This book explores how a candidate who broke with almost every single norm
governing candidate behaviour, appeared to eschew the professionalised forms of
campaigning, and who had been more or less disowned by Republican elites, prove
victorious? The focus is on Trump and his campaign; the account does not go
beyond the November election and its immediate aftermath. The book argues that
the Trump campaign, like earlier populist insurgencies, can be explained in part
by considering some defining features of US political culture and, in
particular, attitudes towards government. It explains the right-wing populism
that has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a
long period. The book discusses structural characteristics of the American state
that appear to be of particular significance in shaping attitudes, as well as
some other ideas and frames brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign
during the course of 2015 and 2016. It also considers the shifts and swings
amongst voters and suggests that these, alongside ideas about the state and the
'entrepreneurial' efforts of the campaign, form part of the
explanation for Trump's eventual victory. The book assesses Trump's
ascendancy as a function of, and reaction to, the strategies and discourses
pursued in the years preceding 2016 by Republican Party elites.
'Trumpism' and European forms of populism are still in some ways
weakly embedded but they may intensify the battles and processes of group
competition between different constituencies.
another line of explanation. It assesses Trump's ascendancy as a function of, and reaction to, the strategies and discourses pursued in the years preceding 2016 by Republican Party elites. Arguably, Trump's victory was the product of a chain reaction. In other words, it may be that Republican elites, through the discourses that they adopted in pursuit of given electoral logics , set off particular sets of reactivesequences that culminated, over time, in the emergence of the Trump campaign.
The concept of reactivesequences is a form of path dependence. Nonetheless
entrepreneur. A second important factor lies in the composition of the different voting blocs. The financial crisis of 2008–2009 and the economic malaise that followed in its wake accelerated shifts, in particular long-running realignment processes, that allowed Trump to win narrow victories in some all-important ‘Rust Belt’ states. Other factors also contributed to Trump's victory. The election outcome can be seen as the end result of what might be termed reactivesequences set in motion by the processes of intense partisan polarisation that defined American politics over
dependency process more and more irreversible. Although a process of self-reinforcing takes place, the path is still contingent (Sydow et al. 2009 : 691). At the third stage, HI focuses on further constriction and the idea of “reactivesequences” as an event chain in which events following a trigger are a reaction to prior events. It is the transition from stage II to stage III “which eventually leads the whole setting into a lock-in” (Sydow et al. 2009 : 694).
Table 6.1 Path dependency as three-stage process
upon reactivesequences. See p. 113.
9 As David Marsh notes, many of these accounts overplay the coherence of the policy initiatives pursued during the Thatcher years. Policy disaggregation and the more detailed
study of, for example, industrial relations policy, suggests that there was rather less coherence and consistency than accounts often suggest (Marsh, 1995: 603).
10 ‘Orders’ are, however, defined in different ways within the APD literature. See
dependency is usually understood in terms of self-reinforcing sequences. Once established, perhaps
because of a chance event or chance decision, paths are strengthened and bolstered
and so the costs of abandoning the path and pursuing an alternative course become
prohibitive. Nonetheless, as James Mahoney records, path dependency may be
understood and represented in a very different way. There can be a chain of reactivesequences (rather than self-reinforcing sequences) as one action, event or decision lays the basis for, or triggers, a subsequent action, event or decision
mind, but as the US
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said rather memorably in the wake of
the US invasion of Iraq, ‘stuff happens’.
‘Stuff’ does indeed happen. Chance events can set off
chains of reactivesequences leading to outcomes far removed from the
plans of policymakers, the desires of voters, or the intentions of those
who designed particular institutional structures.
Although theoretical frameworks
should always be handled with care, they are still indispensable. It is