Proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY FOR THE MODERN ERA



BENEFITS

This amendment proposes substantial enhancements in the structure and function and electoral processes of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Federal government. These enhancements greatly improve representation, empowerment, and accountability of the Federal government, together with the attractiveness of public service.

Representation

  • Alignment of elections for the Senate and the House, and derivatively for the President and Vice President, allow a general popular mood to translate into a powerful popular mandate across the government.
  • Popularly-elected representatives in both legislative houses would be appointed to manage the executive agencies, granting these officials greater power to harness these bureaucracies to popular will.
  • Renewable terms preserve the right of the people to reelect public officials they deem to be in their best interest.
Since parties would have more control over devising and implementing a coordinated set of policies, they might choose to scuttle the primary system and directly appoint the leaders they prefer to follow. The people would have less direct input in this nomination process, but the most representative democracy is the one that most ably implements the will of the people. Because the party functionaries would presumably grant more importance to governing ability than to media appeal in their candidate selections, the result would be a government headed by more capable leaders enjoying broader support of their party. As such, they would be more able to propose a series of policies and implement them, thereby better representing and serving the needs of the people.

Empowerment

  • As the President and Vice President would each represent majority parties in their respective houses of Congress, each would have greater power to implement an overall vision without the overwhelming interference of an opposing party.
  • The direct association of executive with legislative functions would contribute to the ability of the ruling party in each house to implement an overall integrated political program effectively.
  • Decoupled management of domestic and international affairs
    • provides for focused attention on each sphere
    • selects and grooms those with appropriate abilities
    • prevents emergencies in one sphere from directly affecting the management of critical affairs in the other
    • frees the President from the day-to-day management of government to allow him to focus on international affairs and to fashion a long-term vision for the nation.
  • The direct appointment of popularly-elected representatives to head executive agencies eliminates the lengthy and media-intrusive approval process, greatly enhances their power to implement policies, and contributes to a streamlining of the Congressional committee system.
  • Minimal checks and balances between these two spheres of influence allow the separate representatives to implement the will of the people more effectively.
  • Six-year Presidential and Senatorial terms provide much needed time to enact long-term policies while reducing reelection pressures.
  • Concurrent Senatorial terms provides for a single group of Senators to work together on policies determined in a common political era and energized by a shared popular mandate.
  • "Floating" mid-term election in the House lengthens the average term of office to three years and reduces the duration of the mid-term election campaign. It also makes the actual performance of representatives in office serve as their ongoing political campaign, giving the ruling party a powerful incentive to excel in order to enhance their power through the ballot box.
  • Renewable terms reward exceptional performance in office.

Accountability

  • With one group making and implementing a promised set of policies in the international or domestic sphere, with only the necessary level of political interference from an opposing group, the people can hold that governing group directly accountable for their success or failure in specific policy areas.
  • The chief implementers of policy, the heads of executive agencies, can be held accountable at the ballot box and through monthly Congressional question periods.
  • Renewable terms hold officials continuously accountable for their actions.
  • With aligned elections the people can throw all the "bastards" out at once if they desire.

Attraction

  • Elected officials have increased potential for "making a difference" through bold and effective governmental action.
  • The separation of the management of domestic and international affairs, the reduction of checks and balances, and the streamlining of the policy generation and implementation processes reduce the official workload substantially, particularly for the President.
  • Renewable terms provide incentive to exceptional people to run for, and remain in, office.
  • Less frequent elections, and greater assistance in financing campaigns and counteracting media power from a more unified party, lessen the burden of governmental service.

© 2002 by Michael J. Farrand

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