30 Jan Will Trumpism come to mean truncated law making and a concurrency of announcement and delivery?
Donald J Trump may only have been inaugurated on 20th Jan but by the start of the Chinese New Year, one week later, he had signed an Executive Order on immigration that has lit a fuse around the world.
Let’s put aside the crudeness and inflammatory nature of the order (many articles have already been written on this as well as others comparing what Obama did in 2011)
Let’s look first at the American Executive Order versus our parliamentary process.
I think back to my time in office and the hours of time dedicated to ‘working up’ a policy before it was enacted as law. Lawyers meticulously worked on the wording to remove, at least minimise, interpretations that were not intended; civil servants and constitutional experts got to grips with how it interacted with other laws to prevent any unintended consequences. Again, you can be caught out and make mistakes, but this process limits it.
MPs then debated all the various possible vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the law, and that came after Stakeholder engagement as well as scrutiny by members of the public most affected. Then relevant staff would be trained on how to implement the changes, so they know how best to help and assist the people this law is going to affect with a clear pathway for appeal and, where needed, redress.
In a short article I’ll go no further than that, but you can get a feel of the scrutiny and challenge over a long period of time by numerous and relevant people, bodies, agencies to ensure the law is tested so it can be delivered as smoothly as possible.
In this regard Trump is doing no different than any other previous President. So why the uproar when Trump has repeatedly said on the campaign trail this is what he intended to do? Is it because it has an international impact and that it’s being delivered with immediate effect? It’s no doubt both these things which have led to :
1) People learning about the changes as it affects them.
2) Judges (part of the checks and balances of law making) conflicted. We saw that over the weekend as federal judges placed particular bans on the executive order, whilst stipulating they were not aiming to frustrate the will of the legislature.
3) Mass demonstrations and online petitions replacing stakeholder engagement.
4) Airport staff and immigration staff learning in real time, on the job.
5) Other global leaders forced to respond – reactively.
Mr Trump had said “As president, I’ll be working from the first day …. We can’t afford to waste time. I want a vice-president who will help me have a major impact quickly on Capitol Hill, and the message will be clear to the nation and to people abroad that the American government will be using its power differently.”
And he has shown he has a new, quicker way of working. Who knows, when we look back over this period in political history, Trumpism may well mean truncated law making, a concurrency of announcement and delivery, for that is what he has done. Like a form of think speak, he is doing policy on the go.
So far Mr Trump’s way of leading is about creating chaos by which everyone else is forced to react. His use of speed, some may say shock, (but speed + change = shock) has ensured media outlets, whose currency is ‘the new’, has covered his agenda and in so doing have done his bidding announcing his agenda and American policy to the world. No marketing budget, no advertising campaign and no public meetings.
Doesn’t all this sound familiar? This is what Trump has spent the last 2 years doing. Making pronouncements, getting global coverage, finding his support and pursuing his aim. This method of working also means he is not dependent on the ‘establishment’ and the ‘previous order’ delivering his policy. He is not limited by those who don’t agree with him frustrating his plans by not delivering them. He has already found his support, he is the democratically elected President of the United States. He is, whether we like it or not, creating a new world order and as it stands has the support of a substantial number of American citizens.
He has set a direction, a bit like putting the first asking price down in a negotiation, you know it may be reduced but you’ve started the negotiation and the direction of travel. This is a business man, used to being in the driving seat, bringing his tricks of the trade to global politics. World leaders will all need to learn fast how he does business.
Thoughts welcome …….. We will all need them….