Friday, February 20, 2009

The Executive Council

What say we end the cult of presidentialism? Take a page from the Swiss and elect not a unitary president but an Executive Council to make executive decisions that ought not be placed in one person's hands. Here's my proposal:

The Executive Council would consist of seven equal voting members. These members would be directly elected by the people through single transferable vote. However, there will also be a provision that no more than three council members can be from the same political party. This will ensure that there are always at least three parties represented in the council, even if only by one member. Additionally, and probably most controversially, I would mandate that no more than four members may be from the same sex or ethnic group. So (even assuming present electoral prejudices) the council would always have at least three female and three non-white members. The candidate with the most total votes will serve as Council President to preside over meetings and represent the US for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, but this president would not have any real additional powers.

As best as I can tell, with an executive council as described above and based on the trends in the primaries and the ultimate votes, the 2008 election would have resulted in an executive council consisting of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Cynthia McKinney, and Gloria La Riva. The latter two get in under both the sex and ethnic group clauses, and one is covered by the third-party clause. Obama would serve as Council President.

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