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Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:34 AM

Democratic Reforms Held Hostage To Absurd Amendment Process

If we ever are to make common sense democratic reforms to our federal system... it has to be done by amendment. Yet the absurdity of this process rarely is examined. I'll be using approximate numbers in the following...

To get a proposed amendment out of Congress it has to be approved by 2/3 of both houses. Leaving aside gerrymandering in the House, in the Senate, 18% of the US population gets 52% of the seats. Regardless of what the House does, any amendment can be blocked in the Senate by states with less than 15% of the US population.

Once a proposed amendment gets to the states where 3/4 approval is needed... it can be blocked by states with as little as 4% of the population yet ratified by states with 40% of the population.

But here's where it gets even nuttier... these numbers assume unanimous approval in those states... but chances are there won't be. So assuming a 49-51% split of opinion in each state... amendments may actually be blocked by 2% of the population yet ratified by between as little as 20% of the population (by this I mean their representatives).

Given the hurdles, does it come, then, as any surprise that not ONE of the core antidemocratic features of the federal system has ever been amended away?

68 replies, 4078 views

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Reply Democratic Reforms Held Hostage To Absurd Amendment Process (Original post)
eniwetok Dec 2016 OP
metroins Dec 2016 #1
eniwetok Dec 2016 #2
metroins Dec 2016 #9
eniwetok Dec 2016 #10
Kilgore Dec 2016 #4
eniwetok Dec 2016 #8
Kilgore Dec 2016 #3
eniwetok Dec 2016 #6
Kilgore Dec 2016 #20
Calista241 Dec 2016 #26
eniwetok Dec 2016 #32
eniwetok Jan 2017 #66
meow2u3 Dec 2016 #5
eniwetok Dec 2016 #7
meow2u3 Dec 2016 #12
eniwetok Jan 2017 #67
meow2u3 Jan 2017 #68
eniwetok Dec 2016 #11
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #13
eniwetok Dec 2016 #17
onenote Dec 2016 #44
eniwetok Dec 2016 #45
PoliticAverse Dec 2016 #54
eniwetok Dec 2016 #57
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #14
eniwetok Dec 2016 #21
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #15
eniwetok Dec 2016 #22
eniwetok Dec 2016 #25
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #16
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #18
eniwetok Dec 2016 #24
Jose Garcia Dec 2016 #19
eniwetok Dec 2016 #23
MineralMan Dec 2016 #27
eniwetok Dec 2016 #28
MineralMan Dec 2016 #30
eniwetok Dec 2016 #34
tblue37 Dec 2016 #39
eniwetok Dec 2016 #48
csziggy Dec 2016 #55
MineralMan Dec 2016 #56
former9thward Dec 2016 #29
eniwetok Dec 2016 #31
former9thward Dec 2016 #33
eniwetok Dec 2016 #35
eniwetok Dec 2016 #36
eniwetok Dec 2016 #49
LanternWaste Dec 2016 #37
former9thward Dec 2016 #38
ProfessorGAC Dec 2016 #40
former9thward Dec 2016 #41
ProfessorGAC Dec 2016 #43
eniwetok Dec 2016 #46
eniwetok Dec 2016 #52
kudzu22 Dec 2016 #42
eniwetok Dec 2016 #47
WillowTree Dec 2016 #58
eniwetok Dec 2016 #63
WillowTree Dec 2016 #64
eniwetok Dec 2016 #65
libtodeath Dec 2016 #50
eniwetok Dec 2016 #51
eniwetok Dec 2016 #53
dumbcat Dec 2016 #59
eniwetok Dec 2016 #60
dumbcat Dec 2016 #61
eniwetok Dec 2016 #62

Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:41 AM

1. We need more rural voters

It's difficult to get those voters by pushing gun control and even more difficult without lying to them like we'll bring back manufacturing.

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Response to metroins (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:45 AM

2. not sure where the connection is...

Getting more rural voters is a political tactic. I'm raising the topic of how reform proof our federal system is.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 12:03 PM

9. It's only reform proof right now

Because of the political divide and where our population centers are.

In the future, politics MIGHT not be so divided and more population MIGHT move inland.

So, at this moment it feels reform proof, but when things change it won't be as much.

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Response to metroins (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 12:06 PM

10. so you want to game the system

So you want to game the system and hope massive population swings might make it possible to fix it?

