I’m sure it wasn’t his intent to make a pretty convincing case in favor of a second term for President Trump, but that’s more or less what New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall just did.
Obviously, no one knows if Trump really plans on a third campaign, but he undoubtedly sees the same wide opening for him that everyone in the national media can see (otherwise they wouldn’t still be talking about him). And that opening exists not just because Joe Biden and the Democrat-led Congress have turned this country into slums and made everything ghetto, but also because Trump has used his time out of office wisely, creating a political infrastructure that, if elected, would allow him to efficiently implement personnel and policy to revolutionize the federal bureaucracy that was so successful in crushing and stalling vast portions of his 2016 agenda.
“The architects of one of the most radical of Trump’s proposals have described it as ‘the constitutional option,'” wrote Edsall. “It would provide for the wholesale politicization of the elite levels of the Civil Service through the creation of a new ‘Schedule F’ classification, allowing the president to hire and fire at will thousands of government employees ‘in positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policymaking, or policy-advocating character.'”
Sounds good to me. Though Edsall is woefully naive (or dishonest) in asserting that such reforms would result in a “wholesale politicization” of government workers, as if they currently start each day reciting the American pledge and make every decision based on their deep well of Constitutional knowledge.
The “civil servants” who make up the various executive agencies — Transportation, Education, Homeland Security, Justice, etc. — are no different than the people you come into contact with at the DMV or Employment Office. The same is true for federal contractors. They’re lazy, obdurate, unhelpful, and — worst of all, as we saw from 2017 to 2021 — hostile to meaningful change.
And the fact that staffing those agencies and awarding government contracts comes with all kinds of affirmative action requirements and that the main pool of candidates is all Washington, D.C.-area residents (Democrat voters) compounds the problem by a thousand.
To top it off, firing any one of them for incompetence or insubordination is next to impossible. That Trump would do God’s work in dismantling the entire rancid bureaucracy to replace it with something responsive and productive (imagine!) is not an idea that’s going to scare voters. This is why Edsall consulted some Harvard professor to hysterically claim that the aim of Trump’s change is “exerting domination and using the government apparatus to reward loyalists and punish perceived opponents.”
Or maybe the point is to prevent unelected government workers from derailing the president’s policy agenda, as they did — they admitted it — time and time again during his tenure.
If the president, whoever it is, wins office on certain promises, it shouldn’t inspire a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington to see it as their mission to bog down the fulfillment of that agenda because they personally oppose it. That’s the system we have right now, and it’s been proven corrupt.
It would certainly be radical for Trump to win a second term and successfully implement all or even just part of his plan. That’s bad for the permanent bureaucracy (Democrats) but very good for American democracy.