What do Barack Obama and Donald Trump agree on? How about Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell? Anything they agree on? How about George Soros, and the Koch brothers? Or the Chamber of Commerce, and the AFL-CIO? Do the Heritage Foundation and Common Cause have something in common?
There is virtual unanimity, across the spectrum of respectable opinion, including everyone named above, that there is something very dangerous in the Constitution. It’s a forgotten provision, which has never actually been used. It’s tucked away in obscurity, in Article V. It’s the mechanism by which the people, acting through their state legislators, can control the federal government, and amend the Constitution.
Over a hundred years ago, the progressive movement was on the verge of using Article V for the first time in American history. At the time, seats in the United States Senate were for sale. A wealthy and ambitious man could go to his state legislature and buy a seat in the Senate. Senators were not being elected by the people, but by state legislators, whose votes could be purchased.
The progressives were determined to end this corruption, and were able to get 30 state legislatures to pass Article V resolutions, calling for a Convention of States to propose a constitutional amendment for direct election of Senators. At the time, 32 states constituted 2/3 of the union, and if the progressives got two more states, an Article V Convention of States would be called.
Terrified that the people would be able to exercise power directly, the Senate caved, and passed a resolution for direct election of senators. That’s how we got the 17th Amendment. For some corrupt senators, it meant the end of their political careers. But it was a price that had to be paid, in order to prevent the use of the dreaded Article V.
All opponents of Article V use the bogeyman of a runaway convention. None of them, except perhaps the loons of the John Birch Society, are actually fearful of a runaway. The whole idea is laughable, preposterous. It’s a way for those fearful of the people to justify their opposition to common sense reforms, like a balanced budget amendment, or campaign finance reform.
For seven years the Reagan Project has sought to promote Article V. It’s had very limited success. The message has not gotten out. We were blacklisted by Facebook a long time ago, and this blog is deemed a threat that must be contained.
In the very near future I’m hopeful of breaking out, and getting widespread attention to the cause. Everyone who reads this blog will be asked to help. (No, I’m not asking for contributions.) It will cost nothing, and only take a few minutes of your time.