My beef with many journalists right now is that they insist on trying to normalize Donald Trump by applying traditional historical standards to analyzing his actions.
If one does that, Trump seems irrational, his team incompetent. The pace of the transition is incomprehensibly slow. But this is not a normal administration. Steve Bannon, Trump’s closest policy adviser has described their agenda as a “radical deconstruction of the administrative state“.
When a journalist states that Trump will find he can’t get anything done without the staff at these various agencies in which management positions stand open, that presupposes that he WANTS to get anything done. In point of fact what we see is a move to radically de-fund and dismantle much of the Federal government structure. Trump doesn’t intend to fill these spots, he intends to eliminate them.
One needs to understand that Trump not only doesn’t care if he can get things done in the way most journalists would use the phrase, he actively wants to do nothing. His goal is to create a profound power vacuum in which private corporate market forces can function in a completely unimpeded fashion. This is an extremist attempt to take us back towards the free market capitalism that they believe existed 150 years ago, before the New Deal changed how we thought about the role of government.
The other factor that commentators seem to be missing in the “slow” Trump transition is that unfilled spots in the various Federal agencies means more centralized power at the white house. Trump outright stated that most of those unfilled jobs, he didn’t actually need filled… he had all the people he needed right there at the white house. This is the Emperor keeping everyone close at hand under the watchful eye of his most loyal henchmen. Trump is centralizing and consolidating power in an alarming fashion and the traditional media commentators keep on acting surprised that he isn’t doing what Presidents before him did.
Our journalists need to wake up and start looking at the real agenda here. This is not, in any way, shape, or form a normal Presidency. This is a radical and profound revolution in devolving how we approach the role of government. Nothing Trump is doing makes any sense if you don’t look at it through that filter.
New York Times President without and Administration