Opponents of a constitutional convention point to the passage of Prop 2 as an example of what could go wrong. Outside dark money got it on the ballot, and then convinced a bare majority to vote for it. This is the danger inherent in direct democracy, which is what initiatives are.
Federal initiatives are not allowed by the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers didn’t believe in direct democracy. They gave us a constitutional republic, in which the people don’t directly make decisions. Rather, the people vote for representatives, who do have the power to decide.
In the case of a convention, the people will not be proposing amendments directly. They will instead elect representatives – delegates – who will meet, deliberate, and then decide what amendments should be submitted to the people.
The proponents of Prop 2 knew they could never get it passed by the Alaska legislature. It was a radical change in the structure of Alaska politics. Their only hope was through an initiative, using millions of dollars in a fundamentally dishonest campaign. There was no real organized opposition, and voters were fooled in to voting for it.
If a convention is approved in November, the legislature will decide how delegates will be elected. Every part of the state will send trusted and respected citizens. Outside dark money can’t possibly control these elections, taking place from Ketchikan to Kotzebue. That would require a conspiracy so large, and so well disguised, that only a paranoid conspiracy freak could believe in it.
Participating in a constitutional convention is serious business. Voters will only support people they know, and have confidence in. Since a convention is of limited duration, and is a limited commitment. People who can’t make the commitment to service in the legislature will be candidates. Community leaders from all walks of life will be step forward..
Instead of fear mongering about a constitutional convention, Alaskans should fear what our ruling elites are trying to do to this state. In Saggoonick v. State of Alaska, they recently came within one Supreme Court vote of shutting down our oil and gas industry. In the name of climate change, the plaintiffs came very close to destroying Alaska’s economy.
We shouldn’t be deterred by paranoid fantasies of a Great Constitutional Conspiracy. Instead, we should worry about the very real threats to our liberty and economy by the elites who run this state. They are the danger, and they are very real. The legislature can’t pass the amendments we need to protect the dividend, provide for school choice, and rein in a judiciary running amok. Only a convention, elected by the people, can do that.
That’s why we get the chance to vote for a convention every ten years.
One thought on “Democracy and a Convention”
Fritz… I have been out of town this past week, so I just now read your January 31 “Democracy and a Convention” article. You are obviously talking about a convention to propose amendments to the Alaska Constitution, and I do not have access to that document to know its wording. It apparently provides for some kind of convention “every ten years” to consider changes to the content of that document. It is not clear to me if (like Article V in the US Constitution) it only provides an opportunity to “propose amendments,” or if the opportunity is open to propose a total replacement of the Alaska Constitution. I bring this up because your piece repeatedly refers to the recommended confab as a “constitutional convention.” I guess if the current Alaska Constitution provides for the possible rewrite/replacement of the entire Alaska Constitution during those once-a-decade confabs, it would legitimately be described as a “constitutional convention.” However, if that once-a-decade provision only allows for proposing amendments to the existing Alaska Constitution, you might want future articles to refer to the hoped-for convention as a “convention to propose specific amendments to the Alaska Constitution.” or a “convention to propose amendments.” That wording would help defuse what you refer to as the “Great Constitutional Conspiracy.” Just my thoughts. Your friend,Stu MacPhail