Misrepresenting Madison, Destabilizing Democracy

Detail of portrait of James Madison, 1816. (White House Historical Association/Public domain)
A Columbia law professor takes to the New York Times to libel the Constitution’s chief architect and to propose system-unsettling changes to our politics.


here is much talk of the impending death of American democracy. Some of it is worth reading and worrying about. A volatile situation is brewing as partisan tribes become more internally homogenous and distanced from one another — geographically, ideologically, and culturally.

We can ward off potential disaster via piecemeal changes geared toward lowering the temperature and weakening the power of the most extreme elements in our politics; we will catalyze disaster through brash, systemic overhauls. Enter Columbia Law professor Jedediah Britton-Purdy and his recent New York Times opinion piece, “The Republican Party Is Succeeding Because We Are Not a True

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