The executive in a republican form of government …
In a republican form of government, the goal is to temper the passions of the masses in order to maximize your goal for governing: the garnering of the spoils from capturing the government; to direct public capital in a way that awards leadership while placating the citizenry. Populism is to be squelched if the state is to be efficiently administered. You can’t have efficient administration if the executive is constantly competing with a citizenry that makes demands for more resources where such demands tend to be driven more by emotion and a limited view of alternatives for garnering resources versus pragmatism. If the framers of the American constitution got one thing right it was that governance should include a mechanism for keeping the passions of the electorate in check.
Squelching populism is necessary ….
To proceed with the squelching of populism and the promotion of republicanism, you will have to get rid of the notion of the strong, independent executive. The existence of a strong, independent executive indicates that there is a significant majority whose popular vote propelled that executive into office. Keeping a strong, independent executive in check is the goal of a citizenry seeking to maximize its liberty to trade and use its private capital as it pleases. Eradicating populism protects the individual from this clear and present danger to her liberty.
I should add that this argument is not about protecting the rich from a future Elizabeth Warren-type presidency. This protection extends to people like me who are not affluent or well connected. We, too, have liberties that we do not wish to be trampled upon, including the freedom to be left alone.
This brings me to a second approach to squelching populism: destroying the notion that government is designed to protect you. Social programs for and income transfers to the poor are not about protecting the less fortunate. Social programs and income transfers are more about buying votes and keeping the barbarians from knocking down the gates. A strong, independent executive can use such programs to engender fealty, creating a standing army of passion-driven, unenlightened majorities willing to do their part in the executive’s suppression of the minority’s liberties.
People are, for a government, a resource to be managed, not a ruling force to be submitted to. The executive should not be bolstered or subjugated by the masses. This check on the executive should come from the state and national legislatures, bodies that are directly elected by the masses and who, because of their proximity to and familiarity with the people’s unique needs, are best suited for addressing the “distractions” the masses could cause the executive.
Democratic Party hypocrisy …
The Democratic Party feigns anger at Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016. They have to in order to validate their supporters belief that the political system was supposed to serve their perceptions of fairness. In actuality, the Democratic Party had no choice but to accept the outcome of the November 2016 election because the outcome showed that the majority of the populace will not be able to create mandates that handcuff a Democratic victor in the future.
Mr. Trump’s share of the popular vote in 2016 and his current job approval rating demonstrates that for all his “going public” efforts and his blustery personality, he is still handcuffed; he is not an independent executive. The republican form of government still allows the Democratic Party to keep the President in their political cross-hairs by signaling that the President does not have majority support acting as a moat that protects him. The republican form of government should also give the Democratic Party some hope that if they ran a candidate with the right campaign game plan, that they could manipulate the Electoral College for a victorious outcome.
Observation: Democratic voters want a tyrant ….
The Democratic Party’s supporters, however, want a tyrant. The rank and file voter supports the populist agenda, thus would support a strong, independent leader spawned by populism. The emotionalism of the average Democratic voter gives me pause because it tells me that this voter has not fully thought through what they are asking for from a populist leader. A populist leader, as I discussed before, will keep the goody bag filled in order to maintain that support. It is what they ask for in return for their political packages is what concerns me.