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The Reconstructionist
Works, Progress, Democracy, Douglass — and Posts

An Introduction to a Proposal for Renewal

We face a constitutional moment — a point in time when deep-seated flaws of a constitutional system are revealed for all to see and when the work of reform, renewal, reconstitution must begin.The experience of the entire Trump Presidency, a presidency that has brought a neo-confederate, White Redeemer to the White House, demands the completion of work left unfinished for 156 years — Reconstruction. This Reconstruction, our third, must entail the defense, renewal, and completion of a majoritarian-Madisonian multi-racial democracy with free, fair, and open elections.

We must also realize that we live…

A Catholic princeling and a paranoid Quaker walk into a room and the resulting kerfuffle is the 1960 Presidential Election. Beyond the overwhelming duel of personalities between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon, there was one omnipresent concern, the former’s religion, his Catholicism. John F. Kennedy was only the second Roman Catholic presidential nominee and the nation’s only Catholic chief executive. His religion and the charged discourse around it may or may not have helped decide the election for Kennedy, but more pertinently reflects the dynamics of 20th Century religiopolitical strategy and the dynamics of 20th Century American bigotry.

The United States Senate is America’s institutional Sword of Damocles. It’s shadow looms large because it has, by and large, become the source of American gridlock and the embodiment of American political dysfunction. The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body has become a daycare for presidential hopefuls and a graveyard for legislation. Over the past decade, when Congress has failed to act, it is because of the Senate. It is a body that requires not just reform but an institutional reconstruction.

This is a proposal for a better senate, predicated on both functional bicameralism and separative semi-presidentialism. This New Senate would serve…

Have you looked at ever-increasing executive power and ever atrophying legislative competency and thought, “There’s got to be a better way?” Well boy howdy, let me say I have just the thing for you — separative semi-presidentialism.

Before we move onto what separative semi-presidentialism means, some explanations are in order, namely, the forms of representative democracy. There are three basic forms of representative democracy: parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential. These systems are tied together by three common elements: a head of state, a head of government, and a legislature. Differences in the powers and selection/election of all three components vary wildly.

When we tell the story of America, it is generally contained in a single linear and straightforward narrative. A single strand with a distinctive WASPy sheen, a single strand that hopes to bind together a diverse and discordant country, a single strand that only succeeds in strangling one truth. That the story of America is not a single story, it is a story of stories. Stories bound together by violent contradiction and unparalleled promise. …

We are in an ideological monsoon, an era that is seemingly dominated by either red flags or brown shirts — an alternative is always tantalizing. An ideological response to an ideological crisis. That crisis, this crisis — the crises of Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon — is a crisis of nativism.

This cacophony of world leaders and their groups are united by their nativism — that various groups of citizens are not, in fact, genuine and legitimate members of society. They are instead an existential threat that must be quashed. This noxious brew is further mixed with anti-pluralist…

Perfect bicameralism is far from perfect. When the two chambers of a bicameral legislature have the same authorities, responsibilities, and stature, it complicates practically all legislative matters. It slows the law-making process and creates ambiguity regarding who is responsible for the good conduct of the legislature on the whole. And critically, a divided legislature is one that generally refuses to act institutionally to defend its powers from erosion by the judiciary or the executive. …

The Reconstructionist

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