Some Republicans want to restructure the federal government by making the Presidency irrelevant.
To explain, US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) wants to make former President Donald J. Trump Sr (R-Florida) US Speaker of the House. Gaetz’s idea is that Republicans could elect Trump Speaker, if they win control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
Gaetz even claims he has discussed his proposal with Trump. In addition, Gaetz has launched a Speaker Trump fundraising effort. Moreover, other US House members; including US Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), support Gaetz’s scheme, Forbes observes.
Strangely, Gaetz’s proposal could be constitutional because the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a House member. However, every Speaker has been a US Representative. Additionally, as far as I know, the Courts have never ruled on the matter.
Speaker Trump or an American Prime Minister?
If it becomes reality, Gaetz’s proposal could be the most radical restructuring of the Federal government since 1913. To elaborate, the 17th Amendment mandating the direct election of US Senators went into effect in 1913.
Gaetz is proposing a similarly drastic disruption of the federal government. In essence, Gaetz wants to transform the speakership into an American Prime Minister or Chancellor.
To explain in most democracies, the head of government and head of state are separate offices. For example, in India the President is head of state, while the Prime Minister is head of government. Hence, the Indian President is a powerless figurehead while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a powerful chief executive. Thus, nobody knows who the President of India is, but any political junkie anywhere on Earth recognizes Modi’s name.
The United States is one of the few countries that still combine the head of government and head of state. Gaetz wants to separate the two by making the head of his party the head of government. Hence, Gaetz wants to transform America into a parliamentary democracy.
There are advantages to such an arrangement. For example, in a parliamentary system, they can easily remove the chief executive by a simple majority vote. As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is about to learn. Hence, prime ministers are more accountable to voters. In contrast, you need a two-thirds vote of the US Senate to impeach or remove a President.
Making the Presidency Irrelevant
Gaetz’s proposal favors Republicans because no Republican has won a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election since George W. Bush (R-Texas) in 2004. In fact, only one Republican; George W. Bush, has won a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election for the past 32 years.
However, Republicans have been able to control the US House of Representatives for 10 of the past 12 US Congresses. Hence, Gaetz’s proposal is a scheme to guarantee total Republican control of the US government.
Essentially, Republicans want the federal government to resemble the Federal Republic of Germany. In Germany, the President is a figurehead while the Chancellor is the head of government. The lower house of the German parliament, or Budestag. elects the Chancellor.
Another possibility here is that Republicans could think they will have more control of a loose cannon such as Trump if he is Speaker. Remember, the House can remove Speaker Trump with a simple vote if he does not follow orders.
Thus, Republicans could change America’s federal government beyond recognition. In particular, they could create permanent minority Republican government.
Many Republicans will welcome this idea now, but they could regret their support. What happens if Democrats push the idea of US Speaker of the House Barack Obama (D-Illinois)? It is the logical response to Speaker Trump.
Moreover, just a suggestion of Speaker Trump could turn a probable Republican recapture of the House into a Democratic blue wave. To explain, just the suggestion of Speaker Trump could drive tens of millions to the polls in an anti-Trump Blue Wave reminiscent of 2018.
America’s Prime Minister
Similarly, desperate Democrats could counter Speaker Trump with Speaker Obama. The argument being that Speaker Obama will pull the strings of puppet President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) or figurehead President Trump after 2024.
I think the suggestion of Speaker Obama is a great way to encourage black people to vote. Remember Obama, won the popular and Electoral College votes in two presidential elections. I think Obama won by mobilizing the black vote.
Either way, creating a such a powerful Speaker will completely restructure American government. For example, who does the military report to under such a system? The person in the Oval Office, or the individual on Capitol Hill who signs their paychecks? Remember, under the Constitution, the House writes the Federal budget.
Similarly, will the Courts rule Speaker Trump or Speaker Obama unconstitutional? Making the Speaker into America’s Prime Minister violates the Separation of Powers.
I think the Constitutional Originalists on the US Supreme Court will hate such tinkering with the federal government. Thus, the strict originalists Republicans packed the Courts with could turn on them.
Radically Restructuring the Federal Government
The most disturbing aspect of Gaetz’s proposal is that I do not think ordinary Americans are voting for a radical restructuring of the federal government. Yet, that is exactly Republicans are offering.
I can understand the sentiment behind such radical changes. Our federal government is increasingly infective. Congress cannot even pass a budget or overcome the filibuster. Hence, the desire for radical change is deep.
Yet such radical changes are dangerous. Revolutions often break out when governments try to reform. For example, the French Revolution began when the Estates General of 1789 tried to rewrite France’s Constitution.
Conversely, I like the idea of an American Prime Minister, but I hate the idea of Speaker Trump. To explain, I view Trump as a corrupt and incompetent clown whose bungling will completely discredit the notion.
A probable outcome of such an arrangement is that the House will get disgusted with Trump and remove him, leading to even greater political turmoil. Thus, making the Speaker America’s Prime Minister will lead to more conflict rather than end gridlock.
Frighteningly, turning the Speaker into a Prime Minister is not the only radical disruption of the federal government under consideration. The Fair Representation Act or HR 3863 sponsored by US Representative Donald S. Beyer (D-Virginia) will transform the House.
The Fair Representation Act changes the way we elect US Representatives. Currently, each US house district elects one representative, which rewards gerrymandering.
HR 3863 creates multi-member districts where voters elect representatives by proposal representation. Under proportional representation, each district has several representatives. Each representative represents a percentage of the vote.
For example, if Democrats get 46% of the vote and Republicans get 49%, both parties will represent the district. The advantage of this system is that minorities, such as urban Republicans and rural Democrats, get representation without minority rule.
Personally, I support the Fair Representation Act. However, I think few Americans want such radical reorganization of Congress. Yet prominent politicians such as failed presidential and New York Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang are promoting it.
The frightening reality is that politicians want to restructure our government beyond recognition. Americans need to be afraid because this radical restructuring seems poorly thought out.
Instead, these changes appear to be crude power grabs similar to Trump’s Stop the Steal effort from January 2021. Those efforts led to the 6 January Capitol insurrection and the attempted lynching of members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana).
I have to wonder what the reaction to Speaker Trump could be? A left wing mob with a guillotine storming the Capitol? Shootouts between Proud Boys and Antifa on the Capitol Steps?
Americans need to be afraid because politicians want to restructure our government.