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Tags: democracy | republic | constitution | washington dc

A Harebrained Scheme to 'Save American Democracy'

A Harebrained Scheme to 'Save American Democracy'
(Volodymyr Maksymchuk/Dreamstime.com)

Michael Dorstewitz By Wednesday, 15 January 2020 11:10 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

At Vox, a far-left news and opinion site, life is imitating art — or more precisely, journalism is imitating satire.

Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser picked up on an anonymously-written Harvard Law Review article that proposes to radically remake the federal government by admitting more states to the union — a lot more states.

“Congress should pass legislation reducing the size of Washington, D.C., to an area encompassing only a few core federal buildings and then admit the rest of the District’s 127 neighborhoods as states,” according to the law review article.

An additional 127 states — each the size of a neighborhood — would add 254 senators, for a total of 354. Each one of those 254 would be far-left Democrats. In addition, each of those new “states” would be entitled to have one House member representing them.

Although it was published in The Harvard Law Review, one can’t help but think that it was better suited for The Harvard Lampoon.

Its author surmised that the newly-expanded Congress could then ratify four new constitutional amendments:

  1. a transfer of the Senate’s power to a body that represents citizens equally
  2. an expansion of the House so that all citizens are represented in equal-sized districts
  3. a replacement of the Electoral College with a popular vote; and
  4. a modification of the Constitution’s amendment process that would ensure future amendments are ratified by states representing most Americans.

A proposal to pack the Supreme Court was first advanced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Court packing is achieved by increasing the number of sitting justices and filling the newly-vacant seats with liberals.

Court packing was most recently promoted by several Democratic presidential candidates, including South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and tech executive Andrew Yang.

But the proposal to pack the Senate takes it to a whole new level. As crazy as the idea is, it made perfect sense to Vox’s Millhiser, who claimed that “The Constitution is dumb” and for that reason it must be radically re-wired.

He added, “if Democrats took advantage of its dumbness in the same way that Republicans do, there would be widespread consensus that it should be less stupid.”

Millhiser explains why the District of Columbia, rather than states, should be chopped up into new, individual states in the scheme he calls “a modest proposal to save American democracy.”

He observes that the Constitution forbids “new states from being carved out of an existing state unless the legislature of that state consents. Chopping up the District of Columbia gets around this problem because Washington, DC, is not a state.”

Millhiser claims that Republicans have a long history of packing the Senate “with their own fellow partisans.”

He observes, for example, that the state of Nevada was admitted to the union in 1864, which was “then a desert wasteland with only several thousand residents — giving themselves two extra Senate seats in the process.”

But it was a sizable hunk of land, much larger than a D.C. neighborhood, and eventually gave Congress far-left Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Millhiser also claims that “Republicans celebrated their victory in the 1888 election by dividing the Republican Dakota Territory up into two states, thereby giving themselves four senators instead of only two.”

Actually the Dakota territory was divided to settle a dispute over the location of its capital city.

And as far as that goes, the United States also has two Carolinas and two Virginias. Until the last 50 years they were all reliably Democratic strongholds.

But more than that, Millhiser ignores a fact that conservatives have to keep reminding liberals of every day: The United States isn’t a democracy; it’s a republic. Accordingly, there’s no need “to save American democracy.” It doesn’t exist.

That’s why we have a bicameral Congress. While the House of Representatives is comprised of lawmakers serving congressional districts with fairly equal populations, the Senate is not. We have two senators per state no matter what the state’s population or size.

Accordingly, House members represent the people; senators represent the states.

There’s little doubt that Millhiser knows this; he just prefers to ignore it.

And just as the original proposal should have been published in The Harvard Lampoon, Millhiser’s enthusiastic endorsement of the scheme would have been better suited in a satirical publication like The Onion or The Babylon Bee.

Vox has been criticized for engaging in “explanatory journalism,” which is defined as “journalism that tries to explain things readers don't understand.”

In this case readers should understand all too well. Millhiser wants to turn America into a pure democracy, which had been likened to “mob rule.” He wants to change the rules because he didn’t get his way at the 2016 presidential election — and he’s not likely to get his way in November.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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At Vox, a far-left news and opinion site, life is imitating art — or more precisely, journalism is imitating satire.
democracy, republic, constitution, washington dc
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 11:10 AM
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