American analytical centers and their influence on Tramps politics

7 m.   |  2019-01-08

Analytical support from think tanks have had a direct positive influence over the years in governmental policy development. The issue of analytical centers’ influence on decision making in the USA is of great interest among elites and policy makers.

According to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index report, there are 1872 analytical centers in the United States, with the second largest number of institutes located in China (512) followed by Great Britain (444).

American centers are often divided according to political orientation, ties with state agencies and parties. With many of the changes that occurred in the political landscape caused by in-party regroupings, which was habituated with the disagreements between Trump and Republican Party some analytical centers, now, started their cooperation not with organizations per se, but with individual representatives of legislative, executive and judicial authorities. Unlike European countries, the US analytical centers mostly avoid openly supporting any particular party and mainly act as independent structures.

The classification of “Think tank” s

A merican analytical centers are based on political direction and orientation, which leads them to the develop political analysis and policy making within the boundaries of their researches and analysis. The Best School represents the top 50 US analytical centers classified by their political orientation.

Centrist: This kind of analytical centers are supporters of balanced policy between social equality and social hierarchy (Center for Strategic and International Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Freedom House, Aspen Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).

Conservative centers act from the position of social sustainability and continuity(Heritage Foundation American Enterprise Institute,  Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Discovery Institute).

Liberal centers mostly prioritize human rights, democracy, temporal state, freedom of conscience and economy (Human Rights Watch, Guttmacher Institute, Urban Institute, Economic Policy Institute, Commonwealth Fund) .

Progressive  centers support science, technology, economy development and civil society progress(Brookings Institution, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Open Society Foundation).

There are also centers, who do not have any political orientation and are preoccupied with field studies (Council on Foreign Relations,  Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, RAND Corporation, National Bureau of Economic Research).

The analytical centers which act in affiliation with some US state departments, often advise and provide policies to the government which are in turn sponsored by the state budget. The departments usually publish the list of these analytical centers on their websites, which are engaged in policy development and are funded by different donors. It is noteworthy, that government bodies note that analytical centers do not express state orientation.

For instance, the US Department of State has published the list of analytical centers, whose activity was particularly effective. There are famous centers in this list, such as Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Heritage Foundation and so on. Congressional Research Service, which operates in conjunction with Congress, shows impartial support to the members of the Congress, commissions and staff. In this center employees exceed 600 personnel with different professions.

Office of Net Assessment is an analytical center working under the Pentagon of the United States Department of Defense. The office assesses US military capabilities and its potential by comparing it with other states or groups of states revealing US future threats. The US Central Intelligence Office has its own analytical center (Directorate of Analysis (DA), which gives the President and government policy makers analysis on national security and foreign policy issues.

There are centers in the USA that adhere to the Republican and Democratic Parties, though most often the case is that there orientation is not mentioned.  Among analytical centers adhering the Republicans are International Republican Institute, Nixon Center, Heritage Foundation, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). For instance, Heritage Foundation received an annual donation of $500 000 from the wealthy republican Rebecca Mercer.

Centers adhering to the Democrats are Center for American Progress, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), Center for American Progress. Thus, during the Obama’s presidency Center for American Progress provided training and policy-making advice for the White House staff.

Analytical centers, that enjoy President Trump’s support

U nlike the former presidents of the US, Trump’s irregular path to a political career and recent candidacy for President didn’t allow for fostering the strong relationships needed with different high ranking expertise.

After being elected as president, his team sought out professional personnel in the field of policy making and advisors, the analytical centers which were under his support won from this. In summer of 2014, when Trump hadn’t yet announced his candidacy for the upcoming elections, Heritage Foundation center set up a list of 3000 conservative professionals, who were willing to be engaged in the government following Obama’s authority. This project got the Project to Restore America name and targeted the so called “silent majority”.

This term was popularized in the USA, when the 37th US President Richard Nixon used it in his speech in November 3, 1969, referring the war in Vietnam. Nixon asked for the help of the silent majority supporting the US presence in the Vietnam War. President Trump also actively used this “silent majority” term in his pre-electoral campaign, addressing the part of society, who had been displeased with the situation in the country, but had remained silent.

According to different data, about 66 ex-members of Heritage Foundation are engaged in Trump’s administration, among which are James Richard Perry  the United States Secretary of Energy, Elizabeth Betsy DeVos the Education Secretary, Jeff Sessions Attorney General, John Michael Melvin Director of  State Budgetary of President Staff.

Since the inauguration of President Trump, Heritage Foundation formed and presented 334 proposals, among which were the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and UNESCO and the increase of the military budget. According to the organization, 64% of the proposals have already been implemented.

Competitive Enterprise Institute,  Institute for Energy Research and Texas Public Policy Foundation  are among the analytical centers which Trump supports, and they have introduced new ideas and provided new personnel to his team. These organizations played an important role in policies with upcoming developments in the energy section.

       In order to better understand the influence of analytical centers on US policy-making, one should address centers, which have strong partnership with senior US officials. Vice President Mike Pen. From 1991-1993 who was the president of Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and a member of State Policy Network (SPN). John Bolton National Security Advisor of the United States was running the analytical center Gatestone Institute from 2013-18, which was known for its attitudes against refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Bolton was the vice president of the analytical center American Enterprise Institute , which was one of the most influential analytical centers on the USA. The center is guided by limited government, private entrepreneurship and ideas of democratic capitalism.