Yuval Levin recently wrote TheFractured Republic, an intelligent look at the state of political discontent, and a recommended read. He recently wrote Hillary Is an Embodiment of the Left’s Disdain for Democracy with coauthor Ramesh Ponnuru in National Review. He examines three reason why Hillary is the larger threat while acknowledging Trump’s significant shortcomings.
Liberals generally justify all of these work-arounds that subvert normal democratic politics and constitutional processes by claiming that they are but responses to the alleged dysfunction, extremism, and nihilism of conservatives. But such complaints amount to little more than the kind of impatience with our system — and with the very existence of opposition to their ideas — that progressives have articulated since at least Teddy Roosevelt. Conservatives oppose many liberal policies and do use the mechanisms of our constitutional system to attempt to prevent and reverse them. It’s true that our system greatly empowers such opposition: It is frankly premised on the notion that most policy ideas are bad ideas and that making change slow and difficult is likely to serve the country.
That the Constitution makes the work of progressive ideologues frustrating is not an excuse for ignoring and subverting it. That the constitutional system will not acquiesce in its own debilitation is not a justification for debilitating it. Arguments for doing so amount to unprincipled excuses for lawlessness. They make elected officials less responsible, and they are expressions of an impatience with constitutional democracy, not a defense of it.