Saturday, July 5, 2008

The impending constitutional crisis

Larry Sabato is, of course, right when he warns us about this impending constitutional crisis. It is quite possible in this era of close presidential elections that the candidates will split the electoral college vote, throwing the election to the House of Representatives. And the House would decide by unit-rule, with each state getting just one vote, giving Wyoming's 500,000 residents the exact same voting power as California's 35 million. It's a deeply undemocratic feature of the Constitution, even if it made perfect sense in 1787. (It's also something that could end in a deadlock since we have an even number of states.)

But does he really expect Americans to amend the Constitution to stave off a crisis that hasn't happened yet? Hell, just eight years ago, the presidency was handed to the loser of the popular vote, thanks in part to a decision rendered by the only unelected branch of the federal government. What percentage of Americans even knew that such a thing could happen before 2000? And yet talk of reform quickly fizzled, and the same thing could happen again this year.

But, anyway, thanks for the warning.

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