11 Rules of the Road for Advancing Your Cause in the New D.C. Order

Howard Schweitzer
202.912.4855
hschweitzer@cozen.com

Mark Alderman
202.912.4846
malderman@cozen.com

Robert Freeman
202.463.2515
rfreeman@cozen.com

1. Listen carefully to Trump’s message — power back to the people, job growth, and questioning the status quo — and wrap your message in those contexts.

2. Understand relevant processes and what has to happen procedurally.

3. Don’t expect miracles from the first-into-the-agency “beachhead” teams. Many of these appointees are junior team members who have links back to the campaign. They will be around for a while, but as the secretaries find their footing and people with longer resumes arrive they will become less important.
 
4. Look for points of stability in the administration — political appointees who already understand the government, the issues, and have the clout to drive decision-making.
 
5. Don’t forget the bureaucracy. Careers are wary of the new administration, but things will normalize so understand the role that bureaucrats play.
 
6. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the same Republican Party controls the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.
 

7. Don’t underestimate the power of the Senate Democrats and Trump’s willingness to work with them.

8. Don’t overestimate House Republicans and Trump’s willingness to buck them.

9. Don’t try to out-Trump, Trump by bullying the administration. When you do need to confront the administration, think very carefully about an attack from their flank rather than a full frontal assault.

10. Engage. Sitting on the sidelines in protest is foolish and accomplishes nothing. Love or hate Trump’s persona, he’s not an ideologue, and he’s going to be much more approachable and transactional than President Obama.

11. Don’t overlearn the lessons of the election, the transition, or even the early days of the administration. This is a never-seen-before motion picture; not a traditional portrait.