Early Returns

How to Understand the Presidency (or Not)

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. A whole bunch of political scientists have weighed in to let everyone know that the study suggesting that noncitizens may be voting in U.S. elections in more-than-negligible numbers was just plain wrong. I didn't sign on, but I agree with them. It was a weak study, and it shouldn't have been published. Note that the letter doesn't say anything beyond one simple fact: The original study was poorly done and no one should lean on it to inform policy making.

2. Andrew Rudalevige at the Monkey Cage with a must-read on Donald Trump's executive actions so far: why they are generally less than they might appear, but also not meaningless.  

3. Julia Azari on how Trump doesn't understand the presidency.

4. David Karpf on the possibility that the president of the United States is basically just throwing a tantrum. Plausible!

5. Seth Masket at Pacific Standard also leans toward incompetence, not design

6. Tom Tepinsky also senses presidential weakness in Trump's start. Consistent with what I've been saying, although I agree that it's hard to know for sure. 

7. Mary Stegmaier and John Lindback at the Monkey Cage on one way to prevent voters from registering in multiple states and otherwise tend to voter registration lists. Note, however, that the overwhelming majority of these errors -- which are real -- are harmless. 

8. Kyle Dropp and Brendan Nyhan on the incentives for congressional Republicans

9. Jennifer Victor at Vox on distinguishing ordinary policy choices by the Trump administration from more serious threats to constitutional order. Several good points here, but one important caveat is necessary. The pre-Trump Republican Party supported some things -- making it harder to vote, for example -- that contributed to a weaker democracy. 

10. Jennifer Bendery on one important consequence of liberal activism against Trump: more Democratic candidates for office. 

11. My Bloomberg View colleague Matt Levine on the business community hearing what they wanted to hear from candidate Trump. And what they should be hearing now.

12. One little problem with the Trump administration's job goals, from Ben Zipperer at the Economic Policy Institute.

13. And Max Boot on an inept administration's rocky start. I do wonder what Trump thinks of all the "President Bannon" cracks folks are making. 

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.