Restraint and Donald Trump are not words that are often paired.
And with good reason. Always playing offence and never apologising served Trump well as a real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity, allowing him to ignore criticism, put his opponents on their heels, and influence, if not control, the narrative. For Mr. Trump, nothing is sacred. The challenge is deeper, however, than communication. To some degree, there will always be uncertainty after a presidential election about how much policy will actually change.
This uncertainty is heightened when there is a transition from one party to another.
It is heightened further when the president who takes office continues to make statements which are outside the bounds of normal foreign policy discourse and procedurally opaque. The result has made it nearly impossible to understand what is a tweet and what, ultimately, is policy.
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As Trump knows, from a negotiating perspective, and certainly when dealing with competitors, unpredictability carries some advantages and, judiciously applied, can provide leverage. But elevating unpredictability to a strategy has downsides. It has confused allies, promoted instability in critical trade relationships, elevated the risks of miscommunication in a crisis, and left the world questioning the credibility of American commitments.
Some of this will be offset by more trusted cabinet members and the might of the American military, but no matter how many times US alliances are reaffirmed by senior officials, presidential unpredictability raises fears that America will not live up to its security guarantees. H istory tells us that the unpredictable nature of circumstances and individual leaders means the shape and power of the presidency is always evolving. Regardless of the president, some elements of the presidency are likely to endure as permanent features, and some old debates are likely to resurface.
Different moments change the shape of the presidency. The challenges of the first year differ from those of the second, and those of a first term from a second term. Guiding legislation through Congress, negotiating with foreign leaders, and building coalitions at home and abroad are tasks that require time and skill.
Because policy is as much about process and personnel as it is about pronouncement, future presidents will continue to find governing different than campaigning. George W. That is obviously more true if a Democrat is the next occupant of the White House, but will probably hold even if a Republican succeeds Trump. Finally, some have suggested that in response to Trump, and perhaps during this administration, the locus of power could shift back to the legislative branch. But it cannot take over foreign policy.
As a result, the global focus will remain on the words of the president, the White House and the national security apparatus more than it does Congress. Throughout American history there have been periodic calls to reform the presidency. Those proposed reforms have taken on different shapes depending on both the circumstances and the occupant of the office, and have alternatively called for scaling up its reach, stripping back its powers, and making it more manageable.
In the aftermath of Trump, several of these debates and recommendations are likely to resurface. First, it is almost inevitable that Americans will debate how the presidential election is conducted and whether the process should change. This discussion will revolve around three questions: Is there a better nomination process within the major parties; is it time to shift away from the Electoral College and towards a popular vote; and is there a better way to safeguard American elections from foreign interference?
The charges against the current system are that the nomination process produces candidates less attractive to the broad centre of American politics, bloodied by partisan ideological fights and therefore vulnerable in a general election, and more focused on smaller states, such as Iowa or New Hampshire, whose primaries occur earliest in the calendar. Unless these states voluntarily abandon their early primary dates, or the political parties mandate a streamlined and tightened nominating process, such changes are unlikely.
A second complaint that will reappear is whether to abolish the Electoral College. Given that Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes to Hillary Clinton, but still was elected president due to the mathematics of the Electoral College, this charge has particular resonance even if most of the voices advocating for its abolition are Democrats. The prospects of eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular vote, however, are slim. Not only would it require the passage of a constitutional amendment; but it would also privilege urban population centres over low-density rural areas, which would be politically unpalatable to a large number of American politicians.
One set of reforms which will be called for will be to streamline the focus and ease the burdens of the office. The hectic pace has translated into a daily grind that has often left presidents reacting to events with the immediate crowding out the important, bereft of time for strategic thinking, and ultimately less well equipped to handle the extraordinary demands of the job. Apart from the toll the office exacts, its frenetic pace translates into a constantly distracted chief executive. In national security matters, the discussion will centre on how to ensure the presidency is more focused on decision-making, how to decentralise execution to executive agencies, and how to ensure that strategic decisions are thoroughly vetted.
President George W. A t some point, the Trump presidency will end — whether that comes in , , or sooner — and the nation will move on. At present, the balance of power between the branches of government continues to hold, but could tip if the midterm elections — where a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives will face re-election — either bring more hardcore Trump supporters to Washington, or tip Congress to the Democrats. Trump, however, will probably not preside over a major or permanent reorganisation of the US government in a way similar to Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan.
