David Broder - "A Republic Subverted"

Essay by shibonxHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 2007

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The thesis of A Republic Subverted was that the initiative process circumvents constitutional requirements and disrupts the careful poise of checks and balances. The initiative process was originally meant to stop rich people and interest groups from gaining power. Now it is one of their main tools. It has turned the Unites States Government into one without laws and threatens to subvert the American system of government. Broder says that even though the complex procedures invented by the founding father in order to ensure separation of powers have proven themselves over and over again, the American people have become more and more impatient. Some people argue that the constitution is outdated. Also, people’s anger at the government is spurred by journalists’ reports of scandals in the private lives and many government officials. Also, political campaigns have become competitions where even the winner comes out with a tarnished reputation. Since the Cold War, power has been shifted to the states.

Less and less decisions about our lives and character are made in Washington. State governments have grown exponentially. Medicare and social security aside, state governments spend more than the federal government. Only 13% of public employees are in the service of the federal government. States have also become innovators of new legislation, including programs such as welfare to work. Now, people are using the initiative process to easily amend state constitutions in order to achieve a variety of goals. They have raised minimum wage, ended affirmative action, banned billboards, and decriminalized many drugs. State initiatives have allowed people to gain access to medical marijuana, casinos, restricted campaign funds, banned hunting and certain types of abortion, and allowed adopted children to take on the name of their biological parents. Out of 226 initiatives on ballots, 163 were approved. Many issues about new...