Last week I read Levinson’s Our Undemocratic Constitution, a rather compelling argument that, for various reasons, our Constitution has undemocratic procedures codified in it, and therefore we should have a new constitutional convention. I agree with Levinson’s assessment, but don’t see his call for a new constitutional convention happening anytime soon. As Levinson notes, our constitution is too venerated.
However, some interesting developments that could alleviate some of the undemocratic aspects of the Constitution:
In his afterword to the paperback edition (if I’m recalling right), Levinson argues that if the majority of states (especially large states) all passed legislation that their electors to the Electoral College were determined by the winner of the national vote, it would de facto make the Electoral College obsolete. (Levinson argues, rightly I think, that the Electoral College is one of the major blemishes of the Constitution.) Iowa’s actually considering a bill to do just that. I haven’t looked into if other states are considering this, and I found this out a week ago (so the bill could be dead, I don’t know — haven’t looked into it). But interesting development.
Also of interest: Russ Feingold has introduced a proposed amendment to make it mandatory for states to hold special elections if a Senate seat is vacated. While Levinson argues that the Senate isn’t very democratic (why do the people of Wyoming get more representation per capita than the people of California?), this seems to be a small step in the right direction. Why should a governor like Blaggo (or any governor) get to appoint a Senator instead of having her elected?