Politico: How Trump Has Proved the Founders Right

From H.W. Brands writing at Politico:

Donald Trump is the guy our fathers warned us about. Our Founding Fathers, that is. The drafters of the Constitution distrusted the opportunist who played on popular emotions in the quest for political power. They created a republic, a system in which authority was rooted in the people, but they were leery about letting the people actually exercise power.

To the founders, the preservation of freedom meant they had to be wary of popular rule, or pure democracy, which they saw as an invitation to despotism. The fiercest enemies of the republic, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 1, were those men who begin “by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” John Adams declared of popular rule: “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

The founders thus fashioned a series of checks and filters to keep the people—and the demagogues who might sway them—at bay. Voting was reserved to property owners and permanent residents; the riff-raff had no place at the table. Lawmaking was done by senators and representatives, who would be better educated and more temperate than the masses. The president was chosen by electors, who themselves were chosen, in many cases, by state legislatures (as, in all cases, were the federal senators). At every step of the political process, the passions of the people were hedged and blunted.

Read the rest of the story at Politico.


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