Works In Progress
Institutions Under Siege: Donald Trump's Attack on the Deep State
As president, except for the Civil War, Donald Trump’s attack on America’s political institutions was unprecedented in American history. He shredded electoral norms and created the “Big Lie” claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He packed the federal courts with judges and justices he thought would do his bidding. He bullied the Department of Justice to serve his political interests. He tried to politicize the civil service. And by slashing taxes but not spending he added trillions of dollars to the government debt. Most social scientists study how institutions change incrementally. But Trump’s attack was an attempt at radical change. It sheds new light on our understanding of how institutions change, the role that leadership and tipping points play in it, and what the implications are for the United States going forward. Results will appear in Institutions Under Siege: Donald Trump's Attack on the Deep State (Cambridge University Press, 2022).