Time for a Constitutional Amendment

©2010 by Fred Flaxman

A recent Angus Reid Public Opinion poll shows that 65% of Americans disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision concerning Citizens United, which frees corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to spend on political advertising. So why not take the opportunity offered by the nationwide revulsion to this abhorrent decision to bring about a series of amendments to truly make our democracy “of, by and for the people”?

These amendments could:

1. Limit political contributions to donations from individuals. Totally outlaw campaign contributions from corporations, unions, committees and other groups.

2. Place a cap on the amount of money any individual can donate to a candidate or party each year. A limit of — let’s say — $100 per person (which could be adjusted for inflation) would assure that wealthy people have no more influence on their representatives than other individuals.

3. Reduce the tremendous costs of campaigns by providing for free and equal air time on television and radio for all qualified candidates for office. It is outrageous that commercial stations, which are licensed to use the public airwaves for private gain, charge candidates for public office to use the public’s own airwaves.

4. Limit these free campaign radio and television programs to broadcast within eight weeks prior to the election, thereby encouraging shortened campaign periods.

5. Outlaw the use of commercial advertising spots for political purposes. Candidates, issues, policies and ballot measures should not be sold like soda pop and hemorrhoid creams. This leads inevitably to the distortion of the truth and the demeaning of the political process.

6. Outlaw the use of paid signature gatherers to qualify candidates, political parties, propositions or measures for the ballot. This would greatly reduce the number of such measures to those which are sincerely desired by significant numbers of individuals.

7. Eliminate the Electoral College in favor of direct election of the president and vice president of the United States by the citizens.

8. Eliminate the presidential veto. Nothing is more undemocratic and dictatorial than allowing one person to thwart the will of the majority of the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress.

9. Eliminate the filibuster by requiring a simple majority to enact legislation in both houses of Congress.

I’’ll be the first to admit that Congress is not likely to pass such proposed amendments, since congressmen and women are in their seats to begin with because they have succeeded at the corrupt system we now have in place.

So these constitutional amendments may have to take the other route specified by the Constitution but never yet used: A Constitutional Convention would have to be called by two-third of the legislatures of the States, and that Convention would have to propose these amendments. They would then be sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions.

For all this to happen the American people will have to finally wake up to the fact that real health care insurance reform, financial system overhaul, economic structural changes, and any other major reform, depends on this most basic of all reforms: getting rid of what Will Rogers famously called “the best Congress money can buy,” and turning our nation into a true democracy.

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2 Comments

Filed under Campaign Finance Reform, Election Reform, Health Care Insurance, Politics

2 responses to “Time for a Constitutional Amendment

  1. mvymvy

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    The bill is currently endorsed by over 1,659 state legislators (in 48 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota – 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%. Support is strong in every partisan and demographic group surveyed.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in 19 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  2. Hello!

    Nice post. A constitutional amendment could work, though frankly, I think it ignores the real problem, which is the Supreme Court. The Constitution never mentioned corporations, they were created by state and federal legislatures, not the constitution, so they are not granted any constitutional rights.

    I say, impeachment of the Chief Justice is the most reasonable route to follow.

    http://politicalbooks.us/2010/02/10/the-citizens-united-decision-was-bad-behavior-impeach-chief-justice-roberts/

    What do you think?

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