Eric Posner: What "Trump Studies" Is Telling Us

What "Trump Studies" Is Telling Us

For scholars of American politics, history and even psychology, that makes it fertile ground. “From a purely academic and intellectual standpoint, it’s like an experiment,” says Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. “Here’s what people thought about the presidency for a very long time, and suddenly there’s something radically new.”


It’s the job of academics like Posner to figure out what’s really going on, and the pop-up field of “Trump studies” has quickly arrived to help explain how so many could be so wrong about so much. Posner, for example, published a working paper in January that branded Trump’s political style as “personalism” and suggested it would run into trouble when it came time to actually govern. Trump has already been the subject of scholarship on an unusually wide variety of topics: the moral psychology of his voters; whether he is susceptible to impeachment; and how the president’s tweets affect the stock prices of the companies he mentions. While “Trump studies” in general is still in its infancy, it is already revealing that the stories we have long told ourselves about America might be idealistic fictions.

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