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robertogreco : presidency   18

max berger🔥🌹 on Twitter: "I think it's time we started talking about this.… "
"I think it's time we started talking about this.

[image: "Maybe a bunch of white slave owners from the 1700s did not come up with the best government ever" with map showing 40 million (23 small states highlighted in gold) people 46 senators, 40 million (California highlighted in purple) people 2 senators]

The US is one of the only countries in the world with a bicameral legislature and a separately elected executive. There are better (more representative and responsive) systems!

Ours was amazing for 1776, but we have 200+ years of lessons since then.

My suggestion to make the US government more representative and responsive:

- Make the House into multi-member districts with instant run off voting (see @fairvote for more)
- Abolish the electoral college
- Reform the senate to make it much more proportional and less powerful

I have a piece on this forthcoming, but I’ll just briefly say: the survival of the republic depends on reforming our electoral system.

Trump will not be the last authoritarian president if we don’t deal with gridlock, corruption and lack of representation.

There is nothing more American than deciding your system of government is insufficiently democratic and resolving to change it.

The revolutionary spirit of the founders is based on the radical idea that we can remake our world to better reflect the needs of regular people.

Lots of conservatives jumping in to say the founders made a compromise to allow small states to be overly represented. It's true!

They also agreed to a compromises that said slaves counted as 3/5ths of a person, and only men who owned land could vote.

We can do better.

The constitution represented the best thinking on how to create a functional republic at the time it was written. It was also a political compromise that reflected the realities of power at the time.

Much has changed since then. If we rewrote it today, it'd look very different.

The American constitution is outdated; when Americans advise other newly democratized nations on writing their constitutions, we no longer use our own as the basis.

We should learn from the past 200 years and make our system more representative. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/the-us-needs-a-new-constitution-heres-how-to-write-it/281090/
Almost nobody uses the U.S. Constitution as a model—not even Americans. When 24 military officers and civilians were given a single week to craft a constitution for occupied Japan in 1946, they turned to England. The Westminster-style parliament they installed in Tokyo, like its British forebear, has two houses. But unlike Congress, one is clearly more powerful than the other and can override the less powerful one during an impasse.

The story was largely the same in defeated Nazi Germany, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, which all emerged from American occupation with constitutions that look little like the one Madison and the other framers wrote. They have the same democratic values, sure, but different ways of realizing them. According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large," write David Law of Washington University and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

That's a not a fluke. The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn't plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn't plan for Ted Cruz. And factionalism isn't the only problem. Belgium, a country whose ethnic divisions make our partisan sparring look like a thumb war, was unable to form a governing coalition for 589 days in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the government stayed open and fulfilled its duties almost without interruption, thanks to a smarter institutional arrangement.

America is the only presidentialist system (I.e. a separately elected legislature and executive) that hasn't lapsed into dictatorship.

Literally every single other presidentialist system in the world has failed.

It's only a matter of time before ours fails as well.
"There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to the Linzian nightmare at one time or another, often repeatedly," according to Yale constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman, who calls for a transition to a parliamentary system. By "Linzian nightmare," Ackerman means constitutional crisis—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." He wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.

Lots of conservatives asking if I know about the house of representatives or the Connecticut compromise.

Yes.

Have you heard about the perils of presidentialism? https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/10/21/13352990/presidency-flawed-constitution-dictator-trump

Or how our constitution is inherently undemocratic? https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1122&context=facpub

You should!

The point isn't what the founders intended: the point is that if we started out writing a new constitution today, no one would suggest we create two houses, including one that disproportionally empowers people from small states.

We'd create a government that looks like America.

The founders do not have a monopoly on wisdom, knowledge or experience. Their constitution was designed for wealthy land owning white men.

We need an electoral system that's designed to represent the American people - all of us - for the first time in our history."
us  government  presidency  constitution  law  democracy  presidentialism  2018  maxberger  governance  donaldtrump  elections  constitutionalcrisis  representation  elcectoralsystems 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It - The Atlantic
"Almost nobody uses the U.S. Constitution as a model—not even Americans. When 24 military officers and civilians were given a single week to craft a constitution for occupied Japan in 1946, they turned to England. The Westminster-style parliament they installed in Tokyo, like its British forebear, has two houses. But unlike Congress, one is clearly more powerful than the other and can override the less powerful one during an impasse.

