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Trump, the Administrative Presidency, and Federalism

By Frank J. Thompson, Kenneth K. Wong, and Barry G. Rabe
Cvr: Trump and Federalism

How Trump has used administrative powers to pursue his policy goals

The presidency of Donald Trump has been unique in many respects. His abrasive personal style, disregard for conventional norms of civil society, and disrespect for factual information are familiar to everyone.

Less familiar are the ways in which Trump has attempted to reverse the policies of his predecessor and advance positions that lack widespread support in Congress.

Trump has been particularly aggressive in the use of executive power, or the “administrative presidency,” to pursue his goals, including executive orders and regulatory changes.

This book analyzes the dynamics and unique qualities of Trump’s administrative presidency in healthcare, climate change, and education. In each of these policy spheres, the Trump administration pursued hostile takeovers in which White House policy goals were advanced through administrative action rather than legislation.

The authors show how Trump took unprecedented steps to undermine and otherwise reshape domestic policy programs through executive action. But the book also emphasizes how the forces of federalism, especially state attorneys general,governors, and legislatures, have often undercut Trump’s executive initiatives and reduced their impact on who gets what from government in the healthcare, climate, and education arenas.

Praise for Trump, the Administrative Presidency, and Federalism

“This is an important, timely, and informative book. Three respected policy experts examine what the Trump administration has wrought during its first three years. While most discussions of the Trump presidency have focused on his often-outrageous rhetoric, to what extent has this administration affected public policy? We know that its legislative record is minimal, but what about the use of executive authority by the president himself and his appointees? This detailed look at a variety of policy arenas provides answers to these crucial questions.”
—R. Shep Melnick, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., Professor of American Politics, Boston College

“In this timely and important book, the authors bring expertise in their respective fields of healthcare, the environment, and education to bear on the subject of the administrative presidency and federalism with an unusual degree of nuance, insight, and sophistication. It deserves to be read widely and will inform both the academic and policymaking communities.”
—Timothy J. Conlan, University Professor Emeritus of Policy and Government, George Mason University

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