Not yet 100 days into his administration, President Donald Trump has bypassed traditional government protocols and doled out executive orders in relatively quick succession. To date, he has issued 13 orders and 12 memoranda since taking office. His order placing travel restrictions on immigrants and refugees, in particular, proved poorly thought out. It was reactionary rather than rational or substantive. The order met significant backlash, and states are pushing back through the legal system.

For those familiar with political science, and with institutional theory in particular, Trump could be considered something of an anomaly. Institutional theory holds that institutions over time will help shape a politician’s preferences, agenda, or actions. In other words, a politician might come into office with his or her own expectations and agenda, but the construct and constraints of government — including partisan divisions, bureaucratic encumbrances, constitutional limitations, and even shared norms and values — will likely alter their capacity to push through a political agenda.