Deconstructing the Administrative State. David E. Lewis.
The Journal of Politics 2019 81:3, 767-789

”the steady state in current U.S. politics has been a common neglect of the infrastructure of government”

This work puts the current president’s efforts to deconstruct the administrative state (i.e., the agencies, people, and processes of the executive establishment) into context. Analogous to their neglect of the nation’s physical infrastructure, I explain why Congress and the president rarely have incentives to tend to the care and feeding of the departments and agencies of government, particularly the parts that provide few direct benefits to key electoral interests. I describe the health of the administrative state before Trump’s presidency to illustrate the cumulative effect of these incentives. I then turn to reviewing the Trump administration’s actions to deconstruct the administrative state. I illustrate how the president’s approach is consistent with the actions of previous presidents and how he departs, notably positioning himself as president but not chief executive. I conclude with implications for the quality of governance in the United States and some modest proposals for reform. constitutioncenter.org/… dcs.megaphone.fm/…

We note today 100,000 deaths as well as the meme #JusticeForCarolyn in its fabricated disinformation of what could be a true story about Trump’s treatment of his paramours’ abortions (see Elliot Broidy). After all Trump copes with mass death by diverting attention with something else spectacular, in this case yet another debunked conspiracy theory no less idiotic than the one for which he mounted a defense against his impeachment.
Trump has deconstructed what it means to grieve in terms of a pandemic, or in Trump’s case to deny its existence as a backward shifting cost — always someone else’s responsibility. Fortunately there’s about five and a half months left, and some interpretations will fall by the wayside only to be taken up after Trump’s finally out of the White House.
For example, the attempt to “deconstruct the administrative state”, while notable in its hope to fetishize a minimal state, failed if only because of its incompetent sense of military force and budgets. Trump’s incompetence has extended to military duty and honor, considering his use of it as ceremonial props and occasional assassins. And other than a pastiche of human resources under fascism or his reality TV program, Trump’s personnel actions are seen by some as mercurial but remain comically authoritarian as the cover-up(s) continue.


Maybe Trump will get confused and accidentally do a good job of governing. You don’t know he won’t. You literally have no idea what he believes about anything. He’s been on both sides of every issue. All his opinions exist in a Schrodinger’s-cat-like state where they might potentially be correct. Maybe he was only constantly spouting giant untruths because he literally didn’t know or remember what was actually true, not because he was executing some sort of sinister plan. Does he look like a man who has carefully studied Stalin’s Big Lie? He does not look like a man who has ever read an entire book about anything. Maybe he won’t remember to ban Muslims from the country. Update: nope looks like nope.


No. There is nothing inevitable about it. You will have to fight, every day. You are angry that you did not know.

4. Depression

Maybe if you don’t get out of bed ever again the Trump presidency will not happen.

5. Acceptance

No. Not that. Never that.



  • May 27, 2020
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