Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sabato: U.S. Constitution needs an upgrade

Professor Larry J Sabato, one of the most cited and respected political observers in America, is coming out with a new book that calls for a Second Constitutional Convention to to upgrade the U.S. Constitution. He's posted a discussion/summary of his new book on Daily Kos. A snippet from that post:
Throughout the history of the American republic, politicians have run on platforms of change: changing healthcare, or the economy, or foreign policy. They have promised their constituents that they will go and "clean up" Washington, and encouraged voters to "throw the bums out." But nowhere amidst their posturing has there been a call for changing the system itself; no one seems to see that maybe it’s the Constitution, not just the Congress, that needs to be cleaned up.

In the 220 years since the Constitution was written, the United States has undergone a great transformation. The 13 original states on the Atlantic seaboard have grown into 50, from sea to shining sea. Advances in transportation and communications have created an interconnected nation that shares information in the blink of an eye. We've seen the growth of political parties, and the various institutions and practices that come with them.

But what we haven't seen is major Constitutional reform. There have only been 17 amendments (the first 10 must be considered a part of the original document), one of which simply reversed another, others of which have been quite minor. Despite the new realities of the modern United States, our government runs under the direction of a document written with quill pens. This is not what our founders envisioned.
The whole thing is worth a close read.

I've always thought there are a number of problems not tackled by the Constitution. For example, the Constitution doesn't include a presidential nominating system or standards for how elections must be conducted across the fifty states. There are a number of significant problems that could be solved were the document to be improved by the nation's finest political and legal minds.


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