The story was largely the same in defeated Nazi Germany, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, which all emerged from American occupation with constitutions that look little like the one Madison and the other framers wrote. They have the same democratic values, sure, but different ways of realizing them. According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large," write David Law of Washington University and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

That's a not a fluke. The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn't plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn't plan for Ted Cruz. And factionalism isn't the only problem. Belgium, a country whose ethnic divisions make our partisan sparring look like a thumb war, was unable to form a governing coalition for 589 days in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the government stayed open and fulfilled its duties almost without interruption, thanks to a smarter institutional arrangement.

As the famed Spanish political scientist Juan Linz wrote in an influential 1990 essay, dysfunction, trending toward constitutional breakdown, is baked into our DNA. Any system that gives equally strong claims of democratic legitimacy to both the legislature and the president, while also allowing each to be controlled by people with fundamentally different agendas, is doomed to fail. America has muddled through thus far by compromise, but what happens when the sides no longer wish to compromise? "No democratic principle exists to resolve disputes between the executive and the legislature about which of the two actually represents the will of the people," Linz wrote.

There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to the Linzian nightmare at one time or another, often repeatedly," according to Yale constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman, who calls for a transition to a parliamentary system. By "Linzian nightmare," Ackerman means constitutional crisis—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." He wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.

You can blame today's actors all you want, but they're just the product of the system, and honestly it's a wonder we've survived this long: The presidential election of 1800, a nasty campaign of smears and hyper-partisan attacks just a decade after ratification, caused a deadlock in the House over whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson should be president. The impasse grew so tense that state militias opposed to Adams's Federalist Party prepared to march on Washington before lawmakers finally elected Jefferson on the 36th vote in the House. It's a near miracle we haven't seen more partisan violence, but it seems like tempting fate to stick with the status quo for much longer.

How would a parliamentary system handle a shutdown? It wouldn't have one. In Canada a few years ago, around the same time Washington was gripped in yet another debt-ceiling crisis, a budget impasse in Ottawa led to new elections, where the parties fought to win over voters to their fiscal plan. One side won, then enacted its plan—problem solved. Most parliamentary systems, which unify the executive and legislative branches, have this sort of fail-safe mechanism. If a budget or other must-pass bill can't get passed, or a prime minister can't be chosen, then funding levels are placed on autopilot and new elections are called to resolve things. The people decide.

Arend Lijphart is a political scientist who has spent much of his career trying to answer the fundamental question, "What works best?" and he thinks he knows the answer. "Democracies work best if they are consensus instead of majoritarian democracies. The most important constitutional provisions that help in this direction is to have a parliamentary system and elections by [proportional representation]. The U.S. is the opposite system, with a presidential system and plurality single-member-district elections," he said an email, drawing on complex quantitative analysis he's done to compare economic and political outcomes across dozens of democratic countries with different systems.

If he had to pick any country whose system we might like to try on for size, he'd pick Germany. "Some aspects of it do need to change, of course," he says. Yet it's a nice bicameral federal system for a large country, like ours, but it has a proportional representation parliamentary system."

[via: https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/1061501440642949120

"America is the only presidentialist system (I.e. a separately elected legislature and executive) that hasn't lapsed into dictatorship.

Literally every single other presidentialist system in the world has failed.

It's only a matter of time before ours fails as well."
https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/1061838637795631105
us  constitution  government  2013  alexseitz-ald  presidency  latinamerica  bruceackerman  parliamentarysystem  politics  governance  authoritarianism  constitutionalcrisis  barackobama  teaparty  canada  consensus  juanlinz  democracy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
America's founders screwed up when they designed the presidency. Donald Trump is exhibit A. - Vox
[See also:
"Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)"
https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1122&context=facpub

"The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It
Let's face it: What worked well 224 years ago is no longer the best we can do."
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/the-us-needs-a-new-constitution-heres-how-to-write-it/281090/ ]

"The presidential system makes outsider candidates, and messianic candidates, possible

Sen. Sanders, as we know, was ultimately unsuccessful, not least because the Democratic race quickly turned into a two-candidate contest, giving the better-known, party-approved candidate an advantage.