Your core assumption is we have a system that can't be reformed by any commonsense method... therefore we must adjust to, and game, a dysfunctional system... instead of having a system that adjusts to people.

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Response to metroins (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:49 AM

4. I agree

Watched as my county, historically blue, go red over very few issues.

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Response to Kilgore (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 12:02 PM

8. I don't buy into the red/blue model

Let's never forget that in the US voting rates are so abyssal only 35% of the voting age population votes in off-year elections... and only 50-55% during presidential elections. There is a vast reserve of potential people we're never hearing from... and from which new coalitions can be built if the issues resonate. But I suspect apathy is so high in the US because the electoral system doesn't offer enough choices and the political system is unresponsive. What are potential voters to think when elections can be such a farce when someone REJECTED by the voters "wins" because of a mindless, antidemocratic vote weighting formula called the EC? I dare say as many will be moved to action as disgusted and stop voting.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:47 AM

3. But it has been amended 27 times since written

So its not impossible.

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Response to Kilgore (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:55 AM

6. where did I say it was impossible?

I wrote: "Given the hurdles, does it come, then, as any surprise that not ONE of the core antidemocratic features of the federal system has ever been amended away?"

And let's not forget the first 10 don't count since it's what states demanded as a condition of ratification. Here's an interesting breakdown of all of them...

http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-those-27-amendments-prove-we-can.html'

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:28 PM

20. Fair enough

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 02:19 PM

26. That is demonstrably not true.

The 15th, 19th and 26th amendments all removed barriers to voting rights. How is that not "amending antidemocratic features" of the constitution?

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #26)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:16 PM

32. Voting alone doesn't make a system democratic: REPRESENTATION DOES.

Expanding voting is desirable... but alone it doesn't make a system democratic. REPRESENTATION DOES. One person one vote is somewhat meaningless if all votes aren't equal in terms of representation

With or without those amendments... would that have changed the antidemocratic EC allotment system, or that 18% of the US population gets 52% of the seats in the Senate, or that states with a mere 4% of the US population can block any amendment?

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 02:54 PM

66. just wondering why you fled the thread?

I responded to your point...

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:54 AM

5. We need a 10th Amendment solution to amending the Constitution

Namely, allowing a 3/5 supermajority popular vote after a 2/3 majority approval in both houses. It's about time the Federal government and the state trust the people as a whole and I don't trust the state legislatures anymore.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:57 AM

7. we have to eliminate the bottlenecks...

The Senate is one bottleneck we need to work on... unless we weight the votes of Senators by the population they represent.

But I agree... amendments should be put to a popular vote. Which is not to say they should be easy. I'm thinking 2/3 vote for two consecutive presidential election years.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 12:23 PM

12. I'm thinking in terms of the way state constitutional amendments are passed

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 02:55 PM

67. you lost me n/t

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #67)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 03:02 PM

68. It's also confusing to me n/t

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 12:23 PM

11. the people can't learn...

Our federal system is largely built on the idea of wise elites having a veto over the dumb people. If we believe Hamilton in Federalist 68, that IS the idea behind the EC.

But the problems here are there is no internal check on these elites if they become corrupted, and the people learn NOTHING if their choice for a president is stolen from them and a usurper is installed by the EC.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:23 PM

13. The 17th amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:25 PM

17. hardly

The 17th just changed how Senators are elected. If the 17th were never passed we'd STILL have 18% of the US population getting 52% of the seats in Senate as we do now with that amendment.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:52 PM

44. It changed it by making the election of Senators more democratic.

I suspect your problem is that you see the Senate as an un-democratic institution because it gives equal representation to the states.

And that grows from your general opposition to the notion that the United States is, well, a collection of states with their own jurisdiction and powers, who have come together to form a union.

The United States isn't going to stop being a collection of states anytime soon. No state would voluntarily support giving up its individual scope of authority.

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Response to onenote (Reply #44)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 02:37 PM

45. I'm not slavish to 1787 politics

Leaving aside that 36 of those states were never "sovereign" (I'm throwing in TX with the original 13) just what is sovereignty? Why do you believe it's etched in stone?

In republican political theory the PEOPLE are the sovereigns... government is their creation to be molded to suit their needs... and government derives its JUST powers from the CONSENT of the governed.

So, yes... states have no will not expressed by living PEOPLE. And therefore a state with 500,000 people should NEVER have the voting power as a state with 35 million.

