September 6, 2019

IN THE rEPUBLIC, THE dEEP sTATE IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:

It's Not the "Deep State." It's the State. (Hedgehog Review, 3/17/17)

The idea that a "shadow government" or "deep state" has been actively resisting Trump since the president's inauguration has been widely circulated on right and alt-right media channels. Last week, Rush Limbaugh published an article indiscreetly titled, "Barack Obama and His Deep State Operatives are Attempting to Sabotage the Duly Elected President of the United States." Meanwhile, Sean Hannity took to the airwaves to argue that the Russian hacking of the DNC was actually the work of American intelligence agencies seeking to undermine Trump. And I'd best not mention Breitbart News on the matter.

Thankfully, the notion that that the "deep state" is responsible for the Trump administration's bumbling, stumbling first couple months in office has been panned by pundits on the left and the right. The New Yorker's David Remnick wrote last week, "The problem in Washington is not a Deep State; the problem is a shallow man--an untruthful, vain, vindictive, alarmingly erratic President." Similarly, Kevin Williamson writes in the National Review that "it isn't the "Deep State" that is making President Donald Trump look like an amateur. It is amateurism."

But if reports are true that Trump, Bannon, and other members of the White House inner ring are feeling frustrated and blaming it on the "deep state," maybe we should ask why. Clearly, they feel like they are bumping up against something big. Just because they may be mistaking it for the "deep state" (let alone an Obama-run deep state), does not mean that they are not in fact facing some real big resistance: the state itself, that vast network of bureaucracies, rules, regulations, institutions, and cultures that comprise the United States government.

Despite Bannon's boasting that he and Trump are engaged in the "deconstruction of the administrative state," they are finding that state much more difficult to navigate (let alone deconstruct) than they probably ever imagined, and not just because it's big, unwieldy, and complex. Rather, it's because Team Trump itself is a makeshift alliance that is now trying to become the state.

Which the Constitution, courts and people prevent.

Posted by at September 6, 2019 7:47 AM

  

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