Epilogue: Donald Trump’s Contribution to Research on Presidential Power

  • Jacob R. NeiheiselEmail author
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency book series (EAP)


Many observers, scholarly and popular alike, have noted that Donald Trump’s approach to the presidency differs in many ways from that taken by other modern presidents. In parting, Jacob Neiheisel argues that this fact may provide students of presidential power with a nearly unparalleled look at the degree of success that might be enjoyed by presidents who employ the formal powers of the office without engaging in negotiations with other political stakeholders prior to taking direct action—much as other presidents have often done. Revisionist challenges to the “dominant theoretical understanding” of presidential power emphasize that presidents often take into account the potential costs of exercising “power without persuasion” and act accordingly prior to turning to their command authority. President Trump, by all outward indicators, rarely if ever engages in such efforts, preferring instead to take unilateral executive action without first soliciting input from other relevant political actors. He has instead been remarkably forthcoming about the strategic logic behind his use of executive power and has articulated a view of direct action that seems almost inspired by views on the presidency that underscore the significant first-mover advantage afforded to the chief executive. If this characterization is accurate, future scholarship might be able to leverage the Trump presidency to explore the subject of formal presidential power in isolation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity at Buffalo, State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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