I look at how each sovereign PERSON is represented... and once we do, the laughable pretenses that justify state suffrage becomes painfully obvious. But if you want to live under a system that can create tyrannies of the minority... it's your right. I have more respect for myself.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #45)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 04:44 PM

54. 'I have more respect for myself.' - apparently you don't as you appear to voluntarily live in one...

you so describe.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 12:38 PM

57. was there a point hidden in...

Was there supposed to be a point hidden in your drive-by post?

But if you're defending the Senate as somehow "democratic", then perhaps you might want to explain to us what democratic means to you.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:24 PM

14. The 19th amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:32 PM

21. it's clear you're not thinking this through

expanding voting rights on the state level DOES NOT make the federal system more democratic.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:24 PM

15. The 26th amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:35 PM

22. wrong again

The 26th just allowed 18 year olds to vote. If the 26th were never passed we'd STILL have 18% of the US population getting 52% of the seats in Senate as we do now with that amendment.

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:42 PM

25. the breakdown already covers all your "examples"

This breakdown already covers all your examples...

http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-those-27-amendments-prove-we-can.html

So why are you just reposting... and misrepresenting, what I already posted?

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:25 PM

16. The 24th amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:26 PM

18. The 23rd amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:39 PM

24. wrong again

The 23 expanded presidential voting rights to the people in DC. If the 23th were never passed we'd STILL have 18% of the US population getting 52% of the seats in Senate as we do now with that amendment.

You really need to reconsider what antidemocratic means... it means a tyranny of the minority

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:27 PM

19. The 15th amendment got rid of an undemocratic feature

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Response to Jose Garcia (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 01:36 PM

23. wrong again

The 15th just eliminated barriers to voting. If the 15th were never passed we'd STILL have 18% of the US population getting 52% of the seats in Senate as we do now with that amendment.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 02:26 PM

27. Amending the Constitution is very deliberately difficult.

That's by design. At times, that difficulty seems unfair. At other times, however, it has saved us from some disastrous situations.

It should be difficult to amend the Constitution. If it were not, the document would not have the value it has.

Always keep in mind that amendments are not necessarily proposed by people with progressive ideas. Right now, we're looking at a federal government where all three branches will be controlled by Republicans.

It's good that it's difficult to amend the Constitution in times like the ones we're facing.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 02:35 PM

28. I have NO problems with making amendments diffucult

Sure, amendments should be well considered, have popular support, and that should support must be constant over some period of time. What we ALL should object to is a process that is so antidemocratic it makes serious reforms impossible... a process that allows ultra tiny minorities to hold the process hostage... and is so poorly thought out it can allow for amendments that were only approved my a MINORITY of Americans.

And yes, we have to worry about the GOP holding the presidency and Congress. BUT WOULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED IF WE HAD A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM? I haven't done a recent popular vote total of the Senate... but we KNOW Trump would never be president in a democratic system.

So we can use the fact that the GOP has power through antidemocratic means to stop us from moving on reforms... because the trends against future reforms are there... growing corporate power and an increased population differential between big and small states.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #28)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 02:48 PM

30. Yes. It's far from a perfect system. No question.

I don't actually have an answer to the problem. Just a warning that we must be very, very careful in what we propose. Often, things end up backfiring that sounded good at some point. In fact the Prohibition amendment is just one such thing. It had to be repealed with an amendment, something that should have been obvious before the original amendment was adopted.

I can think of a number of constitutional amendments that Republicans might propose that would destroy the very nature of this country. And some such have been proposed, in fact, in the past. I can also use the example of the ERA as an amendment that should have been ratified by the states, but was not. In the case of Prohibition, an amendment was so ratified, and turned out to be a disaster. The ERA, which would have been a good change, was not ratified. The difficulty of amending the constitution has its faults, there's no question.

Some would like to see the Constitution thrown out and a new one created. That's another bad idea, if you think about how this most recent election went. The Constitution is what provides stability to some degree to a very diverse, very fractured group of individual states. We mess with it at our peril, in my opinion.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:26 PM

34. and yet if it's not reformed...

And yet if it's not reformed, as the Bush and Trump Juntas prove... it will destroy the very credibility of the system itself. Of course it will survive. We can have voting rates of 10% and the system will continue to function.

Here's my take... runaway corporate power and grotesque wealth inequality... are the RESULT of an antidemocratic, federal system. It doesn't take much in our system for money to take over because there are so many bottlenecks where reform can be blocked... such as the Senate and the amendment process. We should expect this from a system that was built on class warfare... with the rich getting the Senate. (Madison's minority of the opulent) and elites being given a veto over the People at every turn.

