The Framers [of the Constitution] were cynical about the future of democracy. They studied failed democracies like Greece and Rome. They read Demosthenes. They designed a Constitution on the assumption that democracy might well deteriorate into demagoguery, and they created these complicated systems in order to filter the will of the people from being directly expressed. So all of these new media technologies – the idea of presidents tweeting directly to the people would’ve appalled [James] Madison, who thought direct communication between representatives and the people was the main potential source of tyranny, to be avoided. All of these filtering mechanisms are being undermined by technology, by reforms over the years, by the growing populist forces that are sweeping the world, and maintaining these Madisonian values in the face of these populist forces is something that liberals and conservatives increasingly should converge around.
Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center, with Terry Gross