Why Donald Trump Will Hate the Presidency

The Tycoon in the White House Doesn’t Understand the Difference Between Strength and Power

Donald Trump entered politics as a self-proclaimed “strong leader.” He castigated his supposedly tepid predecessor for lacking necessary strength. Trump, by contrast, would sweep away the establishment and remake America. But Trump quickly faced opposition from, among others, protesters, federal judges, career civil servants, and states. His executive order on immigration, for example, which temporarily banned all travel to the United States from seven majority Muslim countries, is now on hold following an appeal court’s ruling. Even before this, the White House was forced to “clarify” the ban to exempt …

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Inaugurations Are More Than a Hail to the (New) Chief

How This Enduring Ritual Highlights the Strengths—and Tensions—that Define the American Presidency

On Jan. 20, tens of millions of people will watch the pomp and spectacle of a uniquely American tradition. The hushed politicos in the pews of prayer service, the …

My Hometown’s Rush to Honor Obama Says More About Us Than Him

We're Fawning Over the Outgoing President—But the Feeling Isn't Mutual

I recently learned that, in the second grade, I was part of presidential history.

Every morning during the 1980-1981 school year, I walked the five blocks between my family’s home in …

The Rhetorical Power of Always Being at War

American Presidents Both Overstate Constant Threat and Understate the Human Cost as a Way to Ensure Faith in Government

An essential goal of American presidential rhetoric is to keep the public thinking the nation is constantly under threat, and thus reliably deferential to their ostensibly protective government.

You can …

The New Deal Origins of Homeland Security

During FDR’s Administration, the First Lady and the Mayor of New York Clashed Over Guns, Butter, and American Liberalism

Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have faced a set of seemingly unprecedented national security challenges and anxieties. Our society has been consumed with debates …