Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: The Washington Post: Opinion- Jonathan Turley- “Voters Want a Revolution- Here’s What That Would Take”: Rewrite The U.S. Constitution?
The problem that Social Democrats have in America, the so-called Bernie Sanders movement, is that they don’t live in a social democracy. So much of what they want to do simply can’t happen with the way our constitutional liberal democratic federal republic is set up. You can’t scrap the U.S. Congress and go to a unicameral parliamentary system that maybe has an upper house in name only, but without any real power. Like the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. You can’t scrap the presidency and executive branch by referendum or by a simple majority vote in Congress with the House and Senate agreeing to it. And then go to having a Prime Minister who also happen to be a member of Parliament and the leader of the majority or largest party there.
Our U.S. Constitution and Federal Republic was set up by our Founding Fathers (our Founding Liberals) the way it was very specific and important reasons. They didn’t like big centralized authoritarian government centralized with one authority. That was the system they were escaping from in Britain and a big reason for our Revolutionary War that gave us the United States of America. And because of all of this they set up different branches of government and checks and balances and specifically made it hard for one party to govern by themselves and run Congress by themselves. Especially if one party controls both the presidency and the House and Senate. As well as a judicial branch to serve as both a check on the President and Congress when they pass laws that go outside of the Constitution.
Because of the way our country and government is set up and with our political culture as diverse as it is, we don’t see a lot of political revolutions that lead to changes that require amending the Constitution in order to bring about that revolution. Which means to make government work better you need better leaders and the only way you get that is through good people running for office and getting elected by smart voters. Who aren’t dumb enough to vote for people who promise them all sorts of free stuff or take positions now that were the opposite of where they were just a few years ago. And if you follow American politics closely you know exactly who I’m talking about. Which means to make the current government better you have to work within the system to bring about that. And our current system already allows for broad progressive reforms.
I like Professor Jonathan Turley’s proposal on the Supreme Court, but I would go even further and expand it to 50 members one for each state. Still all appointed by the President and having to be confirmed by the Senate. As well as ending lifetime limits and having each Justice having to come up for reappointment to stay on the Court. But that reform can be done within the current system through Congress and the President. I like Professor Turley’s proposal to end gerrymandering in the House of
Representatives. And have each House district drawn to reflect the population of the state and overall voter registration. But I would go even further than that put in full-disclosure for all every member of Congress and candidate for Congress as far as where and when they get contributions. As well as all third-party groups that spend money on political campaigns. But again these reforms can be done through Congress and the President.
I’ve argued this several times before, but the problems with American government is not the system and the Constitution that protects it as well as the people. The problems with American government are our politicians and the voters who send them to government. With better voters and better candidates with more good people bothering to run for office, or at least voting, but voting for good qualified people and we could fix most if not all the problems in the country. Without spending anytime trying to pass one constitutional amendment. That even if were to pass both in the House and Senate, would take at least ten years for 34 states or more to ratify. When you could have passed your progressive reforms simply through statue through the Congress and the President.