Sunday, July 26, 2015


Our country is not static and our most vital documents must reflect not only history but present reality. As but one glaring example, while we watch the length of tenure of our Supreme Court justices grow exponentially as life expectancy moves ever higher, we should consider whether a fixed term appointment to this body might be a rational reply.

So too, our institutions for election of the President and Vice- President were born of a time when only men, only white men, were afforded the right to elect those holding the highest office in this land. Through the years we have witnessed Amendments to our Constitution giving the right of suffrage to women, to blacks. And in fact, the 14th Amendment explicitly reduced the percentage of votes in the electoral college for any state proportionately to the extent that said state excluded eligible (meaning black) adult males from their right of elective franchise.

How many people actually vote in the Presidential election? The true number is 538, the "electors' who cast their ballots in accord with the will of the people of their state (in number equal to the senators and congressmen from each state), except for those in Maine and Nebraska who are not technically bound to the will of the popular vote.

And what occurs if, for example, Donald Trump runs as a third party candidate in 2016 and none of the three parties garners the vote of 270 electors? Neither you or I are certain, but the answer is in the 12th Amendment which gives the House members the right to choose one of the three top vote getters to be named as President and the Senate chooses one of the two with the highest number of votes for Vice- President to fill that post. Can that be an adequate solution?

We are a country that will be almost 230 years removed from the rules guiding our presidential election in 2016. We now reside in a place where virtually all of those eligible to vote have seen their voice reduced to a whisper, due to polarization which has cast in stone the outcome for all but a tiny handful of jurisdictions. The candidates' focus and their money is spent not on assuring that each voter throughout the land is convinced as to his or her worthiness but on an infinitesimally small slice of the population who will determine which way the political winds blow.

The result is that people stay away from the polls in alarming numbers. Over 106,000,000 eligible voters did not exercise their constitutional right in the 2012 election, which equated to over 45% voter apathy. Apathy is the true candidate of choice. That cannot be what was intended or contemplated back in 1787.

The answer is to push for a constitutional amendment that reflects the true intent of the founding fathers, that every person in every state be given equal voice, that every vote matter and that every eligible citizen, no matter race or gender, be an active and involved participant in the quadrennial exercise that has the most profound impact on the lives of each one of us.


Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on what that Amendment would look like?
Do you think we can get that done in our lifetime?

Robert said...

While I appreciate your faith in my abilities, I have no knowledge of what the Constitutional amendment would look like other than to state that the chosen method of electing a President (by way of the electoral college) would be discarded and instead the person gaining the most popular vote throughout the entire country would be the one to lead us for the next four years.

It is a complicated and cumbersome process but if the result was that the tilting of the money and the presence of the candidates into Ohio and Florida would cease and all 50 states would need to be considered and courted, then it would seem to be worth the time and effort.