To perpetuate an antidemocratic system has two major risks... one, a runaway right wing agenda made possible because the EC installed Trump... and 2, a system that continues to get more antidemocratic because of population differentials between the smallest and largest states.

Libs fear change, yet without it... that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:07 PM

39. The GOP would pass an anti-flag burning amendment if they could streamline the process,

and pusillanimous Democrats, terrified of being smeared as unpatriotic, would go along with it, just as they went along with the IWR for the same reason.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #39)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 03:28 PM

48. can't agree...

Currently an amendment can pass with states with as little as 40% of the population... which means, perhaps, 51% of voters if there's a direct referendum. So depending on how the states and the votes align... that could be as little as 20% of the population. That's much easier than if an amendment has to go to a national popular and get a super majority of 66% over two presidential election cycles.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 07:53 PM

55. I believe there is more danger than hope in the idea of constitutional reform

There is a big move in right wing circles for the Republican controlled states to call for an Article V Convention to re-write the Constitution or at the very least propose a number of extreme amendments. If two thirds of the states - currently 34 states - call for a convention one can be held.

2010s

In the 2010s, a variety of groups have formed with the goal of convening a constitutional convention. Modern day opponents of efforts to call a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution have included the conservative John Birch Society and the liberal business magnate and political donor George Soros.[51]

Wolf PAC

A political action committee called Wolf PAC emerged from New York's Occupy Wall Street movement in October 2011. Wolf PAC calls for a convention of states in order to propose a constitutional amendment that would ban corporations and unions from spending money on elections, and institute a system of public financing.[52][53]

As of June 2016, Wolf PAC's application had been passed in five states: Vermont, Illinois, California, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

Balanced budget amendment

On November 20, 2013, the Ohio General Assembly applied to Congress for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. This effort made Ohio the 20th state to join a push for a national convention of states.[54]

On March 26, 2014, the Michigan Legislature applied to Congress for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment, making Michigan the 22nd to participate in the national effort.[55]

On April 27, 2016, the Oklahoma Senate approved an Article V convention on a balanced budget amendment, making Oklahoma the 29th state to participate in the national effort.[56]

Citizens for Self-Governance

A group called Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) is actively engaged in an effort to call an Article V Convention. Through an initiative called Convention of States, CSG is seeking "to urge and empower state legislators to call a convention of states." CSG states that it initiated the Convention of States project "for the purpose of stopping the runaway power of the federal government."[57][58][59][60][61] Mark Levin has supported CSG's efforts to a call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the constitution.[61]

In December 2013, nearly 100 legislators from 32 states met at Mount Vernon to talk about how to call a convention of states. According to Slate, "The meeting lasted four hours, ending when legislators agreed to meet again in the spring of 2014. That’s the most progress anyone’s made in decades toward a states-first constitutional amendment campaign."[61]

In February 2014, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn announced that after his retirement from Congress, he would focus on promoting the Convention of States to state legislatures.[62] In December 2015, Marco Rubio endorsed CSG's efforts to a call an Article V Convention.[61][63] In January 2016, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for a Convention of States to restrict the power of the federal government.

As of 2016, CSG's application for a Convention of States has been passed in eight states: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

In September 2016, CSG held a simulated convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution in Williamsburg, Virginia.[64] An assembly of 137 delegates representing every state gathered to conduct a simulated convention.[65] The simulated convention passed amendments relating to six topics, including requiring the states to approve any increase in the national debt, imposing term limits, limiting the Commerce Clause to its original meaning, limiting the power of federal regulations, requiring a supermajority to impose federal taxes and repealing the 16th Amendment, and giving the states the power to abrogate any federal law, regulation, or executive order.[66]

Single Subject Amendment
A Super PAC called Single Subject Amendment registered with the Federal Election Commission on March 1, 2013. It is actively engaged in an effort to call an Article V Convention for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to provide every law enacted by Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be clearly expressed in the bill's title.[67][68][69] Forty-one state constitutions have a single subject provision but this provision is not in the United States Constitution. In April 2014, Florida became the first state to make an application for an Article V Convention to constitutionally prohibit unrelated riders in Congress.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_to_propose_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution#2010s


In my opinion at this point in history any effort to amend the Constitution would be controlled by right wing extremists and the country would be severely damaged by the results.

