Democracy and Dysfunction: An Exchange
108 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2016 Last revised: 20 Dec 2016
Date Written: August 8, 2016
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 nomination and election of Donald Trump in 2016.
Keywords: Constitution, dysfunction, constitutional reform, 2016 Election, Donald Trump
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation