Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Crisis In The US Political Order?

Rick Hasen links to this post about a potential looming crisis in the US political order.

The piece bases this forecast on the very real - I'm idealistic enough not to want to say "likely" - possibility that touted Democratic gains will fail to materialize in November. Republican retention of the federal government would then lead to gross gerrymandering of Texas and Pennsylvania which would in turn lead to stronger statistical evidence that the federal government would be controlled by an overwhelmingly minor segment of the population due to our system of (completely butchered and bastardized) federalism.

Author Sandy Levinson does well by the arithmatic - 55 Republican senators would be elected with 3 mil fewer votes than 44 Democratic senators over the last 3 cycles. Also hated: the "equal population" mantra of Reynolds v. Sims - which is cited as the reason for problems with Senatorial management to begin with - instead of, say, the reform of senatorial selection via the 17th Amendment. Why blame the court case for equal population requirements when the real culprit is the switch for indirect to direct election of senators? Would the numerical outcome and make up be different if state legislatures selected senators rather than the populace directly? No, but the philosophical underpinnings of our republican government would be a damn bit easier to understand and defend.

And speaking of republican government - Levinson spends a great deal of time mourning the loss of our national "democracy," using big and small D versions of "democratic" to sound a battle cry for reform (of some kind).

The failure here, however, is acknowledging that we are guaranteed a "republican" form of government and that if even our Republicans were more republican, perhaps we could have more hope for the future.

No comments: