Turning the vice presidency back over to the people will make our government work more effectively. The Constitution gives the vice president the opportunity to do two things: deliver a solution in the Senate when it is evenly divided on legislative matters, and use his or her influence to build bridges between the executive and legislative branches. These powers lose their constitutional meaning when the vice president is just another faux presidential appointee, beholden to the White House for any semblance of relevancy or power. It will always be in the self-interest of the parties and the presidential nominees to control this office. But it isn’t their right. It is ours.

If we infuse the vice presidency with the will of the people, then everything changes. All of a sudden, the vice president has a democratic mandate to fulfill the office’s constitutional requirements.

Imagine an independently elected vice president acting as a domestic diplomat, shuttling between the White House and Capitol Hill to head off a shutdown. Imagine a vice president using the tie-breaking vote as a platform to negotiate legislation that advances the nation’s collective interests, instead of serving as a presidential proxy. These roles may be hard to imagine if Pence is your model, but not if you carefully read the Constitution. The vice president, constitutionally, does not serve at the president’s behest; this is why no matter what Pence does or doesn’t do, President Trump cannot fire him from the office.