Political Education

Deep State: The Fourth Branch of Government

After General Eisenhower won the presidential election in 1952, outgoing President Harry Truman said, “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

President Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the 2020 presidential election. Supposedly officials in the Trump campaign are discussing ‘contingency plans‘ to challenge the outcome of the election should it appear that Biden won.

Should Trump actually contest the election results, he would still have to manage the federal bureaucracy while the challenge is being litigated. Trump has referred to the bureaucracy as the ‘Deep State‘. It is also known as the unofficial Fourth Branch of Government. Should Trump lose the election but corruptly try to remain in power, the bureaucracy could frustrate him without being insubordinate. Federal agencies could counter illegitimate presidential power by using the most powerful tool that any bureaucracy has: the ability to drag their feet and do nothing.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to oddsock for the image “Bureaucracy – Magritte”.

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