In our last blog, we explored the idea of expanding representation by having more than one representative for each district. This way, instead of fifty-one percent of those who bother to vote being represented, and forty-nine percent (plus all those who don’t bother to vote) being unrepresented, you would have (probably) ninety percent of the population represented.
Applying this principle to the executive branch, we noted that the original Constitution gave the presidency to the candidate who won the majority of electoral votes, and the vice presidency to the one who got the second most votes. Thus, the president and vice-president, instead of representing a single party, typically were political opponents. Thus, a vice president could provide an important bully pulpit against a power-crazed president, reining in on some of his or her more extravagant and dangerous excesses.
Expanding this principle of shared power, we should consider the idea of having a triumvirate (three executives) rather than a single president. If recent history has taught us anything, it is that a single president is much too close to a king or a tyrant. Just since WWII, there have been major wars conducted in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, all without the constitutionally-required Declaration of War.
If the top three vote getters in a presidential election formed a triumvirate, with either two or all three leaders required to approve any executive action, such extravagant boondoggles like wars on the far side of the globe would likely cease.
With a triumvirate, laws would have to be written that would appeal to (for example) Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. Otherwise, the law would be vetoed.
To those who protest that it would be difficult to “get things done” in such a system, I can only answer, “and thank God for that!” As a libertarian, I don’t want to make it easy for a government to start new wars, raise new taxes, or create even more regulatory agencies than we have now. If a law is to pass, it has to have a strong appeal across the political spectrum. In such a system, getting nothing done could be viewed as a good thing.
In our next election, it is likely the Democrats will sweep to power, and quite possibly get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. In other words, Democrats will be able to pass any legislation they want. One can hope this will not include an unconstitutional order to turn in privately-owned firearms, but when political parties hold all the cards, the power tends to go to their heads.
And of course, the forty percent or so who are projected to vote for McCain (for reasons known only to them), will have no say whatsoever.