Va The Atlantic: What Trump Has Quietly Accomplished
Trump Has Quietly Accomplished More Than It Appears
The chaos, legislative fumbling, and legal jeopardy should not obscure the ways that the administration is remaking federal policy in consequential ways.
Imagine, if you will, that there is a shadow government.
The actual government, the administration of Donald Trump, is coming off the worst week of his presidency, although there haven’t been any smooth weeks. Trump’s top legislative priority, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, seems dead for the moment. (Tax reform? Forget it.) His administration has set a new standard for chaos and dysfunction, rolling through staffers the way other administrations run through, well, legislative initiatives. Trump’s foreign policy remains inchoate and ineffective. Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation looms over the entire administration, threatening both its legitimacy and legal jeopardy for some of its members.
Things are going considerably better for the shadow government. With the Trump administration’s chaos sucking up all the attention, it’s been able to move forward on a range of its priorities, which tend to be more focused on regulatory matters anyway. It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects. It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come.
The trick here is that the administration and this shadow government are one and the same. Even as the public government sputters, other elements of the Trump administration are quietly remaking the nation’s regulatory landscape, especially on the environment and criminal justice.
There is so much attention paid to the chaos in the executive branch that it’s easy to come to believe that Trump is getting nothing whatsoever accomplished. Even for people who don’t support the president’s agenda—especially for them, in fact—it is useful to step back occasionally and take stock of what this presidency is doing to work toward its goals.
Another good read (slideshow warning) can be found here: