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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 29, 2017

The Anti-Analytic Presidency Revisited

Philip Rocco
From the journal The Forum


In his first months as president, Donald Trump has demonstrated an unprecedented aversion to expert-oriented decision making. This essay examines how Trump’s presidency exposes tensions in what Skowronek and Orren (2016) refer to as the “policy state”, especially within institutions that produce expert analyses of presidential action. While an absence of policy expertise has hampered Trump’s agenda, his administration has also taken steps to discredit unfavorable analyses, subvert rules requiring the use of objective analysis, and construct new institutions to promote ‘alternative facts’. By deepening public division and distrust, such activities may restructure the political environment in which the Trump presidency itself is judged.

Corresponding author: Philip Rocco, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA


I am grateful to the editors of The Forum for their insights on this essay. Dan Galvin, Cassie Miller, and Chloe Thurston also provided valuable comments on the draft manuscript. Conversations with Julia Azari, Zac Callen, Travis Johnston, and Beth Popp Berman helped to inspire my thinking. Any remaining errors are my own.


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Published Online: 2017-07-29
Published in Print: 2017-07-26

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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