ETA - I used Wikipedia for a source. When researching the movement towards a Constitutional Convention I found a lot of right wing site which I do not want to link to. Wikipedia has a synopsis of the most successful of the ideas being pushed.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #55)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 08:34 PM

56. Yes. That is the risk, which is why

I cringe every time the idea is proposed here. I want it to be very hard to amend the Constitution, just for times like these, when Republicans are in control of federal government and so many state legislatures.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 02:41 PM

29. Maybe you have not read the 27 amendments.

Many of them have "amended away core antidemocratic features of the federal system". Leaving aside the first 10, the Bill of Rights, the 13th eliminated slavery, 14th equal protection under the law, 15th right to vote of any race, 17th direct election of Senators, 19th right of women to vote, 22nd term limits for president, 23rd right of D.C. residents to vote, 24th elimination of poll taxes, and 26th right of 18 year olds to vote.

So the system is not "nutty" at all. It should be difficult to amend the Constitution unless there is a broad consensus of the country. That is why we have had a stable government for almost 230 years vs the chaos of most of the world during that same time period.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:12 PM

31. OF COURSE I READ THEM!

And NO, as shown in my analysis at http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-those-27-amendments-prove-we-can.html NONE of the amendments actually deal with the core issue of state suffrage... and whenever state suffrage is involved, that AUTOMATICALLY makes that body or function antidemocratic in the sense that states with a MINORITY of the population can prevail.

And pray tell, where did I ever say an amendment should be EASY to pass. I was quite specific about that in #28

28. I have NO problems with making amendments difficult
Sure, amendments should be well considered, have popular support, and that should support must be constant over some period of time. What we ALL should object to is a process that is so antidemocratic it makes serious reforms impossible... a process that allows ultra tiny minorities to hold the process hostage... and is so poorly thought out it can allow for amendments that were only approved my a MINORITY of Americans.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #31)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:26 PM

33. It is clear you have your own personal definition

of amending undemocratic features of the federal system. I don't think any of the replies in the thread agree with you.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #33)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:33 PM

35. pray tell... what IS democracy?

Shall I break it down to the root words? Or can you do 30 seconds of research on your own?

And yes, I happened to believe in a deeper principle the nation was founded on... that government derives its JUST powers from the CONSENT of the governed.

So what are we to make of the moral legitimacy of government powers when we have a president who was REJECTED by the People?

What you seem to believe is fine on the federal level is ILLEGAL in all state and municipal elections. Democracy... is largely meaningless if all we have is one person, one vote... but votes don't weigh the same.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #33)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:39 PM

36. and sorry.... it's not my "personal definition"

There are supreme court cases making such vote weighting/dilution schemes ILLEGAL on the state and municipal levels. Here's one of the more important decisions from the 60s

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/377/533.html


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Response to former9thward (Reply #33)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 03:37 PM

49. outstanding issues you haven't responded to...

Who cares if anyone else agrees with me? How is that relevant to anything.

So are you going to explain how any of those amendments made the Constitution more democratic... even if none changed any of the antidemocratic formulas.


Are you going to respond to fact the Constitution COULD be amended democratically... and STILL be difficult to amend. It ain't rocket science.

And you seem to believe that I have my own personal definition of democracy... even though all the cities and state MUST ADHERE to the one person, one vote, and all votes weigh the same standard.

Are you going to come back and respond to this issue?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:39 PM

37. It's fun to pretend someone holding a premise different than our own does so out of ignorance.

It's fun to imply someone holding a premise different than our own does so out of ignorance.

It certainly allows us to feel more clever about ourselves; and that, rather than substantive or constructive dialog is the obvious end-goal for far too many people.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #37)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 03:42 PM

38. I guess you have not read all the replies by the OP to others in the thread.

He/she does far more than "imply" that someone holding a premise different than his/her is out of ignorance.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #38)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:23 PM

40. I Read It As LW Sticking Up For You

Maybe i read it wrong.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #40)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:28 PM

41. Maybe since various posts have double negatives, incuding mine,

maybe I read it wrong also. But if LW ever stuck up for me it would be a first.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #41)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:46 PM

43. I Still Sense The Chicago In You!

Have a good evening.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #38)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 02:47 PM

46. no... I believe it's adherence to the Civic Religion

no... I believe it's adherence to the Civic Religion. And yes, if one buys into the 1787 rationale for the federal system with all its contemptible compromises.... it makes perfect sense that "states" deserve suffrage regardless of how antidemocratic it is. And if these compromises were not made... the Constitution might not be ratified. But the Constitution was written under duress. The Articles were failing and essentially reformproof by its own rules. We'd not form this system today. But Madison was clear he wanted the Constitution to be difficult to reform so it would engender what I call a Civic Religion around it. But the problem is this state based amendment formula has made the Constitution virtually reform proof except for minor tweaks.

