The idea of an elective head of state for the American chief executive, in its conception, was virtually without precedent. The idea of an American dual presidency, split between domestic and foreign arenas is itself without precedent. A dual presidency would suit America well due to the pressures of the office of President of the United States. As Commander-in-Chief, the President bears incredible pressures and responsibilities. The President not only has power in the United States, but also tremendous influence throughout the world. It is not arrogant to change the presidency in order to manage America's vast interests all over the globe. The US is certainly not isolationistic anymore, so creating an office for a foreign affairs executive is simply realistic. Thus, the President is not only torn between domestic and foreign responsibilities, but s/he must find time to campaign. A dual presidency with a domestic and foreign leader could divide these campaigning duties. In addition, a dual presidency is better adapted to handle simultaneous crises. A dual presidency is a modern day answer to the realities of the American presidency.
Essentially, the idea of a dual executive is rooted in the concept of a plural
executive. Back in the time of the writing of the Constitution, some anti-federalists wanted a weak executive. This weak executive was called a plural executive or an executive council. (Storing 49) The purpose of such a plural executive was not only to weaken the executive, but also to prevent a monarchy from ruling. In fact, an anti-federalist named Randolph opposed an executive-of-one so much that he believed it to be the "foetus (fetus) of the monarchy."(Storing 93) Yet today the threat of monarchy is laughable.
The proposed dual executive has no intentions of weakening that branch. Rather, a dual executive makes the branch more efficient, focused, and in touch.
'Plural' is not a fitting term for the dual executive. This is because a plural executive implies several office holders, or a committee. The more people, the more chaos and disunity occurs.
In the 70th chapter of The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton made a case for an executive with a great deal of unity. If power was concentrated in a single chief magistrate, then the branch would be more cohesive. Hamilton relied on the failures of plural executive in the history of Rome and Greece to make a case against executive councils.
Some may argue that by dividing the executive office, it saps the energy and vigor required of the job. Inversely, it can be argued that the President has so much to do that his energy is weakened by simply being spread too thin. The latter is true since America is such an
incredible world power. When Hamilton was writing against a plural executive, he never could have predicted America's role in the world.
An example of what this dual executive is not, is Uruguay's multi-member presidency. From 1918 to 1933 the directly elected nine-member National Council of
Administration shared executive power with the President. The Council took care of domestic affairs. Note that there is a divide between domestic and foreign duties.
Such a presidency was intended to be more representative, but simply made the government more fragmented. Within time, Uruguay's multi-member presidency fell to a dictator because it was an ineffectual entity. There were simply too many members. That is why this dual presidency is composed of only two members of the same party who would run together, and rule together.
The proposed dual presidency is quite united. The job of the President has expanded, and so should the office. A dual presidency should be thought of as an extension of the single presidency.
These two leaders would run together in elections under the same party. Both would have the same four year terms, with two term limits. The idea is that the presidency is still one entity. It is the same job as a single executive, but the responsibility is thinned out. Each bill, treaty, or appointment would be approved by both Presidents. Some bills, treaties, and
appointments could affect both Presidents, which is why dual approval is necessary. Such
precautions must be taken to maintain unity in the executive branch.
Both the domestic and the executive President would choose a vice-president. Essentially four people would end up running under one party. Other than that, the presidential election process would remain the same.
Meanwhile, the impeachment process should apply only to the individual offender. One President cannot help it if the other committed an impeachable offense.
The other should not be punished for it. The vice-president for the person who was impeached would fill the office in that situation. After the vice-president, the succession process would remain the same.
The foreign affairs President would be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces in actions abroad. Yet, the domestic President could use the armed forces on American soil for natural disaster relief, or whatever else it is used for today. In addition, the Presidents would also have the power to grant reprieves and pardons. Both actions are subject to dual approval.
When disputes arise between the two Presidents, the issue would be formally put in writing. The issue could then be put before a two-thirds house vote for approval. The house would be the Presidential mediator. In the oath of office, the Presidents should be reminded that they are not supposed to be working against each other, but working together.
Both Presidents would give a State of the Union address. The domestic address would be more of a summary of the state of the Union. Meanwhile the foreign address would be about the state of the Union in relation to the rest of the world.
The foreign President would receive ambassadors and other public ministers. Meanwhile the domestic President would be to meet with state Governors, members
of Congress, and so forth. Any situations that fall in between those two categories should be addressed by both Presidents.
One special power the domestic President would have would be that of nominating judges to the Supreme Court. The foreign President's approval would not be necessary. Thus, the final approval for the judges would be carried out the traditional way.
The cabinet would be divided along presidential lines, and would be appointed by the corresponding President. The domestic President would need the Attorney-General , Postmaster-General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Labor. The foreign President would need the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce. Both would share the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and other Secretaries as needed.
One beneficial aspect of having a dual presidency is that it may take some of the media's scrutiny off the office. In other words, it may displace the blame. Yet, by breaking up the focus, the personality and charisma of a President would become less of an issue. It must be kept in mind that this is just speculation.
In conclusion, turning the presidency into two halves of a whole would alleviate some of the vast responsibilities of being leader of the world's largest superpower. Hamilton was right that the executive needs unity. Yet unlike Hamilton's views, the presidency can be divided, and kept a harmonious body.