Donald Trump Demonstrating How Much Of Our Political System Is Based On Tradition & Custom, Not Rules

from the is-that-good-or-bad? dept

Perhaps one of the most common phrases I've seen in reference to various actions by Donald Trump and his transition team since the election in November is "this is not normal" or "this is not how things are done." Those phrases keep popping up over and over again -- often in somewhat horrified tones. Politico recently had a pretty good article demonstrating how the Trump transition team seems to not care one bit about the traditional way things are done:

President-elect Donald Trump has said he might do away with regular press briefings and daily intelligence reports. He wants to retain private security while receiving secret service protection, even after the inauguration. He is encouraging members of his family to take on formal roles in his administration, testing the limits of anti-nepotism statutes. And he is pushing the limits of ethics laws in trying to keep a stake in his business.

In a series of decisions and comments since his election last month -- from small and stylistic preferences to large and looming conflicts -- Trump has signaled that he intends to run his White House much like he ran his campaign: with little regard for tradition. And in the process of writing his own rules, he is shining a light on how much of the American political system is encoded in custom, and how little is based in the law.

And... that's really quite interesting, because of how little many people -- especially policy experts -- have really stopped to consider how much of the way we do things is based on custom, and not actual rules. There are two ways of looking at this. First, there absolutely are serious problems with "the way things have always been done." So there's potential value in having someone who doesn't feel hamstrung by traditions and customs that might not make sense. But, the flip side of that is that there are often really good reasons for the way many of these things are done. And, so far, the customs and traditions that Trump has been indicating he'll ignore, are ones that do seem to be based on solid reasoning, rather than just silly legacy reasons. Intelligence reports, secret service protection, and anti-nepotism rules make sense.

It's one thing to blow stuff up because they're outdated and unnecessary -- and another thing altogether to just blow them up for the sake of blowing them up, or even just out of convenience. But as a way of highlighting just how much of our system is held together based on legacy reasons, rather than actual rules, it's fascinating.

Filed Under: customs, donald trump, politics, rules


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2017 @ 5:00pm

    Trump and hillary are the perfect examples of why you dont give YOUR/MY guy and/or, YOUR/MY goverment, unlimited power, because the next guy might be a hillary or a trump.

    Its one of the reasons for restrictions on a government, great power doesnt automatically translate to great responsibility......limit the power, limit the potential damage, and try to remember why you limited the power in the first place, when your/my 'guy' gets in


    Half the the things we have, we shouldnt, and half the things we need, we dont have

    Examples being
    We shouldnt have introduced and mass produced w.m.d's into the world, our "enemies" should'nt have it, and, neither should we, and what we do need are honest, just, good natured, politicians, preferably before the system looses all credibility

    Why "enemies", .......because were all human beings, and we should all be on the same fucking side........it doesnt help that theres an unhealthy amount of fictional/non fictional portrayal of the worst side of the human condition in our media,

    1-the same news events reported multiple times over multiple days giving the impression of more then one event

    2- it gets too a point where media will have to answer for the problem that is "Life imitating art" and not "Art imatating life"

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.