The New York Times editorial page today published an op-ed calling for the cancellation of the mid-term elections. Yes, that’s right, a day before you and I and millions of Americans head to the polls to vote in Congressional and Senate races, as well as numerous races for state and local office, a pair of wise people lament the franchise and that overrated form of government known as representative self-government.
“There was a time when midterm elections made sense — at our nation’s founding, the Constitution represented a new form of republican government, and it was important for at least one body of Congress to be closely accountable to the people,” write Prof. David Schanzer and Jay Sullivan, a student, of Duke University.
But accountability is so old-fashioned that now, “We should get rid of federal midterm elections entirely” they argue.
Why should we rid ourselves of this outdated and cumbersome expression of republicanism?
“The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation.”
Heaven forbid that anything would ever – ever – weaken the power of the chief executive.
Perhaps someone should point out to Prof. Schanzer that the President of the United States is actually elected by the people acting through the states (See: College, Electoral) and not simply selected “by the entire nation.”
The founding fathers were skeptics of human nature, and they understood that people like power, and people are self-interested. They thus devised a system that balanced the pursuit of power by people in government with the pursuit of self-interest by people out of government. The tension between the two is resolved in elections.
Federalist Number 52 explains the reason that U.S. House members were given two-year terms:
“As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people. Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured.”
Liberals make much ado about democracy, but this op-ed in The New York Times reveals the ultimate hypocrisy of liberalism: While dispensing platitudes about individual rights they prefer to concentrate power in a supposedly benevolent and all-wise paternal government.
If elections are such a bother, why stop with eliminating the midterms? Why not rid the nation of the tumult and expense of presidential election cycles by making that office hereditary? If 2016 features a Clinton running against a Bush (again), perhaps that will have effectively taken place.