In a recent paper, Chris Berry and I analyze what we call the unbundled executive: a plural executive regime in which discrete authority is taken from the President and given exclusively to a directly elected executive official. Imagine a directly elected War Executive, Education Executive or Agriculture Executive. We show that the standard arguments used to justify a single executive in the United States actually justify a specific type of plural executive, not the single executive structure favored in Article II.
Suppose there is only one single elected executive who has responsibility for all j policy dimensions in a jurisdiction. Elections require voters to make a single elect-reject decision. Because of the crudeness of the electoral sanction, it is a weak way for voters to control the single executive on any particular policy dimension. Voters must make a decision on a bundle of policy dimensions. As a result, the official can enact special interest-friendly policies or their personal preferences on some dimensions, as long as she enacts voter-friendly policies on a sufficient number of dimensions to secure reelection. Instead of electing one executive to oversee all policy dimensions, suppose a jurisdiction elects several executives each of whom is exclusively and exhaustively responsible for one dimension. In this unbundled regime, citizens need not aggregate judgments across multiple policy issues at election time. An executive who enacts an interest-group-friendly policy in her single domain will not be able to placate voters with voter-friendly policies on other issues.