Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
No one in Washington called Donald J. Trump a “god” (as journalist Evan Thomas in 2009 had suggested of Obama) when he arrived in January 2017. No one felt nerve impulses in his leg when Trump talked, as journalist Chris Matthews once remarked had happened to him after hearing an Obama speech. And no newsman or pundit cared how crisply creased were Trump’s pants, at least in the manner that New York Times columnist David Brooks had once praised Obama’s sartorial preciseness. Instead, Trump was greeted by the Washington media and intellectual establishment as if he were the first beast in the Book of Revelation, who arose “out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
Besides the Washington press and pundit corps, Donald Trump faced a third and more formidable opponent: the culture of permanent and senior employees of the federal and state governments, and the political appointees in Washington who revolve in and out from business, think tanks, lobbying firms, universities, and the media. Or as the legal scholar of the administrative state Philip Hamburger put it: “Although the United States remains a republic, administrative power creates within it a very different sort of government. The result is a state within the state — an administrative state within the Constitution’s United States.”
Since the U.S. post-war era, the growth of American state and federal government has been enormous. By 2017, there were nearly 3 million civilian federal workers, and another 1.3 million Americans in the uniformed military. Over 22 million local, state, and federal workers had made government the largest employment sector.