy of indefinite detention, in Cuba and elsewhere, and has also implemented more grave programs of this flavor which continue to violate the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Under Obama we don't stop at merely imprisoning or surveilling people without any charges or due process—we target them for assassination. The administration claimed that it launched 473 strikes between 2009 and 2015, mostly with drones, that killed between 2,372 and 2,581 terrorists; Obama claimed somewhere between 64 and 116 civilians were killed in this time. These counts, which have been criticized for their understatement of collateral damage, owe their ratios to the long-standing tradition of counting the dead used by the military and CIA; anyone who is killed in a drone strike is labeled EKIA (enemy killed in action) unless posthumously proven otherwise.
Despite being a member of a political party which is opposed to capital punishment—even for individuals given a full trial, with all the constitutional rights afforded therein—Obama has normalized the notion that the president can target people, even American citizens, and unceremoniously obliterate them. These targets include “[people who are] not in a war zone, people who are not engaged in combat at the time… killed in cars, in their houses, while they’re working, driving with their children, at funerals, rescuing people.” As such, the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes has drawn criticism from human rights groups. A team of 26 Representatives signed a letter to Obama in 2012 on the subject of signature strikes—a practice in which armed men who fit a certain pattern of behavior, but whose identities are unknown, are assassinated, which is part of a campaign to kill troops in addition to key targets. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) stated: "Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight." Such operations accidentally killed Giovanni Lo Porto and Warren Weinstein, an Italian aid worker and a U.S. contractor, respectively, in 2015.
Of course, the U.S. has carried out a number of outrageous policies in the name of combating terrorism (and communism before that). Ronald Reagan, for example, was a strong supporter of South African apartheid and had the revolutionary Nelson Mandela placed on the terror watch list until his recent removal in 2008. At the same time, however, Reagan’s administration removed Saddam Hussein from the watch list because the U.S. was interested in supporting him during the Iran-Iraq war. Domestic reports of such acts are often suppressed or heavily distorted in accordance with the usual model of state influence. Indeed, a 2010 study showed mass media outlets stopped using the term "torture" in association with waterboarding between 2002 and 2008, when the U.S. government was making use of this practice, and furthermore noted that the press was “much more likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is the perpetrator.” This, by the way, is one place in which Obama improved (marginally) on his predecessor by ending the U.S. practice of waterboarding prisoners, though he has failed to punish former members of the Bush administration for their role in torture policies.
With all this in mind, the most dangerous aspect about the targeted killing programs is that professional Democrats and liberals alike, who were lauding Obama’s criticisms of the Bush administration in 2006 and 2007, began to support the policies en masse after Obama took the reins. As public opinion polls show, the American mindset on extrajudicial assassinations has garnered widespread and bipartisan support; the extremist, right-wing framework has been fully institutionalized in a way that Republicans could never have accomplished alone. Pretending they have invented a clean way of waging war (U.S. casualties under Obama were less than half than under Bush), this administration has cemented assassination as an official and essential component of U.S. action. Obama has established, for himself and all presidents to follow, a global and extralegal system wherein the president serves as judge, jury and executioner. These practices, together with ever-broadening programs of data collection, have become one of the most terrifying legacies of Obama’s presidency, a new chapter in the American tradition of using mass surveillance and armed conflict as instruments of policy.
The Intercept reported that drone strike targeting is primarily done with intelligence provided by the NSA, which has resulted in the deaths of innocent people. The National Security Agency has expanded vastly both in size and powers since Obama took office. Bush’s 2001 Patriot Act allowed the U.S. Government to obtain “business records that are relevant to terrorist investigations,” which under Obama has expanded to include phone numbers, timestamps, call durations, and other metadata (these can be extraordinarily private and damaging). Via the SIGAD US-984XN program, also known as PRISM, the NSA collects stored internet communications from Facebook, Google, Apple and other leading online services under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The NSA has also coerced manufacturers into building secret vulnerabilities into their products, and hoards their tricks for breaking into consumer electronics and networks despite the administration’s pledge to notify companies of security flaws. There is generally no requirement that warrants be obtained from the secretive FISA Court to conduct operations, which is decidedly illegal. And, recently, the Obama administration announced expansions in the NSA’s privileges for sharing private data, without warrant or court order or congressional authorization, with 16 other agencies.
