Divided Government No More

Republicans 2017-2019 will control all three branches of government and have total responsibility for what happens.

George Will: “Americans perennially complain about Washington gridlock, but for seven decades they have regularly produced gridlock’s prerequisite: divided government. From 1944 through 2016, 22 of 37 elections gave at least one house of Congress to the party not holding the presidency; since 1954, 21 of 32 did; since 1994, eight of 12. Republicans now lack excuses: If 40 Democratic senators block repeal of Obamacare (or Supreme Court nominees), the Republicans’ populist base will demand Democratic behavior — revision of Senate rules to make this body more majoritarian.”

Charles Lane, The Way Trump Won Makes Him More Dangerous: “As Max Weber famously defined it, “charismatic authority” stems from a kind of political mojo “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him.”

The American constitutional system’s checks and balances may be about to face a historic test. If they still work, however, Trump should find himself bogged down in a series of inconclusive political battles, which ultimately disillusion his followers, encourage his opponents and force him into a more conventional, and stable, form of democratic politics.

This would be the disarming of his charismatic authority through its “routinization” — Weber’s word — and, fortunately, the great German sociologist, with his prodigious learning, was able to identify multiple instances of this throughout history. But not even Max Weber ever had to analyze a case quite like Donald Trump.


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