Trump only managed one (really terrible) legislative goal in 2017, but his administration profoundly remade America for the worse

The average person in America is much more likely to come into contact with the administrative branch of the government — the regulatory agencies the president staffs and directs — than they are to end up in court (judiciary) or to be charged under the law (legislative).

Administrative agencies are in charge of net neutrality, approving drugs, specifying automotive safety rules, dictating educational standards, food safety public health surveillance and crisis response, policing and police accountability, the war on drugs, and so much more.

These are the agencies Trump has the most control over with the least oversight and transparency. In a wrist-slittingly depressing roundup, New York Magazine’s Nick Tabor describes 55 acts of administrative violence committed by the Trump administration in less than a year.

I don’t understand why the Democrats don’t greet each of these acts with a public promise to repeal them if they take office. It would at least put businesses on notice not to make any plans that rely on these decisions remaining intact, and would give Dems a rejoinder for aggrieved execs when they do repeal these rules: “We told you on day zero that this new rules were doomed. If you didn’t listen to us, that’s your problem, not ours.”

This would also be an excellent way to salvage something from the tax-plan catastrophe that the GOP just rammed through: “Hey, investor class: we are going to come back for every dime the GOP just gave you, with interest, so don’t get to cozy with your new trillion-dollar Christmas gift.”

Federal prosecutors have been stripped of their discretion and ordered to seek maximum penalties

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the order in May, with a specific intent that prosecutors pursue stiff sentences for drug-dealing, gun crimes, and gang violence. But the mandate applies to every kind of case.

A police-department reform program has been cut off

After the Department of Justice sued the police in Ferguson, Missouri, and ordered the department to clean up its act on race relations, the DOJ created a program where other police departments could seek similar guidance, but on a voluntary, cooperative basis. Police departments in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, among others, took advantage of it. Sessions effectively cut off the program and channeled the money to groups like police unions instead.

Local police are once again stocking up on military weapons

After police in Ferguson used military weapons against protesters in 2015, Obama took measures to end the militarization of police. Sessions rescinded those rules, so police can once again obtain surplus grenade-launchers, bayonets, and armored vehicles for free or with federal dollars.

Half a million fugitives are now allowed to buy guns

In February, the DOJ narrowed the definition of “fugitive” to people who have crossed state lines to escape prosecution or avoid testifying, which cleared 518,670 alleged criminals for gun purchases, according to the FBI.

55 Ways Donald Trump Structurally Changed America in 2017 [Nick Tabor/New York Magazine]

(Images: katesheets, CC-BY; Trump’s Hair)

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