This is merely a sample of surveillance under Obama, completely ignoring policies which involving spying on allies in collaboration with the other Five Eyes nations. In the words of British foreign secretary William Hague, "If you are a law-abiding citizen of this country going about your business and your personal life you have nothing to fear,” a frankly draconian sentiment in line with the mantra of “Sniff it all, collect it all, know it all, process it all and exploit it all.” As discussed by Glenn Greenwald, state surveillance is necessarily oppressive and dangerously easy to acclimatize to. Fortunately the general American attitude here is much less accepting than with the drone programs: 54% of Americans, especially Republicans and independents, disapprove of government collection of telephone and internet data for antiterrorism purposes, while 74% do not believe they should sacrifice civil liberties to combat terrorism. It should be noted that 62% of the international community (excluding the U.S.) disapprove of NSA spying on Americans.
Since his election, armed with his augmented NSA and CIA programs for surveillance and targeted killing, Obama has bombed seven nations—Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria—in comparison to Bush’s four. Despite ending the war in Iraq and the de-escalation of war in Afghanistan, Obama’s $866 billion in DoD war-related expenditures outstriped Bush’s $811 billion. Obama has continued the practice of supporting the domestic defense industry with a $38 billion military aid package to Israel. The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has expanded by nearly 25% since Obama took office. In 2016 alone more than 12,000 bombs were dropped on each of Syria and Iraq, with an average rate of one every twenty minutes over the whole year. Rafiq ur-Rehman, whose mother was killed and children seriously injured by a 2012 drone strike in Pakistan, told the Guardian: “America treats us worse than animals.” Indeed, U.S. approval ratings in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan are lower today than during the close of the Bush administration. Even after his death, the costly American crusades continue to fulfill bin Laden’s dream of bleeding the West while radicalizing affected regions and turning more nations against the U.S., earning Obama an F.
Civil Liberties (Diandre)
In terms of civil liberties, President Obama was absolutely atrocious. He is the worst president ever when it comes to civil liberties. That may sound like a stretch but let me explain. Obama used the Espionage Act to not only persecute more whistleblowers than any president in history, but he jailed more whistleblowers than all presidents COMBINED! That alone gets him an F. I just revealed my final grade for him on civil liberties but I will continue to explain why he gets an F without question so there is no doubt in your mind.
On New Year’s eve in 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This allows the president to throw Americans citizen in jail without a trial or a charge. This is completely unconstitutional. Obama said that his administration would not detain citizens without a trial or charge, but guess what? Donald Trump will have the power to do so. He gave Donald Trump the power to jail American citizens without a trial or a charge. You may think I’m crazy or overstating this, well here’s a statement from the ACLU: “President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law.” Here’s another quote from the ACLU “We are incredibly disappointed that President Obama signed this new law even though his administration had already claimed overly broad detention detention authority in court… Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the War on Terror was extinguished today.” This is bad, Donald Trump can throw anyone that opposes him in jail. When he does this, Obama is to blame. Again an F. But wait, there’s more. It doesn’t get much worse but it’s just as bad.
Democrats got mad at George Bush because of the NSA program. They should be PISSED at Obama for expanding the NSA. I won’t go into too much detail on that because Claudio spoke on that but the expansion of the NSA is essentially saying you have no fourth amendment rights. Donald Trump will have those exact same powers. So again, an F. But wait, there’s more.
This isn’t as bad as the others but it’s still an F. Obama didn’t close down Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay is horrible but the only reason president Obama didn’t get a super F is because he didn’t open Guantanamo Bay. Before hack democratic loyalists make excuses for Obama, let me shut that down. That which can be opened extra judicially, can be shut down extra judicially. Guantanamo Bay was set up out of the law so Obama didn’t have to go through congress to shut it down. That was just a dodge probably because he never wanted to shut it down in the first place. Many people in Guantanamo Bay are innocent, but Obama is completely fine throwing innocent people in jail. Just a reminder, he gets an F.
I think you’re noticing a pattern on Civil liberties with Obama. Unfortunately, that pattern continues. For Obama, it is ok for him to throw anyone in jail who reveals the criminal activity of our criminal government such as Chelsea Manning who he has since commuted, but it’s not ok for him to jail those who committed war crimes? Obama didn’t jail one person in the Bush Administration who committed War Crimes but he set the record for jailing whistleblowers. That’s an F.
Now this I guess I can be more lenient on Obama because he decided to free Chelsea Manning, but he’s not going to get too much props for that because he should have never jailed her in the first place. She revealed war crimes so Obama threw her in jail. What is wrong with you Barack Obama? I guess I’ll be nice because he released her but I’m not going to be too nice because he didn’t pardon Edward Snowden. I’ll give him a D on this specifically.
