Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catch of the Day

Ed Kilgore (emphasis added)::
Finally, out in California, the special election runoff to fill Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado's state senate seat looks like a probable win for Republican Sam Blakeslee over Democrat John Laird. I mention this not only because I happen to live in Senate District 15, but because more votes were cast in this special state legislative election than in today's entire Wyoming primary. This central coast district, which runs from Santa Clara all the way to Santa Barbara, is represented by one state senator. Wyoming, as you may know, is represented by two United States Senators. Such is our system. 
Love it.  By the way, his summary of the results is, as usual, very useful. 

In other primary news, you'll want to read this update on GOP women running for office this year by the outstanding reporter (and brother) David S. Bernstein.  Note Kilgore's reporting that WY-GOV candidate Rita Meyer fell short, but Jamie Herrera did get nominated in WA-3.  


  1. There's been a lot of talk recently on the political right about amending the Constitution, e.g., flag burning, marriage, birthright citizenship, balanced budget.

    There's not been nearly as much talk on the left. I wonder if a) that should change, and b) that's about to change.

    Kilgore's catch certainly raises the question of whether we're approaching a time to amend Senate apportionment (though it's unlikely to happen for precisely the reason it's needed---why would anyone from Wyoming or Vermont want to change the representation formula for the Senate).

    Also, there's a forthcoming book by legendary organizers Bob Moses and Ernesto Cortes, scholar-activists Lisa Delpit, Theresa Perry and others, titled "Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools".

    Reconstruction included the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. The Progressive Era created the federal income tax, direct election of Senators, women's right to vote, and Prohibition (later repealed).

    Since then, substantive amendments have been harder to come by, the most significant being the 23rd (1961-granting presidential electors to DC), the 24th (1964-eliminating the poll tax), and the 26th (1971-lowering the voting age to 18).

    Now we have a center-left majority elected in 2008 whose agenda has been significantly hampered by 1) a Senate minority taking full advantage of both Senate rules, and the constitutional over-representation of sparsely settled states; and 2) a Supreme Court majority that seems to be creating a jurisprudence not unlike that of the late 19th century Gilded Age.

    Is it time for those in what we might call the "Obama majority" of the country to start proposing major constitutional amendments to meet the challenges facing the US in the 21st century?


  2. How about the following amendments.

    1. Declaration that corporations have none of the rights of people (beyond ownership and the ability to perform and engage in contractual agreements), and that there would be no constitutional grounds for limiting their ability to contribute to the political system, or to limiting their "speech," (as with regulation of advertising truthfulness).

    2. Creating an explicit, unfettered, right to abortion through the first trimester of pregnancy.

    3. Creating an explicit right of privacy, allowing legislative regulation of the rights of business to collect and exchange personal information.

    4. Change the Senate to a national body, with proportional representation ( 33 senators would be elected each cycle ). This would allow more political voices (including Tea Party, Socialists, Greens, and the traditional parties), and would make procedural blackmail through manipulation of rules virtually impossible.

    At least, that's where I'd start.


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