What Is a Plural Executive System of Government?

According to the University of Texas at Austin, a plural executive system of government limits the power of the executive, which could be a president or governor, by distributing power across several elected leaders. The other elected officials are not required to answer to the executive. This protects the executive from abusing power.

There are pros and cons to this system. Historically, state governors were known for abusing their power when appointing friends to political positions or handing them out as favors they would call upon later. This is why many states switched to the plural executive form of government. The president of the United States still has a cabinet of appointed officials, but most states have changed to elected officials. A major drawback to this form is that it lacks cohesion, leading to political officials chasing after many different goals. The governor has much less power to lead the group in any unified direction. Also, while voting prevents governor bias, voters do not always elect the most qualified officials. In Texas, the only executive official appointed by the governor is the Secretary of State. The other executive officials, who run on their own, are the Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Commissioner of Agriculture, Elected Boards and Commissions, Railroad Commission, State Board of Education, Appointed Agency Directors and Appointed and Ex-Officio Boards and Commissions. All of these political officials must be elected on their own, and they must defend their positions on their own.