Trump’s victory is a rejection of bureaucrats-know-best government
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has been described with words like stunning, historic and unprecedented. Some view it with exhilaration and others with terror. The Republican Party is now Trump’s party and it will take some time to sort out what that means. But the GOP will sort it out from a position of strength. The Trump victory has given his party more control over the federal government than it has enjoyed at any time since the 1920s. On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are in shock and disarray. My early read is that Trump’s victory is likely to have a bigger lasting impact on the political world than his opponents fear. At the same time, however, the Trump Administration will probably have a smaller impact on America’s future than his advocates hope. The reason for both can be found in the fact that Election 2016 was more than a rejection of Hillary Clinton and President Obama. It was a rejection of the idea that bureaucrats know best and that official Washington should lead the country. Since the 1970s, both political parties have worked to centralize power in a corrupt and unaccountable Regulatory State. To reduce accountability, elected members of Congress now approve only about 5 percent of new laws. The other 95 percent are regulatory rules written by unknown bureaucrats pursuing their own agenda. President Obama’s decision to have bureaucrats micro-manage the nation’s health care system was perfectly in keeping with the political class view of the world. It may also have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. A Trump Administration and Republican Congress are almost certain to unwind the Obamacare bureaucracy and cut back on other aspects of the Regulatory State. By reversing four decades of ever-centralizing power, and giving everyday Americans a greater say in the decision-making process, Trump’s victory will change politics for generations. And, yet, at the same time, President-elect Trump will not bring about nearly as much change to America as many of his fans hope. That’s because politicians are not nearly as important as the political class believes they are. We live in a nation where the culture leads and politicians lag behind. Over the past four decades, while political power was being centralized, the nation was heading in the opposite direction. The digital revolution empowered individuals rather than bureaucracies. It broke up the political class monopoly on news coverage. It made 200 million smartphone owners the greatest force for change in American history. The tools of the digital era gave everyday Americans a real look at how their political system operated. Most didn’t like what they saw. That’s why voters from both parties were more enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. It’s also why Donald Trump will not bring about massive change to America. The nation has already changed and we’re decades ahead of the politicians. Entrepreneurs, volunteers, and civic groups are already finding new ways of working together in community to create a better world. President-elect Trump doesn’t need to change that.