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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Protection Money

 Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses party organizations and campaign finance.

Thomas Edsall at NYT:

Kim Lane Scheppele, a professor at Princeton of sociology and international affairs, summed up in an email the Trump-driven changes in the politics of raising money: “Most business leaders unfamiliar with autocratic government believe that when they support someone running for office, that person will owe them something if elected, tax cuts, deregulation, whatever the business leaders want.”

But, Scheppele continued, “autocrats turn the tables. Once elected, autocrats use the power of the state to squeeze business.
In these circumstances, she added, political leaders “can threaten businesses with tax audits, more regulation, even criminal charges, unless they give in to the autocrats’ demands.”

Project 2025, Scheppele wrote,
is a blueprint for autocracy. In fact, it’s a direct copy of the plan that Viktor Orban used to take over the Hungarian government in 2010. If it is carried out, Project 2025 will concentrate huge power in the hands of the president, giving him the power to control the whole federal government at his whim. If business leaders think that this will benefit them and that giving up the rule of law is good for business, they will quickly learn that they are wrong. But it will be too late.


Perhaps most important, Project 2025 asserts that “President Trump’s Schedule F proposal regarding accountability in hiring must be reinstituted.”

Schedule F, which Trump sought to initiate by executive order in 2020, would turn the top 50,000 or so civil servants, who are currently protected from arbitrary firing or demotion, into political appointees under the control of his administration. Trump lost the White House before Schedule F could be applied, and Biden withdrew the executive order creating it.

For corporate America, application of Schedule F would radically escalate uncertainty. Federal officials making decisions ranging from penalties for failed occupational safety violations to initiation of antitrust proceedings, from I.R.S. rulings to the application of sanitary regulations in nursing homes would presumably have to prioritize loyalty to Trump to keep their jobs.