Twilight of the economists? More like twilight of the neoliberals.
This is a column about the possible decline of economists in the marketplace of ideas, so it seems fitting to start it by talking about a political scientist.
Yale University’s Stephen Skowronek has explained the Trump presidency better than other theories (including mine). His theory places Donald Trump in the “disjunctive presidency” bin, the same category as John Quincy Adams and Jimmy Carter: presidents who take office as the exhausted heir of a bankrupt political ideology. These presidencies, by performing so badly, are usually followed by “transformative presidencies” that lead the country in a decidedly different direction.
In an interview in October with the Nation’s Richard Kreitner, Skowronek suggested that if Joe Biden won, he might surprise people: “Joe Biden is possibly the least likely reconstructive leader you can imagine, and yet I’m not giving up on him completely.” He concluded, “In some ways, having a moderate with a reconstructive movement or coalition at his back is exactly where you want to be.”