A birthday check-up

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump (C), along with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, stand at Truman Balcony as they welcome military families who have gathered for a Fourth of July picnic on the South Lawn of the White House, prior to a fireworks display, in Washington, U.S. July 4, 2017. Photo credit: Mike Theiler/Reuters

Well, it’s a long story. But it’s a healthy discussion to have with different political perspectives present.

 We’ve seen an ebb and flow in the power of the three branches of government. Special guest Matt Yglesias wrote in 2015 that American constitutional democracy as we know it will collapse because it creates too many pressure points, inherently creates gridlock, and often runs against policy making even when there’s popular will. Obviously, a lot has happened since then. Today, the judiciary and executive branches are stronger than the legislative. Rich Lowry notes the plasticicity of the system, built around tensions and competing centers of power, which allows for such swings.

Liz Bruenig says the shear difficulty of making any change to the Constitution is itself a pressure point. And what about states? Why haven’t we seen states experimenting with something other than the presidential-style government?

Then Michael Brendan Dougherty joins the panel to discuss his memoir My Father Left Me Ireland and themes of nationalism, homeland and identity.




Sara Fay