The Dearth of Moderates Demands Change

There was a near absence of moderates in viable GOP candidates in 2020. I hear similar complaints from the GOP about the Democratic Party not choosing moderates but I grant you that some of the candidates the GOP found unacceptable weren’t unacceptable because of their ideologies but their personal lives or connections. For example Pete Buttigieg because he’s gay and married, Hillary Clinton because of her marriage to Bill and his perceived having escaped untouched the impeachment. In 2024 there were no viable moderate GOP candidates.

In 2020 most of the Democratic field leaned hardcore into the most vocal, monolithic factions. In primaries that’s because, well pound for pound the greatest influence towards winning the nomination is in the extreme, polarized factions. (Smaller energized factions work harder than the same number of non factional people and you usually don’t have to appeal to each of them) The few moderates that might be acceptable and electable in the general stood little chance in winner take all in the Democratic Primaries except for an elder statesman who slipped in despite multitudinous gaffes because of nostalgia for the Obama administration.

I don’t think that there are institutional changes that will stop polarization and grouping of voters into two camps. That seems to be a macro condition of human nature that just has to be survived and then passed. However, I do think that there are institutional changes that can mitigate the effect of polarization and extremism.

1- Overturning the 1929 Apportionment Act which has made a truly proportionate by size House mathematically impossible (can not have a truly proportionate number of Representatives if every state must have one but 435 is the upper limit) In 1790 the percentage difference in population between the most populous and the least populous was about 13 to 1 (Virginia and Delaware ) Today it is about 67 to 1 (Ca to Wy) yet the largest has only 52 times more representatives

2- Eliminate the Electoral College and tally the popular vote or eliminate winner take all choosing of electors. Currently the Electoral College does not serve its original core purpose and does make a presidential election manipulation by careful planning and taking advantage of populace bottlenecks. If we amend the winner take all practice in allocating electors (all states except for Maine and Nebraska use winner take all) then the electoral college would reflect the popular vote better but if that’s the goal then perhaps the electoral college is just a useless institution. It originally was meant to allow States, where most governmental powers resided, to elect folks who had the time and knowledge to opt for the states best interest in a Chief Executive. However in an age when the balance of power has shifted to the federal government, when the average citizen can read and is exposed directly to candidates platforms then the electoral college thwarts the desires of citizens to vote differently on a federal office and state offices.

3- Remove trial of the chief executive after impeachment from the Senate and let impeachment arise from either chamber. Let the trial occur by the SCOTUS. Convicting and removing a President is nigh on to impossible now, given the partisan nature of trials in the Senate and impeachment is nearly impossible if the party of the President controls the House.

4- Remove the appointment, confirmation and removal of SCOTUS members from the POTUS and legislature and place it entirely into a rotating judicial panel of Federal Judges. The nomination of SCOTUS justices by the Chief Executive and the confirmation by the Senate makes every Justice compromised, at least during the tenure of the chief executive nominating them and/or the Senate confirming them.

5- Create additional Constitutional requirements to run for the Presidency including at least as thorough of a security vetting as the highest intelligence organ, a grading system on experience in the POTUS constitutional duties and a ban on candidates with certain criminal convictions. It’s absurd that the person charged with using US military power and initiating treaties does not have to be as vetted and subject to security requirements as even a clerical worker in most federal civil service jobs. It’s also absurd that the person designated Commander in Chief does not have to have any military service experience or an academic degree in military sciences.

6- Remove the presidency altogether from the partisan system. Ideally the US President should not be a member of either political party. As we discover in the rampant corruption in Sheriff’s office throughout the country where partisan sherrifs are the norm, it’s a bad idea for an executive to kibbutz with one party over another.

7- Make constitutional mention and define the extent of Executive Orders just as they are restrained in numerous states. Restrict their authority to the immediate Executive department and prevent them from having the power of Fiat law.

….just a few that would make it less easy for small cabals of extremists to manipulate the numbers to elect a president and lessen the ability to use a convicted populist demagogue to sway the populace. They would also lower the incentive to ignore the process throughout the country and just concentrate on sizing the highest office where more power is accumulating.

As to holding both sides accountable equally when blame isn’t equal….yeah, it is highly unlikely that at any given point in time the deserved blame is equal. It seems that the drift by Republicans in Congress to the so called right has been more drastic than the drift to the left by Democrats. However the extremes are, to me, equally wacky. Current raving varies. Both extremes have waxed and waned and exploited mad populists. However in the past most Americans drifted around in the middle, sometimes favoring more government, sometimes less. Now about two thirds of the citizenry have made team red or team blue homer like allegiances and are hard fast staying there no.matter how crazy the leadership may become. If that won’t change then the result needs to be mitigated. Enfranchisement of more adult folks is always good but there isn’t much reason to expect that they will be anymore objective or rational than the others.

Oddly there was a little bipartisanship with a bill dealing with college football, the transfer portal and NIL with a sponsorship by Tuberville and Manchin. Not an important issue by any means but nice to see anyway. It’s noteworthy that Manchin is the last of the Blue Dog Democrats and Tuberville is a former football coach who is passionate about the direction of the game and desperate to express any political process.


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