Obama’s overall grade for Civil Liberties is an F.
Social Rights (Diandre)
What Obama lost in civil liberties, he can somewhat regain in social rights. Obama was the first president to come out in favor of LGBT rights. Whether you feel that he did it for political expediency or not, the fact that he is the first president to come out in supporter of LGBT rights, that’s big. He also ended the “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” law that was passed by Bill Clinton. The law legalized discrimination against gay people in the military and Obama got rid of that. He deserves all the credit in the world for that.
Another massive positive for Obama is that he proposed a rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons. The rule states “ that states cannot withhold Title X federal family planning money from certain recipients for any reason other than the provider’s ability to deliver services to the program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” The Title X program provides basic preventative healthcare and family planning services for 4 million low-income Americans. 85 percent of patients who use Title X have incomes below $23,500. This is another area where Obama wins bigs.
An area where Obama does not do well on are black rights and black issues. As of 2016, the black unemployment rate is more than double that of the white unemployment rate 8.8 percent to 4.3 percent. A white man with a criminal record today is as likely to receive a job that a black man without one. White’s and black use drugs at similar rates yet blacks are more than four times more likely to be convicted for drug possession. Whites sell drugs at higher rates but blacks are six times more likely to be arrested for selling drugs. I can go on and on with these statistics, but the fact of the matter is President Obama didn’t do NEARLY enough for the blacks. He could have ended the Drug War which disproportionately targets blacks but he chose not to so and that’s a massive failure on his part. What are we supposed to expect Trump to do it? That’s a massive failure on Obama. But overall on social issues, I’ll give him a passing grade.
Obama’s final grade on Social Issues is a B.
A total of 2.4 million unauthorized immigrants were deported by the Obama administration between 2009 and 2014, a record amount from which roughly half were Mexican, but this statistic is perhaps the least shocking of those which refute the campaign promise of “a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens."
In 2014, an unprecedented wave of unaccompanied minors and families arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The Obama Administration responded to the crisis by opening large detention centers along the border, private prisons in which thousands of Central Americans were kept, to deter newcomers. Despite complaints of medical neglect and poor oversight, the Obama administration has resisted calls to end the practice; in the words of one refugee, “We come here for help, and they treat you worse than an animal, worse than a criminal.” This tragic inability to meet a humanitarian crisis is merely another facet of immigration policy in which Obama has failed.
Consider now the study by Borjas, Grogger, and Hanson, which takes data from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses and finds a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates; their analysis suggests that a 10% immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0%, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5%, and increased their incarceration rate by almost 1%. Poor Latino communities suffer similarly and are also targeted by systems which racially profile them together with undocumented Mexican immigrants; this causes a great deal of resentment and anger, even leading Latinos to change their names or renounce their heritage to avoid persecution. Though pundits counted on the hispanic vote for Hillary Clinton in key states like Florida, often conflating immigrants and U.S. Latinos as the primary object of Trump’s scorn, in the end the Republican candidate earned a nontrivial 28% of the Latino vote. The point here is the U.S. conveniently forgets that, even if they often share a special kinship, American Latinos are not the same as Latin Americans—treating them as such is bad politics.
Indeed, legendary labor leader César Chávez was committed to restricting immigration because he understood politically docile migrant workers impede the process of organizing labor; immigrants were often used as strikebreakers, which weakens bargaining power, and could not protest any infringement of their rights for fear of being fired or deported. César Chávez and the United Farm Workers Union, rather than diminishing their power by naively integrating undocumented workers, helped to enact the 1986 amnesty provision through which a million farm workers became legal residents and hence strengthened the labor movement. It is policies like these, which grant citizenship, that protect both native-born labor and immigrants.
Before concluding it is worth noting, as reported by the University of Chicago Booth School, that economists generally agree the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy are broadly positive. Immigrants, whether high- or low-skilled, are unlikely to replace native-born workers or reduce their wages over the long-term, though they may cause some short-term dislocations in labor markets. Furthermore immigrants in general, despite their legality, are net positive taxpayers—undocumented immigrants pay roughly $12 billion a year in taxes. It is for communities with little to no inherited wealth that these “short-term dislocations” cause real harm, people with no means to survive between jobs who can suddenly find themselves totally destitute, and whose plight must be taken seriously. The concern here is not immigrant-driven economic downfall or lack of empathy amongst existing Americans of color, but the failure of government thanks in no small part to Republican efforts to block reform. The Democratic leaders and their faltering in forging the path to citizenship implicitly admits favor for a brand of immigrant laborer driven into wage slavery by fear of deportation. Moreover, having replaced his original pledge with partial measures like DACA, a 2012 executive action protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation, Obama has failed to protect immigrant families from being torn apart. For all this, I give him a D on immigration.