Donald Trump was far luckier: He began in an unprecedented 17-candidate race with unparalleled name recognition and the ability to play to the media and to the Fox Television audience. As CBS executive Leslie Moonves said, Donald Trump "may not be good for America, but [he’s] good for CBS" — in terms of ratings and advertising revenue. And Trump, whose approximately 14 million total primary votes represented only 44.9 percent of the total Republican primary vote, was able to prevail against a notably disorganized and maladroit team of rivals.

Trump is almost certainly the most ominous major party candidate in our history. But one should note that his campaign could be viewed as its own version of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, which was organized around the theme of "the audacity of hope." Obama, too, pledged a transformative politics, often short on details and long on charisma. Not surprisingly, he did not achieve the kind of transformation many of his supporters were hoping for.

Today, many of Trump’s supporters, including at least some who voted for Obama in 2008 and possibly even in 2012 (against a Republican candidate who exhibited no concern at all for the plight of the working class), are tempted by a new "disrupter." Their alienation from a gridlocked status quo has made them all too willing to overlook some of the obvious problems with Trump as an actual president."



"Presidents have no incentives to cooperate with an oppositional Congress (and vice versa)
Benjamin Wittes, of the Brookings Institution, has suggested that Secretary Clinton commit herself to a "government of national unity" by pledging to appoint a significant number or Republicans to her Cabinet. Such calls from the would-be sensible center are a quadrennial tradition. But even were she to do so — and pay whatever attendant costs might be imposed by an ever-more-liberal Democratic Party eager to govern again (especially if the Senate and House should turn Democratic) — such a government might well founder on the unwillingness of House or Senate Republicans to join in the warm glow of unity. This would be an especially important problem, to say the least, if the House should remain Republican, as is still predicted.

There is a relatively simple structural explanation for the unlikelihood of a genuine kumbaya moment even if a President-elect Clinton wanted one. Our constitutional system focuses attention on a single individual, the president, who is, correctly or not, praised or blamed for what occurs in the wider polity during his or her term in office. A first-term incumbent who presides over (and gets credit for) what is thought to be progress will be rewarded by reelection. Perceived failure, on the other hand, is likely to lead to ouster.

An opposition party that contributes to genuine achievements may find itself, in effect, helping to reelect the incumbent. Thus, in 1996, it was Newt Gingrich who immeasurably aided Bill Clinton’s reelection efforts by giving him a "welfare reform" bill that he in fact signed; Bill Clinton then immediately took credit for "ending welfare" as we had known it."



"The potency of the veto power is overlooked
And what if Clinton — currently at least a 90 percent favorite in most presidential polls — wins but both the Senate and House remain Republican? One might well expect the first act of the Republican Congress to be the passage of legislation repealing Obamacare, and the first act of the Democratic president to be vetoing the legislation.

Clinton will win that battle for the simple reason that it takes a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress to override a presidential veto. For that reason, it’s not surprising that presidents have won approximately 95 percent of all veto battles — not to mention the fact that the very threat of a veto can be very important in molding legislation while in Congress.

Taking the veto power into consideration, it could be argued that in important ways we have a tricameral legislature, and not merely a bicameral legislature. Will a President Clinton be able to gain her nominees seats on the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, should the Senate remain Republican? Who knows, given that a Republican Senate wouldn’t even have to filibuster. They may, in the case of Judge Merrick Garland, refuse to hold hearings or, following perfunctory hearings, simply vote to reject any of Clinton’s nominees.

The twin problems of presidential overreach and political gridlock have structural roots. Yet it is virtually taboo to bring up, in mainstream discourse, any of the distorting aspects of our governmental structure. No one has asked either of the candidates, for example, if they think the United States might be better off with a parliamentary system of government. Most people — and certainly all mainstream journalists — would regard it as bizarre to waste valuable time during a debate to discuss such a hypothetical.

