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Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Need for Credible Opposition

In the heady days of the early 1960s, Democrats began to flirt with the idea of enduring partisan dominance, fancying themselves a permanent majority. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had both been a Kennedy and Johnson aide and shared in the headiness of the moment, later welcomed the Republican advances in the 1966 midterms. Several pro-civil … Continue reading Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Need for Credible Opposition

In Search of a Republican Majority

Susan McWilliams Barndt is a regular contributor to The Constitutionalist. She is Chair and Professor in the Politics Department at Pomona College. For the health of this republic, we need Republican leaders to believe that theirs can become the majority party. Right now, I do not think they believe this. And as long as Republican … Continue reading In Search of a Republican Majority

George Will on Free Speech and Conservative Media

George F. Will has this column out today on a transparent attempt by Democratic members of Congress to intimidate media outlets that, in his words, “distribute conservative content, or what nowadays passes for that.” Will’s conclusion is key: Disinformation is fundamentally a problem of consumption rather than supply. There is a point at which a … Continue reading George Will on Free Speech and Conservative Media

A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

As some of my colleagues here know, I was a bit frustrated throughout the second impeachment that there wasn’t more focus on Trump’s dereliction of duty on January 6. It seemed clear to me at the time that the dereliction charge would have been more intuitive than the incitement to violence charge, because everyone knew … Continue reading A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

A Clarification on the Separation of Powers

I agreed with Ben’s essential point that within the separation of powers we can expect President Biden to have a somewhat different perspective on executive power than candidate Biden or, especially, Senator Biden. That point was about the institution shaping the occupant of the office. That’s embodied in Madison’s famous line about the interests of … Continue reading A Clarification on the Separation of Powers

Separation of Parties, not Powers?

Both George and Greg suggest that my separation of powers argument concerning Biden’s air strikes doesn’t square with the fact that political parties have replaced the separation of powers. I agree with them that this has now become the conventional opinion regarding the separation of powers. And, as they rightly note, the dominance of parties … Continue reading Separation of Parties, not Powers?

Separation of Powers? Or Separation of Parties?

I think Greg Weiner’s friendly amendment to Ben Kleinerman’s argument may be more than an amendment. What Greg rightly notes is that the logic of the separation of powers should be institutional, not partisan. It is not particularly odd that President Biden sees things differently than Senator Biden. He occupies a different office with different … Continue reading Separation of Powers? Or Separation of Parties?

Syrian Airstrikes: A Friendly Amendment to Ben Kleinerman’s Post?

Ben Kleinerman has made a compelling case that the partisan reversal on constitutional authority for U.S. airstrikes in Syria shows the separation of powers at work. I have a friendly amendment, or at least one to propose: Ben’s case is true with two qualifications. First, the reversal should be institutional, not partisan. That is, members … Continue reading Syrian Airstrikes: A Friendly Amendment to Ben Kleinerman’s Post?

Syrian Air Strikes and Presidential Authority

In the wake of Biden’s air strikes against Syria, many of his opponents are returning to statements he and Kamala Harris made critical of Trump for similar kinds of strikes. Although I understand the inevitable politics of these things, I would suggest that we’re witnessing the separation of powers succeed. As President, Biden has a … Continue reading Syrian Air Strikes and Presidential Authority

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About The Constitutionalist

The Constitutionalist is dedicated to the intellectual and political work of constitutional democracy. Our authors are open to a range of political perspectives, but we are unified by a capacious understanding of the constitutional endeavor–namely, we believe that constitutions are sustained not only by law, but also by civil society and civic norms. Using our expertise in political philosophy, American political development, public law, and political culture and literature, we aim to foster conversation across disciplinary lines and beyond the confines of academia. We believe this kind of conversation is vital to the creation and maintenance of good constitutions. Though we are interested in what happens elsewhere, our primary focus is on the American experience.

The Jack Miller Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s founding principles and history, an education vital to thoughtful and engaged citizenship. They support professors and educators who share our mission, offering programs, resources, fellowships, and more to help them teach our nation’s students—from high school through college.