The Economy/ Wall Street Reform/ Job Creation (Diandre)
In 1999, Bill Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act which eliminated important provisions in Glass Steagall. Glass Steagall was a way to regulate Wall Street and the banks which prevented another economic crashes like that of the Great Depression. Under George W. Bush, the crooks on Wall Street went wild and it lead to the Great Recession. To jumpstart the economy, Obama signed a stimulus package of over $800 million which jump started the job creation process. That was a huge positive. From 2009 to 2017, President Obama created over 17 million jobs, has cut taxes on the lower and middle classes, increased taxes on those making over $400k a year. He also signed Dodd Frank which put some regulations in place so the banks couldn't just do whatever they want. Part of Dodd Frank was the Consumer Credit Bureau which has helped millions of Americans.
With Obama comes some positives, but you will notice with those come a ton of negatives—this is a pattern with Obama. Although Dodd Frank was some so reform and had some important provisions like the Consumer Credit Bureau, Dodd Frank is an extremely weak, watered down bill that is filled with loopholes that allow the banks to gamble with your money and make risky investments. While it is certainly better than no reform at all because there would have been another crash by now with no reform, it is not enough.
Another massive negative on Obama in this category is that he didn’t jail any of the Wall Street Bankers who destroyed the world economy and ruined millions of lives. Obama’s reasoning for not jailing Wall Street criminals was that the crimes were committed in the past and that he’s moving forward. What sense does that make? Technically all crimes were committed in the past. I have yet to see someone commit a crime in the future. By that logic, Obama should release everyone from prison and never allow anyone to be jailed again. That’s crazy to me. Obama decided to bailout Wall Street, while leaving Main Street hanging. The homeowners who were victims of fraud were never bailed out. This is a consistent theme throughout Obama’s presidency. He looked out for the rich and powerful while ignoring the issues of the middle and lower classes. The rich receive virtually all new income and when their corporations experience hard times the middle and lower classes bailed them out with our hard earned tax dollars. America claims that it is a country that is anti-socialism. I call bullshit. America has a system where the rich capitalizes on the gains while the poor socializes the loss. When will the middle and lower classes be bailed out?
Something that Obama touts is the fact that he created more than 17 million jobs in office, majority of which are private sector jobs, has doubled the stock market and has halved unemployment. Republicans who are complaining over this are complete hypocrites and we should pay them no mind because he did exactly what they wanted. The issue is that Obama is a democrat. He did lot of things that the right wingers and republicans claim they want to do. Liberals and progressives have legitimate complaints about Obama. Although Obama created millions of jobs, those jobs that were created were low paying private sector jobs. Those jobs replaced higher paying jobs and wages remained stagnant. Yes, more people had jobs, but those people are struggling to survive despite working full time.
One of the biggest failures of the democratic party and the Obama administration was that they measured their success in terms of unemployment levels which he cut in half, and the stock market. While those are important factors, those are not the only factors that mattered. Democrats ignored what I would call the most important factor which is wages. Wages did not increase. Majority of people working are a part of the working poor. Millennials are the first generation in American history that will be worse off economically than the last generation and this is despite millennials being the most educated generation in history. In the past, you could get a decent job after graduating high school, today if you’re a college graduate, a job is not guaranteed and many college graduates are working low paying jobs. That’s something that was never addressed under Obama. Income inequality grew under Obama. From 2009 – 2013, 95 percent of all new income went to the top one percent of income earners in America and since 2013, the bottom 99 percent saw a net 12 percent drop in their income. That’s a major issue and in my opinion played a huge part in Trump’s rise (I will expand upon that a bit later). Another massive negative and even the biggest Obama supporters cannot overlook is the fact that the last minimum wage increase came under George Bush. Since 1938, only three presidents have never signed a minimum wage increase. Those presidents are Gerald Ford (who became president four months after Nixon signed an increase into law), Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Keep in mind that he had a super majority in the house and senate. The Democratic Party is supposed to be pro-worker and pro-union but somehow there were zero minimum wage increases under our liberal, progressive, pro-union, pro-worker, democratic president.