It is quite easy to portray Trump as an "anti-constitutional" candidate. It can well be doubted that he has ever seriously read or thought about the document, and he exhibits dangerously dictatorial tendencies that we hope are precluded by the Constitution. But we should realize that his candidacy also tells us things we might not wish to hear about the Constitution and its political order in the 21st century. In his own way, he may be the canary in the coal mine, and the question is whether we will draw the right lessons from his improbable candidacy and his apparent ability to garner the votes of at least 40 percent of the American public."
us  government  constitution  politics  presidency  donaldtrump  barackobama  2008  2016  elections  sanfordlevinson  democracy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Jimmy Carter: 'We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war' | World news | The Observer
"What he’s most proud of, though, is that he didn’t fire a single shot. Didn’t kill a single person. Didn’t lead his country into a war – legal or illegal. “We kept our country at peace. We never went to war. We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. But still we achieved our international goals. We brought peace to other people, including Egypt and Israel. We normalised relations with China, which had been non-existent for 30-something years. We brought peace between US and most of the countries in Latin America because of the Panama Canal Treaty. We formed a working relationship with the Soviet Union.”<br />
It’s the simple fact of not going to war that, given what came next, should be recognised. “In the last 50 years now, more than that,” he says, “that’s almost a unique achievement.”"<br />
<br />
[via: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/10079201835/interview-with-jimmy-carter-from-the-guardian ]
jimmycarter  2011  interviews  presidents  presidency  war  pacifism  environment  israel  campdavidaccords  panamá  panamacanaltreaty  us  policy  politics  china  latinamerica  sovietunion  egypt  diplomacy  history  georgewbush  tonyblair  iraq  waronterror 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Adam Serwer Archive | The American Prospect ["This is birtherism with big words. This is the witchdoctor sign without photoshop, WorldNetDaily without the exclamation points. …]
"…D’Souza doesn’t need to stare at Obama’s birth certificate for hours to come to same conclusion as birthers, which is that the president is a foreigner. But neither is “Kenyan anti-colonialism” a superficial term. At once, it engages all the racialized elements of the conservative critique of Obama—not just that having an African father means he isn’t really an American, but that his inner life consists of deep anger towards white people, & office of the presidency is merely means to secure a collective payback. It also manages to nod in the direction of another conservative racist meme, that having a black president makes the US somehow analagous to African third-world countries run by bloodthirsty despots. Gingrich took a break from his clownish Islamophobia this weekend to embrace this idiocy, & drew a much harsher reaction, in part because we’re still so silly about race in this country that we’re still disarmed when a person of color makes a blatantly racist argument."
2010  birthers  barackobama  race  us  history  presidency  newtgingrich  dinesgd'souza  adamserwer  racism 
september 2010 by robertogreco
I’ve Got a Crush on “Pepe”–Jose Mujica, the President of Uruguay
"1) At 75 years old, he is refreshingly humble and free of the need to impress others with flash or style. (He never wears a suit–not even during his inauguration!) 2) He campaigned on a simple-living platform, traveling around Uruguay using public transportation and carrying a small knapsack. 3) He’s a vegetarian in a country that has beef as its top export. 4) He is a published poet. 5) He has refused the opportunity to live in the President’s Residence, instead choosing to remain in the simple house he shares with his wife on a small flower farm. 6) He recently declared that he has no savings, no debt, and no bank account. The farm is in his wife’s name, and his only valuable possession is an old Volkswagen worth less than $2000. 7) His only income is his presidential salary, most of which he donates to his leftist political party and a public housing program."
josémujica  uruguay  humble  simplicity  simple  slow  politics  presidency  debt  postconsumerism  postmaterialism 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Beloved South American Leftists leave power | Beyond The Beyond
*It turned out these lefties were great democrats who brought stability and prosperity to their long-suffering peoples, instead of being bloodthirsty commies bent on the destruction of private property.
michellebachelet  chile  brasil  latinamerica  left  politics  government  approval  2010  presidency  presidents  luladasilva  brazil  lula 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Ezra Klein - Obama at year one: The end of the inside game
"Obama ran promising to change Washington. Instead, he's done more than any president in a generation to settle into its norms. ... A president who promised persuasion has instead offered legislation. And his speeches have been timed to affect the legislative process, not to convince the country of his cause and leverage popular support in his negotiations with Congress. It's been all inside game, pretty much all the time. ... Going forward, Obama is going to have to make Washington work without letting the way Washington works drag down his presidency. And that means he'll have to begin speaking to the country more clearly, rather than hoping his accomplishments will speak for themselves. These criticisms are always easy to levy, and communicating to a country of 300 million people that doesn't want to watch long policy speeches is easier said than done. But Obama will have to try, because soon, he will have no other choice."
