Restoring The Consent Of The Governed (eBook)
The Public Check On Congress Would Hold It More Accountable For Serving The National Interest
de Bill Bridgman
Sobre o livro
American democracy is on the clock. The trajectory of dysfunction does not allow us to kick the responsibility for fixing our government down the road to some future generation. You and I and our fellow citizens are under the gun to implement bold solutions to overcome the malaise.
Most of us know it will take more than simply electing better people to represent us. For example, Pew Research reports 61% of us understand thatsignificant changes are needed in the fundamental design and structure of American government.
And most of us also know what one of those changes must be: a mechanism by which we Americans can hold members of Congress more firmly accountable for working together across party lines to deliver consensus and bipartisan solutions to major national problems.
InRestoring the Consent of the Governed: The Public Check on Congress Would Hold It More Accountable for Serving the National interest, Bill Bridgman makes the case for a new constitutional mechanism to hold members of Congress collectively accountable for their combined overall performance. This new Public Check on Congress (PCC) would give the national electorate an opportunity to render this judgment at regularly scheduled intervals through a national referendum.
There would, of course, be serious consequences for members of Congress of both parties if their collective performance were judged inadequate. But the predominant outcome of PCC would be a new strong incentive to better serve the general public.
All of our current national elections are “lesser of evils” contests where the campaign tactics of choice are toxic demonization, dark money attack ads, and mutual blame-gamesmanship. This new Public Check on Congress referendum would do much to reduce the polarizing effect of our present elections. With collective responsibility and collective consequences, such tactics would be lose-lose.
Currently, many pressing national problems go unaddressed since they serve as useful wedge issues for both parties to inflame their respective bases and raise funds. Under PCC, that dynamic would change dramatically. The parties would be obliged to take a substantial measure of joint ownership of solutions for campaign finance reform, immigration, health care, gun policy, climate change, balancing pro-life and pro-choice positions, fiscal responsibility, election security, long-term defense strategy, executive oversight, etc.
As part of this process, Congress would be enabled to establish a new, positive bond with the American electorate, regain its lost institutional self-esteem, and return to “first branch” status as intended by the framers of the Constitution.
Of course, with any significant change to our constitutional system, some “steep” time will be needed to allow a few paradigms to shift.Restoring the Consent of the Governed addresses a number of these paradigms, such as “the Constitution is too hard to change” and “the people can’t be trusted with something like PCC.” But collective accountability for Congress is a concept that becomes more compelling the longer one thinks it through. This book helps the reader through that process.
Although there are many forms a collective accountability mechanism could take,Restoring the Consent of the Governed introduces one particular formulation that has many advantages. It is, however, only a starting point. Political scientists, constitutional scholars, other experts, and interested laymen are invited to refine and improve on it to find a consensus formulation worthy of broad public support.