There are two recurrent complaints about American democracy that have been on my mind lately: the inability of most Americans to name their representatives and the ever-increasingly central role of the president. Both of these strike me as the inevitable result of our government’s structure. There simply are too many representatives to keep track of. Americans may be able to keep track of some five hundred celebrities, but this store of information tends only to include primordial human information: physical appearance, one’s sense of liking the person, etc.. This is plainly not the data one needs to vote intelligently.
I see the centrality of the president as the reaction to the overwhelming number of Congress members. It is possible to focus on a single point from which one’s other opinions derive. I would assume that statistics would support the assertion that most voters choose the Congress candidates of the party of their most recent presidential pick. The existence of a monarchical president simply answers basic human needs to simplify situations and make them comparable to the ancient tribal situations for which the human mind is optimized.