#67 Madison Tried But Hamilton Prevailed

Madison Tried

The Framers, James Madison in particular, designed the American constitutional system as a representative republic, not a direct democracy. Representatives, of the people, were the only directly elected position in the Constitution. They would serve for the public good. 

James Madison spent the year before the Constitutional Convention reading books on the history of failed democracies. Madison believed that failed democracies were the result of government succumbing to the rule of demagogues and mobs. So he designed the Constitution to avoid that fate.

Direct popular elections tend to bring out the demagogues and “crisis” brings out the mobs. The Constitution addresses both. The presidential search was to be a process that the States controlled. Nominations were taken from the States’ representatives in Congress, then the State Legislators would selected/appoint Electoral College members to cast votes representing their state. From this process the President would be selected. 

No campaigning, no funding, no direct involvement of the people. The selection process would be based upon the merit and the body of work of those individuals nominated, not on showmanship and money. A procedure that probably would not in today’s Congress.

Today’s Congress has changed too drastically: the US Senators are no longer beholden to the states (17th Amendment), the U.S. Constitution called one Representative for every 30,000 persons, gerrymandering and other tactics allowed to favor those in power has created a Congress entrenched with partisan politics. Besides you would trust them? https://news.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx 

Madisons constitution also took mobs very serious. He included a series of cooling mechanisms intended to slowdown impulsive act of populist passion. Madison thought that a pause would quell the heart and activate the head. These cooling mechanisms would ensure deliberative reasoning, thus allowing for a prudence in action to prevail.

Madison research made him well aware the the dangers of mob rule. He referred to these mobs as factions. In “Federalist No. 10” he outline the danger of such mobs: “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” 

Madison believed that “group think” spreads quickly distorting public policy and threatening liberty. Only if the public is given time and space to consider long-term interests rather than short-term gratification, liberty could prevail.

Madison’s Federalist No. 10. “A pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction.”

Hamilton Prevailed 

The constitution has failed. Selecting a president is trending toward a direct election by an uninformed public. This system gives us talented demagogs, capable of raising lots of money with enough salesmanship to make hollow promises to the passionate populist mobs. 

The elected representatives in Congress are not beholden to the people. They are elected based upon a Democrat or Republican Party vetting program that weights their potential to solicit lobbyists money while staying within the approved limits of the Washington paradigm. 

Madison envisioned Congress as a cooling mechanisms where thoughtful deliberation would take an appropriate course. However, today’s deliberations in Congress are red vs blue or liberal vs conservative. One group pitted against the other group using words as a cattle prod to move the herd into their corral.

A new faction has arrived in Washington, ready to unite. This faction is slicker, user friendly and more professional than the last. But the fact is, they are the same demagogues that feed off the passions of the mob. President Joe Biden’s faction has taken 33 executive actions in his first six days in office. 

Are there really 33 crisis too important to bypass the Constitution? Did any of the Executive Orders stop the wars? How many brought troops home? Any address the domestic violence perpetrated by governmental authority? Any remedies for the humanitarian disaster that we help to create in Yemen? No, twelve reversed Trump policies thus nurturing the anti-Trump mob and eighteen feed the crazed Covid mob.

Democracy? Maybe Hamilton’s dream has come to fruition, an elective monarchy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s