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veloharris t1_j9m7atx wrote

Obama made DC and public service seem cool to many and definitely gave the city a boost up in coolness. He and the First Lady were often out to eat at new restaurants, they held events with relevant contemporary artists etc.

The Trump presidency had a minimal to neutral effect. Many political appointee jobs went unfilled, there wasn't a surge of new young aspiring staffers etc. He didn't go out much at all etc.


LuellaDesjardins t1_j9mrjge wrote

Exactly. I’ve been here for like 15 years and the most noticeable vibe shift was during the Obama era. Cool is the perfect word to describe it.


202markb t1_j9nbju1 wrote

As someone who was here during Clinton I can say I agree and noticed the same back then. It’s not so much that things backslide during R admins (let’s face it, they don’t hang much in DC proper or contribute to it’s culture), it’s that we get fresh new blood with new D admins.


EducationPlus505 t1_j9n9bke wrote

>Many political appointee jobs went unfilled, there wasn't a surge of new young aspiring staffers etc.

Is that true? I vaguely remember reading an article along the lines of OP's point that presidential administration's do affect DC culture a little bit. Because the Trump Team was full of political outsiders, they didn't pick up a lot of the think tankers and other former administrative officials like you would expect. And look at how many Trump staffers were young people. Like, wasn't the deputy head of his personnel office like an undergrad from GW or something?

As I said, I remember reading some article about how most of the Trump staffers ended up moving to Navy Yard and Southeast. But I'm not so familiar with that, and it should be pointed out that there's been some development in those neighborhoods, so of course new people to the city would gravitate there.

ETA: I used to read a lot of Politico back in the day, and this article sounds about right. I could be wrong, but this is what I was thinking of.


walkandtalkk t1_j9q2d21 wrote

I would say Obama revitalized much of the city, such as the 14th Street corridor. (Yes, many people would call that gentrification, but I think it was a good thing.) He made DC feel like an exciting, creative place, merely because he seemed exciting and groundbreaking, and a lot of idealists flocked to his administration, and DC, as a result.

Whenever I walk by Le Diplomate, my first thought is still that it was Michelle Obama's favorite restaurant.

So I think Obama made DC more urbane. It is no longer a steakhouse city (though it still has some of that).

Trump made DC grumpier, but there was a certain energy in feeling like you were near the front lines of a real struggle for the soul of the country. It was stressful, but with each day his administration was stymied—by Pelosi, by the courts, by activists, by governors, by opinion polls that scared Republicans—there was a sense of hope and petty victory.

In short, D.C. felt more like an activist city, which was invigorating.

We're still finding our footing after the double-whammy of Trump and the pandemic. I'd say the city is a bit unsettled, certainly more so than it was under Obama. At least then there seemed to be a clear upward trajectory, escaping the crises of the '80s and '90s. We have a lot of challenges: Homelessness, crime (most of it petty), residential rents, and now a question about how how to deal with a partially empty downtown. It is clearly a transitional period.


Praxiscat t1_j9pkp77 wrote

I would say the problem with the Trump presidency was when his supporters came in from out of town. Especially to harass local residents. I remember in December of 2020 and a few other times when the proud boys went around beating up people. Likewise the other time his fascist supporters showed up to march around. Never mind the whole January 6th thing and the nightmare of the response to the BLM protests. Just in general this man was a nightmare for the city. Biden has been subdued. Trump was horrific on occasion. The celebration when he lost the election was great though. The Obama era was awesome though. That I agree with. I want that back.