Although president Obama never raised the minimum wage, he in typical democratic fashion threw the people a bone, but to be fair, this bone had some meat on it. President Obama signed in law new overtime rules. The way overtime worked prior to this bill was, any employee that is an hourly employee automatically qualifies for overtime. Things get a bit trickier for salaried employees. For salaried employee, those making `$23,660 or less a year are qualified for overtime pay. As of December 1st, thanks to Obama, that threshold more than doubled. Now anyone making $47,476 or less will qualify for overtime. It is estimated that the new overtime rule will cover at least an additional 4.2 million workers. Prior to this new law, only 7 percent of salaries workers qualified for overtime. That number is now 40 percent. Here’s why that’s so significant, besides the fact that people are paid more, we need to understand that salaried workers are paid a set amount. Their employers would at times have them work way more hours than they are scheduled to work, and they wouldn’t be paid an additional dime for that extra work. This new overtime law will force employers to either pay their employees more or let them go home when their day is done so they would have more leisure time. I would have raised the cap to probably $100,000 but he deserves all the credit in the world. I am saying this unironically, thanks Obama.
Something else that Obama deserves a ton of credit for cutting the Annual Deficit in half. I hear right wingers disingenuously complain about the national deficit. They either don’t understand what the National Debt is or they’re being stupid on purpose. The National Debt is the accumulation of debt since the founding of the country. The Annual Deficit is the yearly deficit that we have. A big part of the reason that the deficit doubled was because of George Bush. Obama cutting the annual deficit in half is the reason why the national deficit isn’t significantly larger. Don’t listen to right wingers who continuously cite the National Deficit as an issue with Obama, it’s the Annual Deficit that matters.
Obama also deserves a ton of credit for the auto bailout. There were some people in Obama’s cabinet who wanted to let GM go under. The auto bailout saved 1.5 million jobs. Those 1.5 million jobs saved were just jobs that would have still been gone today had the bailout not taken place. The bailout prevented an immediate overall loss of 2.63 million jobs. In return, employees of the auto industry paid more than $105 billion in government taxes which is roughly $59,000 per employee as of 2013. Things would have been significantly worse had the auto industry not been bailed out. Although all the jobs did not return, the auto industry would be 2.78 million jobs in the red rather than the 1.28 million in the red that it already is.
Obama’s Final grade on the Economy/ Wall Street Reform/ Job Creation, is a C+.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our infrastructure gets a grade of D+. Obama’s grade on infrastructure will not go higher than that. Now here’s why it gets worse: We all know of the catastrophe of a water crisis in Flint Michigan. What many people don’t know is that 3,000 other cities in America has higher levels of lead than in Flint Michigan. It’s 2016, we live in America, the country that Hillary Clinton said is already great. How are we a great nation we when cannot provide clean water for our citizens when we gave $38 billion to give to Israel, $1.5 trillion to spend on a fighter Jet that initially couldn’t fly, and billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, a nation that beheads women for leaving home without a man? There were studies done that show that lead poisoning leads to brain damage. We can’t fix our pipes but Exxonmobil gets billion dollar subsidies every year. Donald Trump is wrong to say “Make america great again,” because America was never great but Hillary and her fans are clowns saying “America is already great.” You don’t understand how much you privileged folk are spitting in the face of people whose life suck when you say “America is already great.” That statement is essentially saying, “your problems don’t matter.” We have money to give to everyone else except the middle class and the poor people in this country. Our pipes are rusted, our roads, and bridges are falling apart and we are the richest country in the history of the world. Very bad.
Obama’s final grade on Infrastructure is an F.
Iran Nuclear Deal (Claudio)
The Iran Deal is one of the proudest achievements lauded by the Obama administration. According to the U.S. Arms Control Association, “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.” The U.S. claimed that Iran’s nuclear program was less than two years, maybe even weeks, from producing a nuclear weapon before the plan was considered, and argued nuclear weapons would begin an era of Iranian warmongering which could escalate the Middle East and Persian Gulf conflicts. Prior to the deal, the Iranians had nearly attained the uranium enrichment level of 20%, which is short of the roughly 90% enrichment required to produce a nuclear weapon—nonetheless, this was cause for concern amongst the U.S. and its allies. The deal drastically reduces Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium from 10,000 kg to 300 kg, and forbids enrichment beyond 3.67% (a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building nuclear weapons). A number of safeguards have also been implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will continuously monitor Iran’s declared nuclear program. These factors made the efforts by Obama and his staff all the more important and praiseworthy.
