Constitutional Amendments I’d add

Which amendments would I like to see made to our Constitution?

After discussing Schwarzenegger’s pledge to run for President a few days ago, I began thinking of them.  Here then is my list, in order of preference.constitution_quill_pen

Abolish the Electoral College and replace it with popular vote.  This will get rid of “red” and “blue” states, allow for every vote to count, and prevent someone the majority of Americans don’t want from becoming President.

Abolish the requirement that you have to be a natural born citizen to be President.  Keep the requirement for citizenship, of course, but there is no reason why someone who became a citizen should not run.

Establish an independent commission to redraw congressional districts every ten years.  In order to prevent gerrymandering, we need to take district drawing out of the hands of politicians.  Ideally, they should do this for the states too, under the idea of Equal Protection.

Limit Senators to two six-year terms and Congress members to six two-year terms.   Come on, it’s not like there aren’t other qualified people out there.  Serve your terms and go home.  Treat this like a public service instead of a career.

Abolish Washington DC and make Washington part of Maryland. It’s ridiculous that these people do not get a representative in Congress. While there are enough people living there to make DC a state (more people live in DC than in Wyoming), the easiest solution is to just merge it with Maryland.

Define the death penalty as “cruel and unusual punishment” and thus prohibited.  It’s time we recognized that the death penalty is prone to mistakes, applied in a discriminatory manner, and doesn’t belong in a modern civilized society.

Then there are some that are needed to overturn Supreme Court decisions, but honestly, a few more votes on the Court would prevent that.  Back in the 70s we fought for an Equal Rights Amendment to prohibit discrimination against women.  Since that time, the Courts have held that women are, indeed, “people” under the 14th amendment and as such are entitled to protection against discrimination.  However, a different court could come along and go back the other way.  Therefore, the following amendments would be nice:

Amend the 14th amendment to prohibit discrimination against women, gays, and non-English speaking people.  I’m including transgender people and such in this.

Define “people” to exclude corporations.  A person has morals and eventually dies.  Conservatives who cite the Founding Fathers for anything to support their views are oddly silent on this one.

Define “speech” to exclude money.  These last two are needed to overturn the Citizen’s United case.

Top 5 reasons to get rid of the Electoral College

1. It will make every vote count. I grew up in Virginia which, at the time, was reliably Republican. My vote meant little in the Presidential race. Then I moved to Massachusetts and later New York where my Republican friends’ votes were meaningless.

That’s ridiculous. With the winner-take-all elections we have now, people who are in the minority party in their states have no real reason to come out and vote.ElectoralCollege-638x370

By having a popular vote for the President, every vote will count. Democrats in Utah and Republicans in Hawaii won’t feel their votes are wasted.

2. It will force candidates to campaign everywhere. Right now, there are states that rarely see a political campaign, where the candidate visits only to raise money and then disappears. The candidates also pay an inordinate amount of attention to whatever issues are important to those states that are in play, even if those issues would hurt the rest of the country. (Admittedly, some of that will still go on with our current primary system.)

Getting rid of the electoral college means a vote is a vote, no matter where it is. A vote in Idaho is meaningless to a Democratic candidate now, but it would be worth just as much as one in a swing state if we get rid of the electoral college.

3. It will help get people in those non-swing states involved. It should increase voter participation, and even help the local economy.

4. It will get rid of “red states” and “blue states.” This concept does nothing to help political discourse, and only divides us more.

5. It will make it clear that the President represents the people, not the states. And, more importantly, all the people, not just the ones in the states that elected him.

Right now, a President can lose the election and still win. That has happened three times in our history, most recently when Gore got more popular votes than Bush yet Bush won the electoral college. We ended up with a guy a majority of Americans voted against. How is that democracy? That’s winning by a loophole. And it could easily happen again.

(EDIT:  Be sure to read the very extensive debate on this topic in the comments!)

(EDIT #2:  Obviously, this was written before the 2016 election, so now we have two examples of a candidate winning the popular vote and losing the election within a period of 16 years.)

(EDIT #3:  If you’re really interested in this topic, I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book HOW TO ARGUE THE CONSTITUTION WITH A CONSERVATIVE.)

How the GOP can win the presidential race

To follow up on yesterday’s editorial cartoon:

The Republican party has won the popular vote only once in the last six presidential elections (when Bush won by a razor-thin margin). They have a huge uphill battle, and it’s not getting any better for them. The population is changing, and the old angry white man vote is dying.

Look at the electoral college voting patterns. You need 270 electoral votes to win. If we count every state that has voted Democratic in the last six elections, the Democrats start off with 242 votes, and the Republicans have 206. If you count only the last two, the Democrats have 332.

This is bad news for the Republicans, which leaves them with two options: (1) expand their base by appealing to younger voters, women, and minorities; or (2) cheat.

As we have seen, they have decided to go for option 2. Republicans have instituted voter purges and intimidation, creating hardships for those in Democratic-leaning districts and causing long lines to discourage voting. They’ve fought against early voting and other methods which will encourage people to exercise their rights. They’ve gerrymandered districts in ways that keep Democrats from winning.

They’ve created a propaganda machine to convince people that voter fraud is taking place (quite ironically). They’ve passed laws making it harder for people to register and vote. And they’ve challenged the Voting Rights Act in court.

Because, let’s face it, the only other solution would be to actually listen to the will of the people.