Monday, August 08, 2016

Democracy and Dysfunction: An Exchange


On SSRN, Sandy and I have just published a debate on constitutional dysfunction in the U.S. and the meaning of Donald Trump. Here is the abstract:

This essay, structured as a debate, discusses the current causes of political dysfunction in the United States.

Levinson argues that the causes of dysfunction can be traced to the Constitution itself. Remedying political dysfunction requires a new constitutional convention or a series of constitutional amendments, and Levinson explains why a program of constitutional reform is urgently required.

Balkin argues that the problem is best described as a problem of democratic representation, not dysfunction; it does not require either a constitutional amendment or a new constitutional convention. He argues that the federal government appears dysfunctional because the old Reagan regime is breaking down and we are in a transition to a new regime.

In a subsequent exchange, Levinson and Balkin reassess their arguments in light of the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee in 2016.

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