The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency shocked the political establishment, triggering a wave of hysteria among the bicoastal elite that may never subside. The biggest shockwaves of all, however, were felt not in the progressive parishes of Manhattan or San Francisco, but in the halls of the political elite’s cherished and oft-overlooked center of power—Washington, DC’s sprawling “administrative state”—for President Trump represented an existential threat to its denizens, who came to be known as “swamp creatures.”
How did it come to pass that the “draining of the swamp” would become a core aim of the Trump administration, impacting everything from judicial appointments to the federal budget and regulatory policy? Marini’s unmasking of the administrative state goes beyond bureaucracy or legalism to its core in an intellectual elite whose consensus transcends whatever disagreements flare up. The universities, the media, and think-tanks that denounce Trump are its heart.
The answer to this question and many more lies in the underappreciated but revolutionary scholarship of Professor John Marini, collected in his new book, Unmasking the Administrative State, which tells the critical missed story of the last century of political history: The ascendance of the theory behind and resultant growth of an administrative state that has supplanted limited constitutional government with the tyranny of unbounded anticonstitutional bureaucracy.
Marini illustrates the existential threat of the administrative state to our republic, exposes the regressive philosophy from which it springs, and argues for the reassertion of the founding principles to restore self-government. The Trump administration may be the best chance to apply the lessons of Marini’s life’s work and seize this remarkable opportunity to restore power to its rightful owners: the American people.