With all that said, the U.S. has been concerned about the Iranian capability and ambitions to produce nuclear weapons for some time. And while most of the world apparently shares the positive sentiment of the Arms Control Association, there exist prominent sectors of the U.S. who share sentiment with Israel and Saudi Arabia over “the Iranian threat”. This was visible in the form of huge Republican opposition to the deal, under pressure from the so-called Israeli lobby and Saudi Gulf oil interests. Indeed, with huge funds giving rise to massive propaganda campaigns, public opinion has shifted in mere months from overwhelming support for the deal to widespread disapproval and uncertainty. There was a great amount of discussion in the 2016 Republican primary over the prospect of immediately bombing Iran, regarding the nuclear deal as “life-threatening for Israel.” In the words of conservative commentator Norman Ornstein, the Republican party has become a “radical insurgency—ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise,” but nonetheless they are an undeniable driving force in U.S. policy.
While their rhetoric is alarming to much of the world, radical Republicans are not the only domestic policymakers whose warmongering causes concern in the international community. The Bush-era NSA is reportedly the source of Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm identified in 2010 which was responsible for causing substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program. Despite the dramatic public commitment of young President Obama to build a world free from nuclear weapons, his administration has presented a plan to build a new generation of U.S. warheads, delivery systems, and production facilities to the tune of $1 trillion over 30 years. The U.S. continues to spend more on its military than the next 8 nations combined, deploys its utterly unmatchable fleet across the globe with impunity, operates nearly 800 military bases worldwide, and carries out countless bombings and assassinations without any sort of approval.
In fact, the U.S. is regarded by the rest of the world as the greatest threat to global peace, followed by Pakistan and China. Moreover, according to a 2010 Pentagon report the Iranian conventional forces “lack the air power and logistical ability… to confront regional powers such as Turkey or Israel,” and “Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy.” That is, the Iranian strategic doctrines are defensive; the nation is under extremely close surveillance, and well aware that its military forces would be utterly wiped out by U.S. response if it attempted to use nuclear weapons (which it does not possess) offensively.
Ultimately, while the Iran deal was a landmark achievement for relations between the nations and a peaceful means of recognizing Iran's right to pursue a non-military nuclear program, the triumph is tarnished somewhat by other U.S. actions in Iran, often involving drones. Obama’s final grade here is a B.
Money in Politics (Diandre)
I’m just going to describe to you how much big money has control of our politicians. According to a study done by Princeton University, America no longer functions as a democracy. It is now an oligarchy. Before delving into the study, I think it is essential that I define what an oligarchy is. An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
Researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page published an article titled “Testing Theories of American Politics.” Gilens and Page studied 1,799 different policy initiatives from 1981 - 2002. They compared the policy changes with the expressed opinion of the U.S Public, comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups. The conclusion of the study was that the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy. So we are supposed to vote for politicians and we expect them to represent us; that’s what a representative democracy is and it’s what we are supposed to be. But according to this study, our opinions have nothing to do with what policies are implemented. While our opinions mean absolutely nothing the economic elites and interest groups opinions highly correlated with the policies that were implemented. The only time that the policies that the people wanted was passed is when the side with more money happens to align with our interests. It should be noted that this study was done before Citizens United, and before McCutcheon. Things have only gotten worse since then with an increase in big money in politics. I say all that to say, Obama has done nothing about money in politics. Since the 1976 case Buckley v Valeo that said money equals free speech, things have gone downhill from there. Obama said he wanted to change Washington. The only way that would have happened is if he got money out of politics because if the people are funding politicians, the politicians would represent us rather than their donors, it’s common sense. Since Obama did nothing about the biggest cancer in American politics, I think it’s fairly obvious what his grade will be here.
Obama’s final grade on Money in Politics is an F.
