Abolish the Presidency

Now’s the best time we’ve ever seen to become more democratic by abolishing the Presidency. Today, the President threatens democracy through threats to freedoms of speech, the press and peaceable assembly. At any time, we would also be more representative as a democracy with multiple parties in competition; however, the Presidency encourages a two-party system.

A constitutional convention under Article V has been in the works for quite some time, and now is the best time to hold it. More than two-thirds of the States have already petitioned for one, by some standards. We are just waiting on Congress to call it. Congress would stand to benefit, as well as the country. We should establish a generous standard of what qualifies for a State’s application (which Larry Sabato uses in his “A More Perfect Constitution”), and organize another constitutional convention. There has never been a better time since slavery to have a constitutional convention.

A contemporary constitutional convention would bring the country together for the greatest exercise of democracy in its history. We may assume there would be more delegates than in 1787 or than there are currently elected federal officials — deciding which amendments to vote on. Then, in my ideal, every citizen would be able to vote yes or no on those amendments. Democratic thinking and practice, and technology, have progressed to such a point at which universal participation is desirable and practical.

We need an amendment that takes Article II and devolves all powers wanted to be held by the federal government to the legislative and/or judicial branches. There also would be other opportunities for amendments. I think that anything that gained consensus would be palatable and good, despite
the street violence in the news.

The Equal Rights Amendment, an amendment to remove money from politics (Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico has offered one potential way of wording this) to the largest extent possible, and some wording of my “War costs must be paid with a levy on extracted materials” (which would end our war in the Middle East and prevent others like it, see https://medium.com/@patricklane_30060/a-fiscal-policy-to-end-wars-5a05f6a5820f), would all also be good amendments to ratify.

The right/center-right wants a balanced budget amendment and term limits and there is a major meeting this weekend in Phoenix about organizing a constitutional convention. Two million people have now pledged support for a constitutional convention. The left/center-left should help shape the debate over convention rules and what amendments are proposed, or they may find themselves relatively powerless at a Constitutional turning point.