The term "deep state" usually conjures a secretive illuminati that is the real power behind the curtains - made up of spies, criminals, military leaders and businessmen.

In the world of US President Donald Trump, it has come to mean the civil servants who have been working for the government for years.

They are "holdovers" from previous administrations, and they are blocking his agenda and policy reversals. At least, that's the mantra that he repeats in his campaign rallies nationwide.

But is Trump using this construct as a punching bag to paint himself as an underdog who is fighting the powers that be?

"Deep state" has become a permanent fixture of the culture wars in the United States, and Trump is using it to energise his base.

So what is the reality of the "deep state" in US politics? Join Steve Clemons as he hosts a discussion on the ramifications of the constant presidential rants against government bureaucrats and diplomats.

Guests:

Elaine Kamarck - Director, Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution

Adolfo Franco - Republican strategist and former executive, US Agency for International Development

John Neffinger - Former communications director, Democratic National Committee

Source: Al Jazeera News