Like all previous presidents, but perhaps more so than most, Trump will continually meet bureaucratic friction — some endemic to bureaucracies, and some unique to his presidency. But while the separation of powers has the potential to constrain Trump domestically, it is much less able to restrain him internationally. While all American presidents are both empowered and constrained by the office, what is different in the Trump administration is the seeming instability emanating from the White House.
So, what does that mean, will Democrats succeed in removing the president and what finally convinced Pelosi to Technically, Only Lovers Left Alive is a vampire film, but its central character, the Not so long ago it was largely a one-sided debate about what we On this page. Executive summary While media attention remains fixed on Donald Trump, focusing too intently on the president obscures the profound role played by the institution of the presidency and the stress test it faces.
The presidency was constitutionally created to be empowered, but is restrained by the legislative and judicial branches of government. It has accumulated greater powers over time, but institutional and normative checks have remained in place. Trump, like all previous presidents but perhaps more so than most, will continue to meet bureaucratic friction — some of it endemic to bureaucracies, and some unique to his presidency.
The president according to the Constitution The US Constitution is the supreme law of the United States, outlining the structure of the federal government, delineating the powers of the three separate branches of government and establishing the concept of federalism, which divides sovereignty between the federal and state governments. Clockwise from top left: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson. The president is limited by the federalist structure of the government, which established dual sovereignty between 50 independent states and federal government.
Hamilton, Federalist Paper For more, see Kenneth R. Congress ran the show on many critical matters and the president dared take no action without the approval of powerful committee chairmen. Abraham Lincoln to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, Schlesinger Jr. Energy Futures involved the staging of an exhibition that invited — and required — participation in interpreting and making sense of the strangely familiar and potentially difficult realities.
Participants included invited designers, architects, educators, engineers and historians, who were asked to collaborate in unfolding and making sense of artifacts and narratives Figure 3. Emerging along the way were a variety of intimate stories and personal opinions, as well as political issues and professional points of view.
Participants thus articulated, deliberated and examined their individual and shared assumptions, discussed alternatives and declared their own position s.
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Within Energy Futures, we experimented with and reflected upon our methods, materialities and modes of working. Through further reflecting on the project in relation to the political dimensions outlined above, I attempt to more explicitly articulate some of my experiences of our work relevant here.
Concerning the ontological politics of time, for example, we did assume a tripartite structure of past, present and future.
As starting points within our process, we adopted existing energy scenarios and assumptions drawn from futures and economic studies. These appeared to be clearly placed and circumscribed within specific future times, though in more generic and macro-structural terms than typical in design scenarios.
Thus, we began to further adapt and specify these with the help design methods to a more micro- and human-scale. In the process of doing this, we found temporal categories and scales to blur and shift.
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We found it problematic to precisely place scenarios within a timeline tool that we created for tracing a linear temporal trajectory from near- to far-future. In the end, no timescale was appended to the timeline. We made a decision not to order nor sequence the superfictions and, instead, to elaborate each on its own terms and in relation to one another.
Reflecting upon this difficulty, I can understand this in terms of political problematics of futurity. As we attempted to locate particular social phenomena on our timeline, we also recognized a continuum of precedents, reoccurrences and transformations, which somehow resisted placement in a single and definitive place and time. Even if we placed something somewhere specific, we saw how it may be also be placed elsewhere, and this was somehow important for us.
By elaborating more specific scenarios in Energy Futures, perhaps because of a partly empirical basis through personae and role-play , we came to recognize extremes as possible or probable and, even, as already existing in other parts of the world or at other times cf. Luiza Prado and Pedro Olivera point out that some critical designs may be everyday realities for some people s , which may explain though not excuse why critical design resorts to extreme futures and dystopic stereotypes.
We experienced the ambiguity and arbitrariness of dates and of distinctions between past, present and future, as well as the resistance of social phenomena to be pinned down within a timeline that seemed to presume an ability to generalize, sequence and quantify.
Past, Present, and Future
We also encountered issues relevant to the epistemological dilemma of knowledge about the future. In mixing methods, our knowledge basis for making decisions felt uneven and even insecure. Indeed, we were drawing from different disciplinary traditions, concepts and methods that are not commensurable in strictly scientific terms. Mixing qualitative, quantitative and practice-based design research as well as analytic, speculative and generative modalities, we were necessarily shifting between and across epistemological standpoints.
While a response to the dilemma could be to narrow or to improve methods, it would have been impossible for us to bridge all the epistemological gaps, particularly given evasiveness of some relevant phenomena to standard scientific methods.