politics  us  2010  barackobama  presidency 
january 2010 by robertogreco
It’s been over a year since Obama was elected and while its an immense relief to be rid of the... | varnelis.net
"...awful regime that laid waste to this country for eight years, the disappointment about the current administration is starting to set in. I’ve been cautious from day one since I remember just how stupid the Clinton administration really was and observed that during the election Obama never offered compelling policies to match his oratory.
larrysummers  barackobama  harbard  finance  policy  us  politics  government  presidency  kazysvarnelis  disappointment  2009 
december 2009 by robertogreco
We Have A President - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
"What we are seeing… is what we see everywhere with Obama: a relentless empiricism in pursuit of a particular objective & a willingness to let the process take its time. The very process itself can reveal - not just to Obama, but to everyone - what exactly the precise options are. Instead of engaging in adolescent tests of whether a president is "tough" or "weak", we actually have an adult prepared to allow the various choices in front of us be fully explored. He is, moreover, not taking the decision process outside the public arena. He is allowing it to unfold w/in the public arena…What strikes me about this is the enormous self-confidence this reveals. Here is a young president, prepared to allow himself to be portrayed as "weak" or "dithering" in the slow & meticulous arrival at public policy. He is trusting the reality to help expose what we need to do. He is allowing the debate - however messy & confusing & emotional - to take its time & reveal the real choices in front of us."
barackobama  afghanistan  confidence  leadership  politics  debate  via:migurski  andrewsullivan  foreignpolicy  military  terrorism  analysis  policy  process  empiricism  2009  middleeast  us  presidency 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – Elizabeth Warren for President - True/Slant
"Obama ran an incredible campaign last year, managing to turn himself into the stuff of political iconography...But he also inherited a terrible financial crisis & completely whiffed on it, siding with the financial status quo, who happen to be the bad guys. & in general, policywise, he has turned out to be eerily in sync with the previous administration...We need someone who will run on one very basic principle — the refusal to accept corporate money. That someone will have to be willing to be a symbol of voter empowerment. If someone like Warren doesn’t want that responsibility, well, she shouldn’t have gone into office & gone on TV making all that sense & shit. She’s pushed for transparency in the Fed, is openly furious about the misuse of bailout money & seems to take personally the chicanery that credit card companies & banks use to game the suckers out there. I simply cannot see her suddenly flipping & holding $2000-a-plate fundraisers with Lloyd Blankfein & Jamie Dimon."
elizabethwarren  barackobama  politics  crisis  goldmansachs  finance  economics  matttaibbi  democrats  us  policy  2009  2012  presidency 
october 2009 by robertogreco
PolitiFact | The Obameter: Tracking Barack Obama's Campaign Promises
"PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken."
barackobama  us  policy  politics  promises  truth  presidency  reference  journalism  tracking  government  obameter 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - A President Forgotten but Not Gone - NYTimes.com
"Bush is equally blind to the collapse of his propaganda machinery. Almost poignantly, he keeps trying to hawk his goods in these final days, like a salesman who hasn’t been told by the home office that his product has been discontinued. Though no one is listening, he has given more exit interviews than either Clinton or Reagan did. Along with old cronies like Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, he has also embarked on a Bush “legacy project,” as Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard described it on CNN."
politics  us  georgewbush  presidency 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Change.gov - Office of the President-Elect [see also: http://change.gov/agenda/technology]
"Throughout the Presidential Transition Project, this website will be your source for the latest news, events, and announcements so that you can follow the setting up of the Obama Administration. And just as this historic campaign was, from the beginning, about you -- the transition process will offer you opportunities to participate in redefining our government."
barackobama  government  transparency  policy  change  presidency  2008  politics 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Pick Your Candidate
"Go through each issue listed below & choose the stance you would prefer in president. If a particular issue is important to you, select a different weight to the right....site will attempt to match your views against views of US presidential candidates."
2008  presidency  primary  elections  government  politics 
january 2008 by robertogreco
The Bald Truth - TIME
"When President John F. Kennedy went hatless during his Inauguration speech in 1961, he committed in essence a double homicide: of the hat industry and of the prospect that any bald man would ever have to the nation's highest office."
presidency  us  politics  government  history  appearance  bald  elections 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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