With the election now a virtual dead heat, conservative opponents to Donald Trump have never faced greater pressure to support him. Capitulation is needed, it is said, because the survival of the republic is at stake. If we allow Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, our constitutional system of government will be destroyed forevermore. Thus, we have no choice but to forbear.
This rhetoric is well-designed to prey upon the fears of conservatives who loathe Hillary Clinton, but it is not the language of American republicanism. Indeed, the fact that it has gained such traction on the right is a signal that many conservatives themselves have lost touch with the traditions of our constitutional system.
Put simply: This argument places the presidency at the center of American political life, which is a progressive innovation popularized by Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. The Framers rejected this implicitly, for most of their attention was spent perfecting the legislative branch, which was to be the primary repository of political power, as well as the tribune of the people.
The 20th-century progressives did not care for this. They felt that the country had developed a national spirit that the legislature—comprising representatives from parochial constituencies—simply could not embody. What was needed was an integration of the functions of government. In his days as an academic at Princeton, Wilson called for a parliamentary system, whereby the executive and legislative functions are fused. As president, he shifted course, arguing that an energetic executive could corral public opinion, and force the various agents of the government to coordinate with one another.Read the rest from Jay Cost HERE.
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