Fire Our “King” – On Why We Should Consider Abolishing The Office of the Presidency

Featured PostKing PresidentIf you are like me and you enjoy studying political philosophy and examining government theory, then you are likely also pet peeved by the onslaught of new “political activists” who come out of hibernation during presidential election season. All of a sudden everyone and their dog is active and cares about politics. They have an opinion on every political issue and candidate. I argue in this post that this behavior is partly a result of our misguided perception that the president is a contemporary king.

The American people have come to perceive the federal government as the primary agent of their democratic will. Strong evidence of this mentality may be found in the voting behavior of the American people. Striking is the almost hypnotic lure of presidential elections which prove to have the largest voter turnout rates. Midterm elections and state government elections exhibit substantially lower voter turnouts; typically far lower than 50% of the voting populace (Schaffner 2010, 184). The American people are uninterested in their state and local government elections and are primarily focused on the federal government– more importantly the president –serving as the sole agent of their democratic will.

Every two years the same representatives get re-elected with over 80% probability, partly because the majority of their constituents do not know who they are and they only vote in presidential elections. Educated voters can typically identify their U.S. representative’s, but when challenged to identify their direct state government representative’s, they will typically stare at you with a countenance lost in some dark abyss. More importantly, even educated voters tend to know more about a presidential candidate than their most direct representative. President’s are essentially perceived to be kings. National mainstream media and special interest groups are partly to blame for this as well.

The President's Castle
The President’s Castle

Just examine the sheer symbolism of the presidency to get an idea of this illusion. He has a special “castle” for himself, he gets all sorts of special privileges such as private flights, entertainment, chefs, and he even has his own security agency. The president drives around in luxurious vehicles surrounded by motorcades. In movies, television, and other forms of art, the president is looked to as the most important person in government. Sadly, this is an entirely destructive perception. It is almost as if people are simply naturally inclined towards monarchy; maybe Machiavelli was right. The U.S. Congress is supposed to be the supreme branch of the federal government. The U.S. Congress controls the federal checkbook, when we do– or do not –go to war, and what ultimately becomes law. The Congress can impeach the president and refuse to nominate Supreme Court justices. Hell, they can even pass a constitutional amendment and abolish the Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government. Constitutionally, the Congress is insurmountably more powerful and important than the president.

America needs to seriously consider repealing Article II of the U.S. Constitution in its entirety and replacing it with a new executive branch; perhaps adopting a prime minster as the head of state would suffice. The Office of the President is quite literally a residue of monarchy; it was an attempt by some of the U.S. Framers to incorporate certain powers of a king into a republican system of government (Bruns 1986). It has been argued that Alexander Hamilton, one of the chief architects of the U.S. Constitution, wanted to simply reinstate a form of monarchy after the American Revolution. A term-limited and elected king is still a king. A one in one million vote in a popular election is essentially meaningless. Despite what public schools, “vote or die” campaigns, and what the mainstream media have pounded into our psyches, simply voting– especially for the president –does not make one a democratic participant. It is a fool’s errand. Watch as every presidential election season rolls around, and suddenly everyone is “politically active.” It is nonsense. A vote in such a massive election is statistically meaningless, especially when you are only given two choices.

Queen HillaryThis underlying perception of the “President as King” is perhaps the most dangerous concept plaguing the collective American political psyche. The people are still compelled to blame everything on a single leader. They look to a single leader to solve all problems. When situations appear dismal, they blame this single person. Indeed, having a scapegoat is easier than taking blame for our own laziness; our inability to get out and vote, campaign, support, and elect true states-persons to political office; our inability to hold our direct representatives responsible for the various problems we face.

We may be a democracy on paper, but we are not when examined objectively. We are a nation of sleeping democratic participants who roll up our sleeves once every four years to cast our “one in one million” vote for our king. We then blame everything on this king for the next four years, even if it is truly our direct representatives who possess the most power.

We need to abolish this contemporary form of kingship and embrace true representative democracy.

Gibbons Report Challenge:

Here’s my challenge to anyone who has read this: find your representative’s, follow them on Facebook or other social media, and start paying attention to their voting behavior and public statements. You may also check federal representative’s funding sources on


Find Your Representatives

Bruns, Roger A. 1986. A More Perfect Union : The Creation of the United States Constitution. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration by the National Archives Trust Fund Board.

Schaffner, Brian F. 2010. Politics, Parties, And Election In America. Amherst: University of Massachusetts. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.