The simple fact is that the system becoming more and more antidemocratic... leading to more morally illegitimate government. Our very system is making a mockery of the very concept of self government. And if Dems don't realize this... then no one will... and we should expect even more Bush and Trump Juntas in our future who will continue to put those last nails in the coffin of what Dems CLAIM to value.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #38)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 04:17 PM

52. sorry if you're STILL not grasping what the discussion is about.

You seem determined to say letting more people vote somehow makes the system more democratic. It increases democratic participation BUT NONE OF THOSE AMENDMENTS MADE THE SYSTEM MORE DEMOCRATIC. Even if each and every person... regardless of age or citizenship could vote... WY would still get two senators for 600k people and CA two for its 35 million. It would not change the EC or the amendment system.

That you think black is white... that ANTI-democracy = democracy is quite Orwellian.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Wed Dec 21, 2016, 04:35 PM

42. Let's stop and think about this for a minute

How easy should it be to make amendments? Majority in both houses of Congress and majority of the states? Right now the GOP has majorities in both houses, and they control the governor and state legislature in 25 states. If you want to make it easier to amend the constitution, the Trump-led GOP could start ramming through any amendment they like starting January 20th. They could raise the voting age to 50. They could go back to just land-owners voting. They could give corporations direct representation in Congress.

The constitution is very hard to amend and I like it that way.

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Response to kudzu22 (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 03:11 PM

47. perhaps if you read the thread..

You're somehow making it sound as if I want an easy amendment process. No. I want a DEMOCRATIC process based on how PEOPLE vote... not states.

eniwetok (576 posts)
28. I have NO problems with making amendments difficult

Sure, amendments should be well considered, have popular support, and that should support must be constant over some period of time. What we ALL should object to is a process that is so antidemocratic it makes serious reforms impossible... a process that allows ultra tiny minorities to hold the process hostage... and is so poorly thought out it can allow for amendments that were only approved my a MINORITY of Americans.

And yes, we have to worry about the GOP holding the presidency and Congress. BUT WOULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED IF WE HAD A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM? I haven't done a recent popular vote total of the Senate... but we KNOW Trump would never be president in a democratic system.

So we can use the fact that the GOP has power through antidemocratic means to stop us from moving on reforms... because the trends against future reforms are there... growing corporate power and an increased population differential between big and small states.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #47)

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 12:45 PM

58. But we're not a democracy as formed. We're a republic made up of states.

I think that's where you're getting hung up.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #58)

Sun Dec 25, 2016, 01:03 AM

63. Show me where a "republic" MUST be antidemocratic...

It's rather amazing how many... left and right, resort to the old "we're not a democracy, we're a republic"... as if being a "republic" means we MUST have an antidemocratic system. In the generic sense at the time a republic was a system that banned royalty, had a written constitution and representative government. As the Declaration of Independence says...

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


So democratic principles are also inherent in a republic. And our system does have majority and supermajority rules all through out. The problem is that when states have suffrage, the system becomes antidemocratic in how PEOPLE are represented. And whenever there are vote weighting/dilution schemes as we have... then there can be a tyranny of the minority as the Bush and Trump Junta's prove.

Our system violates the very standard for morally legitimate government based on the consent of the governed. One MIGHT think that of anyone in the nation, liberal Dems would understand this... especially since these vote weighting/dilutions schemes were made ILLEGAL at the state and municiple level.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #63)

Sun Dec 25, 2016, 02:08 AM

64. It's not that I and others don't understand what you're saying.

It's just that what you're saying that you want is not what's provided for in our governing document. And it's going to be right difficult to pass an amendment that will fit that vision.

I'm not unsympathetic, I'm just a realist and have too many back problems to go tilting at windmills.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #64)

Sun Dec 25, 2016, 09:21 PM

65. here's the problem as I see it...

It's odd that I was able to dispense with religion back when I was in highschool... and yet even as someone who was politically active in the 60's and 70s... and was even a polisci major, it wasn't until I was in my mid 40's that I was able to break free of that Civic Religion that protects the Constitution from real scrutiny. And once that happened, one can't put their head back in the sand again.

