Hey folks, happy Monday. I’m back in DC after a few weeks in scenic Maine and excited for the Biden Era to begin.
But before that happens I want to talk about a cheery subject that I’ve been interested in for a long time — the collapse of constitutional government in the United States.
Juan Linz’s revenge
The late political scientist Juan Linz observed in his 1990 article “The Perils of Presidentialism” that the Madisonian or Presidential style of democracy was associated with much more constitutional instability than the parliamentary form.
As he saw it, the interbranch conflict that Madison believed to be a guarantor of freedom was actually a source of brittleness. If the president wants X and the congress wants Y then either they compromise or else nothing happens. That’s fine most of the time, but unlike in a parliamentary system where you can call a new election to resolve the conflict, or have a coalition “collapse” and be replaced with a new one, in a presidential system you’re …