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The disruptive presidency of Donald Trump

One of the more irritating framings of Donald Trump’s rise to power has been to stress his ‘disruptive’ credentials*. Such accounts often focus on the role of Jared Kushner, who has been granted a dizzying array of responsibilities in the Trump Whitehouse, prompting Gary Sernovitz to observe the overlap with recent […]

The defensiveness of contemporary elites 

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 86-87. I’m beginning to try and catalogue public examples of this defensiveness because some of the over-reactions seem fascinatingly unbalanced: It is surprising how much fear his timid policies have generated among the big-money boys. There are no rational grounds for the […]

Cognitive triage in politics

How widespread is this? From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 585: Emanuel, with his day-to-day focus on “getting points on the board,” scrambled for quick results, trying to win each day’s news cycle. As Bob Rubin told one of his many acolytes in the White House during a […]

The Accleration of Political Rhetoric

From Confidence Men, by Ron Susskind, pg 23-24: But it was hard to know how even Lincoln’s rhetorical genius would have met the awesome challenge of modern politics: to explain hugely complex problems and offer first-step solutions in all of sixty seconds. Hillary Clinton could do it just like Lincoln […]

The political socialisation of Barack Obama

I recently finished Race of a Lifetime, purchased because I confused it with this book that I’d actually intended to buy… it’s a great read in many respects. I love reading politics books like this because of the snippets of insight they can offer into the processes by which politicians are socialised (and socialise […]