Obama’s Legacy: A look back at the Obama administration’s key events and legislature

by Rose Guan and Nicole Chen

As the 2016 presidential election approaches with candidates’ campaigns and debates, President Barack Obama will leave a legacy eight years in the making for his successor.

As commander-in-chief of the United States, Obama influenced both domestic and foreign policies, with some of the major changes including introducing a new healthcare system with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and efforts against terrorist groups Taliban and al Qaeda in Iraq.

The Obama Administration issued the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare,  in March of 2010, increasing healthcare insurance and affordability for more individuals.

“I think Obamacare was probably the most sweeping and most consequential part of the Obama legacy,” said Felix Wu (‘15), currently a Field Organizer at the Iowa Democratic Party. “I think he’s been very intentional about the issues which he chooses to take on. During his second term, for instance, take the executive order that was pretty controversial that protected undocumented immigrants’ families. Executive orders like that or initiating negotiations with Iran on the Iran nuclear deal or opening up trade with Cuba again, I think all of those issues or policy decisions are examples of how President Obama has been very strategic in the kind of issues that he wants to take on, and he’s been successful in implementing them.”

In terms of foreign policy, the Obama Administration dealt with international relations in countries such as Russia and promoting peace in other countries; for example, the Obama administration attempted to re-establish diplomatic relations and trade with Cuba.

“He’s really learned how to reach out to the people, if you look at things like his ability to connect,” said AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Carol Green. “I think that he’s really reached out and left a positive view of America in terms of foreign policy and foreign relations, reaching out to nations, extending an open hand. The relations with Cuba would be a great example of that.”

Obama has also expanded protections for individuals targeted by hate crimes due to their sexual identity and orientation as well as made education more accessible.

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on October 10, 2016.