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.
The second way contemporary liberalism threatens our constitutional order is closely connected to the first: Today’s Left is the party of the administrative state, which is often the means by which executive unilateralism operates but is also far more than that. The term “administrative state” refers to the tangle of regulatory agencies that populate the executive branch, including agencies that are at least nominally “independent.” They increasingly govern beyond the control of the other branches and therefore at times genuinely outside the confines of our constitutional system.
These agencies frequently operate by issuing rules and regulations: several thousand of them every year. These rules are supposed to implement federal laws, but both the growing vagueness of major legislation and the growing assertiveness of the regulators have increasingly meant that the agencies basically legislate through their rules. Some of them then also adjudicate disputes arising from their own implementation of these rules, effectively lodging legislative, executive, and judicial power in a single institution.
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny,” James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47. Many Americans subject to the jurisdiction of particularly aggressive regulatory agencies might well agree. But the power of such agencies has been growing by leaps and bounds in the Obama years.