The system has strengths but it is also broken and responsible for many of our problems such as runaway corporate power and grotesque wealth inequality. What should we expect from a system that's antidemocratic, was based on class warfare (Madison's minority of the opulent) and designed to give wise elites a veto over the people at every turn? The system has no internal safeguards against the corruption of those elites, or against certain state suffrage formulas getting absurdly antidemocratic. I don't feel this connection gets enough study... and it seems off limits to even liberal think tanks. Not even a Bernie Sanders makes this connection and as we see here at DU... some just reject democratic principles in favor of that Civic Religion.

Demographic changes are making the system more antidemocratic and therefore more reformproof. Combine it all with the increased insanity of the GOP and Bush and Trump juntas being imposed on a nation that rejected them, and the trends are terrible and Dems better wake up and stop deluding themselves that demographics are on their side. In our system we have vast amounts of non voters that can be sucked into the GOP if new issues resonate.

If Dems refuse to try an reform the system... to bring it up to modern standards... they do so at their own, the nation's, and the world's risk.

So, sure... I don't feel morally bound by the Constitution, or the will of the dead... but morally by the principles in the Declaration Of Independence. Our electoral system is incapable of measuring the will of the people and the political is incapable of implementing it. It's about time the Dems as a party took the time to reconnect to some basic principles... such as democracy itself. Yup. the system is difficult to reform... and I'd say virtually impossible to reform in any serious way. If Dems give a shit, they have two options... to plan some 50-100 year strategy to overcome all the obstacles... even as the system gets more difficult to reform... or to push for a constitutional crisis and I can think of no other option that to have California threaten secession unless the system is made democratic. After all, it's those who live in Cal who most get the shafted in our system. They, more than anyone, have the moral right.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 04:00 PM

50. The EC and most if not all gunz should be done away with but we are hostage

to a bunch of ignorant racists blocking both those things that the majority of the population want.

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Response to libtodeath (Reply #50)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 04:12 PM

51. I believe a majority wants universal background checks...

not abolishing gun ownership. Hell, I own a gun... a survival rifle I bought 35 years ago when I backpacked alone. I believe as a responsible citizen I have that right. That being said I'm the furthest thing from a gun nut and believe the 2ed Amendment argument is completely bogus. Several states insisted on protection for their state militias from Congress's new powers under the Constitution. Madison signed on to this request as a member of the VA ratification convention... so he knew what states wanted when he wrote what became the 2ed. NO state requested a general right to own firearms be federally protected.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2016, 04:20 PM

53. jose garcia fled the thread...

JG made 6 hit and run posts to the thread and then has run from discussing them.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 01:17 PM

59. Maybe if you were more adamant about your opinion

and tried harder to insult the intelligence of people that disagree with you, things would get better for you.

You continue to expound that you don't like the current system and think it ought to be changed more to your liking. And everyone should agree with you or they are anti-democratic. Go for it. What's stopping you?

Probably the best thing for you to do is close your eyes and wish real hard ....

But, if continuing to write these essays gives you pleasure, then carry on. Enjoy!

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Response to dumbcat (Reply #59)

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 01:33 PM

60. on insulting intelligence...

The people who are insulting our intelligence are those who claim that a MATHEMATICALLY DEMONSTRABLE antidemocratic system... somehow isn't antidemocratic. It's little different than those on the right who need to believe that LESS revenue after an irresponsible GOP tax cut is a revenue boom.

It's rather shocking to find so many liberal Dems who want to believe they are standing up for democracy in the face of those evil GOP vote suppressors... actually have no definition for democracy. If they did... they'd then have to confront their own internal contradictions.

I have an explanation for this bizarre situation... do you? And if I'm somehow wrong in my reasoning... THEN SHOW US... instead of rushing to personal insults.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #60)

Sat Dec 24, 2016, 06:13 PM

61. Rant against reality

If it feels good, do it!

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Response to dumbcat (Reply #61)

Sun Dec 25, 2016, 12:51 AM

62. thanks for another content-free post

So I take it you can't find anything wrong with my argument... but want to deny the system is antidemocratic. So therefore you side with all the other reality deniers and think rushing to make personal insults will offer cover for your less than rational position.

Got it.

All that's left to explain is why you even bothered to post to this thread when you had nothing of value to say.

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