In “How to Distinguish Conservative Policy Actions from Democracy-Threatening Actions,” Professor Jennifer N. Victor makes an argument that social scientists should distinguish between normal political/partisan action and extraordinary or unusual actions that could threaten democratic stability. As budding social scientists in an introductory course on American government, this is a challenging but worthy task.
Your job for this assignment is to read Victor’s article and, ultimately, to carefully consider how the framers of the Constitution might evaluate the current actions of both the executive and legislative branches. What safeguards does the Constitution provide to protect the nation’s democratic republic? Be specific (and use the Federalist Papers to help!). In other words, we know that the framers were acutely aware of politicians’ autocratic tendencies. So what did they do to try to rein in these ambitions? Despite their best attempts, the framers were not omniscient and could not fully or adequately anticipate the evolution of the government they created. In your opinion, does the Constitution go far enough to protect democracy? Pick a couple of examples (e.g., either the old or new iteration of the immigration ban, the order to build a wall along the Mexican border, the initial actions to repeal the Affordable Care Act, etc.) highlighted in Victor’s article and (1) make an argument about whether or not this is simply “politics as usual” according to Constitutional design and (2) assess whether or not the Constitution provides sufficient protections against authoritarianism.
Your paper should be 2 double-spaced pages, using 1-inch margins and 12-point font. If you spill over onto the third page, that’s okay, but brevity is a virtue for this assignment. It should be well written, free of grammatical and spelling errors.
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