Throw the Bums Out?
A reading of the Constitution would suggest that voters have the power to “oust the prior administration via election and install a new guy with new policies and proposals,” advises Francis Menton. “We can ‘throw the bums out!’— or at least, that’s the concept behind a reading of the Constitution.
Impossible to Throw the Bums Out?
According to the Manhattan Contrarian, a real threat to our Democracy is the progressive project of prohibiting voters from throwing out a “permanent cadre of experts in the government.” The real threat to Democracy, warns Mr. Menton, is unelected bureaucrats accountable to no one.
However, a key element of the progressive project for the last century and more has been to make it impossible for the voters to throw the bums out. The alternative progressive idea is to install a permanent cadre of experts in the government, who will supposedly be apolitical and will run the country according to their apolitical expertise.
You can quickly see that this idea only works if the voters can’t just throw all these people out at the next election. So this fundamental aspect of the progressive project is deeply antithetical to the very most “democratic” aspect of our constitutional system. Among any real “threats to our Democracy,” this is the most important one, in my opinion.
The Census Bureau Bugaboo
On 15 September, the House passed a bill with the title “Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act.” And after all, asks Mr. Menton, who could be against a “fair and accurate” census?
The basic idea here is to make it as difficult as possible, if not completely impossible, for a newly elected President to have any input into the processes of the Census Bureau. The President would be deprived of the ability to fire the Director of the Census Bureau, except for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.” This provision is almost certainly unconstitutional. As the backup plan, the bill creates a position of Deputy Director which is to be a career civil service position — thus supposedly immune to presidential firing — and if the President tries to fire the Director, then the Deputy Director takes over by statute.
The bill also creates several “advisory committees” on things like “statistics” and “science,” that will undoubtedly get stuffed with progressive activists who can protest any proposed policy changes and cover their political claims with appeals to math and science that are too opaque for anybody to penetrate.
It is not clear what will happen with this bill in the Senate, particularly with its current precarious 50/50 makeup. On the other hand, if the Democrats were to increase their margin in the Senate in the upcoming midterms, this bill would clearly represent some steps they would like to take.
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