Dr. William Howell is the Chair of the Political Science Department at The University of Chicago and a scholar of the American presidency. He studies not presidents, but the structure and powers of the presidency itself, as well as how those powers have been twisted and reshaped by the many individuals to have held the office.
Join us in this episode as we zoom out to ask exactly what kind of power an American President has, how Dr. Howell is proposing we alter the division of powers to better fit the incentives of various elected officials, and whether it’s time for a Constitutional rewrite! We also touch on the hot-button topics of who the American media is beholden to, why we’ve gotten so politically polarized, and what the debate over free speech on college campuses is missing out on.
A big thanks to Dr. Howell for letting me come by his office to record this episode! Some key links include:
- His University of Chicago profile page
- His recent appearance on UChicago’s Big Brains podcast which we reference
- His 2016 co-authored book Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government – and Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency along with his other publications
- Slate Star Codex – The Toxoplasma of Rage