All those unfilled spots in the Executive Branch. The Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service have created an amazing tool tracking the 594 positions in the Executive Branch that require Senate Confirmation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/database/. It’s worth everyone’s time to scroll through this database and get to know the inner workings of the Executive Branch.
I’ll bottom-line it for you though: of the 594 positions that require Senate confirmation, 14 have been confirmed; 20 are awaiting nomination; and 515 are “awaiting nomination.” Awaiting nomination? That means no one has been nominated for those posts. 94% of positions that require Senate Confirmation are empty, 515 of them with no apparent hope of being filled anytime soon.
This should lead all of us to the question: who is making decisions, giving orders, and taking action in the Executive Branch? The answer is: we don’t know! And it seems to me that that is precisely the point. The President and his (largely unknown) staff are not lazy or forgetful or disorganized – I mean they might be, but that is not why these positions remain empty, and will, I believe, for the foreseeable future. No, this is a conscious, intentional consolidation of power among the very few at the very top.
This Administration and its Republican enablers in Congress refuse to allow themselves to be held accountable for their actions. The more opaque and confusing their actions and personnel structure, the harder it is call anyone out. And, as long as the positions aren’t filled, there aren’t many people on the inside to call foul, let alone to whistle blow.
The media, for the most part, is doing its job of pointing out all the empty positions and bizarre staffing choices; the resistance is doing its job of calling it out and holding to account as much as we can. But who is actually doing the job of making decisions and taking action? We don’t know! And that seems to be how the Administration wants it.
So keep paying attention, and keep filling out those charts!