To most, leadership seems like this abstract thing and can’t really be defined and is totally subjective. That can be true so I think it is essential for me to define it. One thing that I want everyone to keep in mind is that Obama was the President of the United States. He was the most powerful man in the entire world. For eight years, he had the bully pulpit. Anytime he decided to do anything, the news had no choice but to cover him. Not only did he have the bully pulpit, unlike previous presidents in my lifetime, Obama is extremely charismatic. He has a special talent where he can just move people with his words. In 2008 when he beat John McCain, he received a record number of votes. We hear idiot clownboy Donald Trump say that “I have a mandate” and George Bush said the same thing. Both of them are idiots and lost the popular vote. President Obama actually had a mandate. If he told the people to move, they would jump. He had that cache and he could have changed the country with it. Instead he choose to let the 72 million voters who voted for him in 2008 lose hope and killed their enthusiasm with his incremental change and kicked the can down the road for the next guy to take care of the job. As a result, in 2012 only 65 million people voted for him which is 7 million less people. People were excited about 2008 Obama because he was the candidate of hope and change. His slogan “Yes We Can,” not only excited millions of people across America, but also millions of people around the world.
After 8 years of no change, and Hillary Clinton promising to continue Obama’s legacy which was same old same old, it lead to a Trump presidency. Millions of former Obama voters, voted for Donald Trump in 2016. According to a CNN Exit poll, nearly 25 percent of Trump voters believed he was unqualified, but people didn’t care, they wanted change. Obama promised change and he failed to deliver, instead, he continued the same status quo. People HATE the status quo. Right now according to a 2017 Gallup poll, congress has a 19 percent approval rating and they were just elected. The American people did not want a continuation of Obama’s legacy. Obama is a likeable guy and extremely likeable when compared to Donald Trump who is the most unpopular president ever entering office, but the American people are upset that nearly 50 percent of American live in poverty. They are upset that 38 percent of people make less than $20,000 a year, 50 percent of people make less than $30,000 a year, 62 percent of Americans make less than $40,000 a year, and 71 percent of Americans make less than $50,000 a year. Yes, Donald Trump is a scary, horrific creature, but he seemed different than the standard politician which is why he got elected. You could have been the greatest presidents and the greatest leaders that this countries has ever seen, but you didn’t take advantage of the opportunity that you had.
Although Obama was not a great leader, he was an effective manager. I absolutely detest bipartisanship but some people like it. He always tried to get as many voices involved as possible albeit the wrong voices, but other voice nonetheless. Obama deserves a ton of create for apologizing to Japan for America dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the ending of World War II. He, also against heavy republican opposition began to improve relations with Cuba. The thing that I was happiest about was that he pledged $90 million to remove unexploded cluster bombs from Laos that were dropped during the Vietnam War. That was a great thing and improves his letter grade a full grade.
Obama’s final grade on leadership is a D.
Relations with Cuba (Claudio)
The gradual improvement of U.S. relations with Cuba under the Obama administration had a rocky start in 2012, when Washington refused a prisoner exchange presented by the Cuban government. The proposal was for five Cuban intelligence officers sent by Havana to observe and infiltrate anti-Castro organizations and paramilitary groups, who were arrested in 1998, to be exchanged for USAID contractor Alan Gross. The exchange occurred two and a half years later, nonetheless, following Obama’s commitment towards normalizing relations; the Cubans also released Rolando Sarraff Trujillo—a double agent who had been imprisoned for almost twenty years—and the following year another 53 dissidents. In response, Obama used executive action to lessen restrictions on exchange of goods, eased travel restrictions for U.S. citizens visiting Cuba, and urged Congress to reconsider the trade sanctions. The Cuban and U.S. so-called “interest sections” in Washington and Havana were formally designated embassies, and in March of 2016 Obama and Raul Castro watched an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team in Havana. There has been a marked increase in Cubanos immigrating to the U.S., and conversely there was a dramatic increase in Americans visiting Cuba.
Despite the improved relations, however, the overall pace of progress is quite slow. President Castro called on the U.S. to do more to lift the embargo, something which Obama has publicly encouraged of Congress quite sparingly, and further cautioned that relations could never be normalized while Guantanamo Bay continues to operate. Aviva Chomsky argued that Obama’s voyage to Havana was largely symbolic, remarking that recent developments were “less than a breakthrough.” She went on to state that “the main obstacle [to normalization] is the U.S. assumption, attitude and policy that it has the right to determine Cuba’s future and dictate what type of government and political and economic system Cuba should have.”
