How Trump is really changing things


It has been a long and unproductive year for President Trump. Rejecting and replacing the Affordable Care Act with craters. The wall at the US border UU.-Mexico has not been built or financed. The tax reform, although moving forward, is still far from a signing ceremony of Rose Garden. Despite the government's unified Republican control, Trump has little to show for it.

However, it has also been a long and productive year for the president. The direction of federal policy toward the environment, the energy industries, immigration, education, civil rights, commerce and the federal workforce has drastically changed and is rapidly remaking the federal judicial system. What President Barack Obama began in many of these areas, Trump has begun to reverse.

The president's tweets draw enormous attention to his complaints and pettiness. The absence of notable legislative successes centers the criticism on his leadership style. These realities overshadow what he has done and is doing unilaterally, to the extent of his executive powers. In other ways, your presidency seems unique. In the arena of executive action, he is following a model established by his previous predecessors, with troubling consequences for constitutional governance.

That's the conclusion of an essay in the Forum's most recent issue, a non-partisan political ideas and badysis magazine. Sidney M. Milkis and Nicholas Jacobs, both from the University of Virginia, argue that Trump's deployment of what they call "executive-centered partisanship" is in keeping with the modern presidency and a potentially damaging change in our politics.

the authors take note of Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, where he said that he, a stranger, knew better than anyone how to solve the problems of a broken government. "Nobody knows the system better than me," he said. "That's why I can only fix it."

Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post recaps Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21. Photo by Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post (Peter Stevenson, Sarah Parnbad / TWP)

The first year of his presidency seems to mock that statement, given the problems he has had in Congress and the fact that his approval ratings they are the lowest of any president at this time of his mandate since there were surveys.

However, as the authors point out, "the aggressive and deliberate attack of his administration against the liberal state is often overlooked amid the disappointments and recriminations of Trump's frantic principle … From the first day, Trump he has vigorously, and sometimes successfully, pressed the programmatic achievements of his predecessor. "

Milkis and Jacobs argue that this approach to government has its roots in presidencies that go back decades. The consequence is the evolution of a "race centered on the presidency and rancorous between liberals and conservatives" with all kinds of collateral damage to Congress, the states and public confidence in the government in general.

They argue that this has produced a policy that "is no longer a struggle over the size of the state" but a competition between liberals and conservatives "to seize and deploy the state and its resources."

Former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush used these powers to advance conservative goals. Obama, the author points out, campaigned as someone who would move the nation to meaningless discussions to a postpartum presidency but in office, particularly when their frustrations with a Republican-controlled Congress intensified, they fully embraced the use of vigorous executive action. for politics and partisan purposes.

"Most of her executive actions were aimed at strengthening a widely dispersed but potentially powerful coalition that had been forming since the Great Society: minorities, youth, the LGBTQ community and educated white voters, especially single women," according to [19659002] Although Obama's and Trump's executive action objectives are diametrically opposed politically, the authors argue that the two presidents share two things in common: "a detachment from party organization and a vision of the White House as the vanguard of a movement ".

Trump lacked a clear legislative strategy from the beginning of his presidency. It had no well-developed policy proposals to offer to Congress, lacked interest in knowing the details of key legislation, such as medical care, showed limited interest in using the intimidating pulpit to defend the legislative priorities of the Republican Party, and, although it has Spent a lot of time talking to lawmakers, he has not proven that he is the kind of negotiator he claimed to be.

However, in the arena of executive action, he has pursued objectives consistent with the rhetoric of his campaign, and, like Obama, priorities designed to appeal directly to his own political coalition.

Some actions closely follow the conventional conservative republican doctrine. Others reflect their "America First" perspective and a suspicion of what former councilor Stephen K. Bannon called the "deep state" of the federal bureaucracy. At times, he has carried out actions that refer to some elements of the traditional republican coalition. On other occasions, he is acting in pursuit of the objectives of that coalition.

There can not be a final recount of success or failure in this field, given the short time that Trump has been in office and the obstacles that exist in the face of a president trying to act unilaterally.

So far, the record is mixed. Trump has moved the policy in a different direction, but Milkis and Jacobs write that, in the short term, their actions appear to have "fostered a destructive work arrangement in the White House Office, emptying departments and regular agencies and limited their support for". for the conservative Republicans who represent approximately 40 percent of the electorate. "

The authors close with a note of warning, which began in other presidencies became" an obvious alarm during the Trump presidency. "That is the "false illusion" that the executive "can really function as a representative democratic institution." Instead, they say, executive partisanship exposes the public to "leaders" who disregard the institutional constraints that are a vital ingredient of constitutional government "as well as the collaboration that has long been at the center of party politics.

The president and Congress face a busy and potentially fatal month of legislative conflict, which will legitimately be the focus of attention until the end of the year. But no one should lose sight of the unilateral action at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue that has been so defining in Trump's presidency record.

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