BBB and a d(D)emocratic mandate

In the wake of Joe Manchin’s refusal to support the Build Back Better Bill, there has been lots of recriminations of our constitutional system. For instance, this tweet calls for structural change because Manchin was able successfully to oppose the rest of his party. “Healthy democracy” is said to require that the 50 Democratic Senators in an evenly divided Senate completely get their way. After all, Manchin is joined in opposition by 50 Republicans. Might we not ask the opposite question: what type of constitutional democracy is it when 50 Democrats can win on everything despite the opposition of exactly … Continue reading BBB and a d(D)emocratic mandate

The Democrat Progressives Should Blame

I have an essay at The New York Times this morning arguing that James Madison is far more to blame for progressive frustrations than either Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema is. The piece tries to show that the primary test of Madisonian legitimacy is whether a majority has cohered for an interval proportionate to the scale of its desires. According to its own supporters’ boasts, the Build Back Better plan would be a historic, generational change to the social safety net akin to the New Deal or Great Society. In that case, it needs an enduring majority behind it. Instead, … Continue reading The Democrat Progressives Should Blame