Indeed, even so far back as 1902 when Cuba declared independence, the U.S. retained the right (via the Cuban constitution) to intervene in affairs and to supervise both finances and foreign relations. The United States has invaded Cuba, has engaged in covert operations to overthrow Cuba’s government, and of course imposed its economic blockade; Cuba has never implemented hostile policies towards the United States. The paramilitary operations known as Operation Mongoose, consisting of economic warfare and sabotage, was launched by Kennedy in late 1961 to visit what Arthur Schlesinger termed the “terrors of the earth” on Fidel Castro, who survived over 600 assassination attempts. The Mongoose guidelines stated that “final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention,” with a timetable for open revolt against the Communist regime in October 1962, and concerns of American invasion ultimately became so great that Khrushchev placed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba as a deterrent.
As such, continued progress for U.S. relations with Cuba depends greatly on Washington’s willingness to leave Cuba to govern itself. Just as the U.S. is to this day hesitant to meaningfully reckon with its legacy of slavery and colonialism, American leaders must face the reality of past actions against Cuba. Fidel Castro denounced Obama’s “saccharine” encouragement to “forget the past, leave the past, look to the future, look at it together, a future of hope.” This is an all-too familiar sentiment from a president whose campaign was founded on promises of change and equality, but who failed to implement policy for seriously dealing with mass incarceration, black poverty, and other forms of oppression leftover in a nation founded on a century of brutal, outright slavery. For these reasons, I give Obama’s efforts in Cuba a C+.
The State of the Democratic Party (Diandre)
For the last eight years, President Obama was the leader of the Democratic Party. After he was elected the democrats had a super majority in the house and the senate. From 2009 to 2016, the democrats lost 910 state legislators. Even if you are the biggest Obama fan in the world, you have to admit he deserves an F in this category. That is an epic categorical, unquestionable failure by the leader of the democratic party. The republicans control everything. They have the house, the senate, state governorship, probably dogcatchers and it’s bad. The last time the republicans had this much control, the Great Depression occurred. These next four years and definitely the next two years is going to be a wild ride. I don’t see things going too well. The democratic party has been decimated and that falls squarely on the shoulders of its leader.
Obama’s final grade on the State of the Democratic Party is an F.
President Barack Obama’s presidency is quite the literal definition of a mixed bag. He did a ton of good things but his good were followed up by a ton of bad. He is not close to the worst president ever, but he’s not close to one of the best presidents either. He wasn’t a transformative president by any stretch. The best presidents are all remembered for something. FDR passed Glass Steagall which protected America from an economic collapse for 50 years and created Social Security which is the most popular program in American history. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. President Obama was an incrementalist. He made very little change and tried to appease both sides and in the end left the American people blowing in the wind. Unfortunately for Obama, he will be remembered most for being the first black president rather than being remembered for being a transformative figure in American history. – Diandre
Perhaps the most startling aspect of the Obama legacy—and something we did not discuss in this piece—is how completely oblivious so many Americans are, especially millennials, to the failures and atrocities of his presidency we have named here. Obama gets away with murder (literally) because he, his family, and his bromance with Biden are all we talk about, rather than his policies (or lack thereof). Barack spent so much of his presidency peddling hope, with much success, rather than pursuing policy to facilitate the change he once alluded to; Michelle got on Oprah and recounted a bootstraps narrative to sell the idea that race and wealth are inconsequential, subtly contributing to the myth that blacks and Latinos fail because they didn’t work hard enough, and was lauded for it. There is a lasting damage of idolizing and creating more politicians like Barack and Hillary (and Michelle?), people who are content meeting the descendants of slaves with initiatives to advertise a handful of successful faces rather than addressing the legacy of white supremacy in earnest.
Obama had plenty of opportunities to change the course of the nation, both at home and abroad; for example, despite having support for single-payer healthcare, both congressionally and publicly, he didn't even try. In many ways, the Obamas were merely the latest vanguard for prolonging the neoliberal status quo which has kept poor communities around the country (and the whole world over) firmly planted in poverty. He made some improvements, some regressions, some half-measures, and overall was frankly unimpressive and disappointing. I want a President who doesn't fill the job market with contract and part time labor and wash his hands of it, who doesn’t recklessly expand draconian surveillance and global assassination programs, and who takes immigration reform and labor movements seriously. I generally wasn’t a fan of Obama’s farewell speech, which sounded like a much more progressive candidate running for office rather than an outgoing neoliberal. But he got one thing right: “I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.” – Claudio
Final Report Card: Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
The Global War on Terror
The Economy / Wall Street / Jobs
Iran Nuclear Deal
Money in Politics
Relations with Cuba
The State of the Democratic Party
Cumulative GPA: 1.35 (D+) 67/100