Form a Model White House Cabinet Like Model UN
Form a Model White House Cabinet Like Model UN
Why this petition matters
Around the world, “Model United Nations” programs composed of high school and college students gather to debate various issues in international diplomacy. These civic-minded students often come up with excellent ideas that the actual UN should take under serious consideration. Young minds should be taken more seriously, but what about our most respected and accomplished adults?
Model institutions like “Model UN” should be formed with unofficial representatives comprised of the brightest adult minds in any given constituency to mimic official institutions. But the first institution we should try modeling is the White House Cabinet. At a time of crippling polarization, partisan gridlock, and mounting threats from abroad, there is arguably no institution in America in greater need of the carefully considered advice a "Model Cabinet" can provide.
In fact, the United Kingdom’s “shadow cabinet” provides a similar public service and is known officially as “Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition”. Similarly, a "Model Cabinet" should be formed to shadow or “mirror” the actual White House cabinet of any administration now and in the future. That is, for every official Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, and so on, an unofficial "model secretary" exists to provide an alternative way forward. Not a formal government entity with the power to enact policy, but something akin to a citizens' brain trust peopled by America's leading lights.
These model officials, including a model president and vice president, could put forth domestic and foreign policy proposals through whichever medium they choose. Op-eds in newspapers and formal press conferences, yes, but also podcasts and Reddit-style “AMAs”. Americans can tune in to hear exactly what kind of government they could have if a future candidate were to adopt policies from the Model Cabinet. Imagine it like a form of debate, but instead of "gotcha" questions and commercial breaks, it's ongoing, nuanced, transparent, and non-partisan. Pollsters could even determine the level of support for various Model Cabinet ideas among the electorate, vanquishing the need for party backing of good ideas.
A Model Cabinet would have the added benefit of making US policy more predictable and consistent. Four-year presidential terms and a deeply divided electorate amounts to sudden, disorienting policy swings that give pause not only to Americans making plans in their personal and professional endeavors, but to foreign allies and adversaries alike who have grown weary at the lack of a consistent message from the American government and have become less friendly and more erratic in response.
America’s public intellectuals are more accessible than ever. They’re on social media and your favorite podcast, they publish e-books and do in-person meetups with their followers. Not all of them want to run for public office, but we should still be getting their input. Benjamin Franklin, another unelected but influential public intellectual, served such a purpose.
It has never been easier to fill a Model Cabinet with America’s best and brightest. And now more than ever, Americans require fresh ideas from outside the halls of power and unbeholden to special interests.
What's missing is a proper venue for everyday Americans to hear new ideas and debate their merits without interruption, which is a problem at least partially solved by the Model Cabinet.
In the interest of promoting peace and prosperity not just for Americans but the wider world, it seems like only common sense to form such a group. America's Model Cabinet should be dedicated full-time, just like the official White House Cabinet, to offering alternatives to any official legislative proposals or statements of policy, as in the UK.
There is one key difference for the Model Cabinet, though. In order to preserve its essential independence, it should be made up entirely of political independents who do not currently hold public office but who have demonstrated the intellect and sense of integrity deserving of such a role.
By signing your name to this petition, you affirm your wish to see a Model Cabinet formed at the earliest possible date so that America can get back to debating big ideas and modeling the kind of behavior we expect of our representatives in high office.
In the year 2026, we’ll celebrate 250 years together as a nation. Text, tweet, post, and email this petition to friends and family to secure the next 250.
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