The Democracy Amendments

Amending the process of amending our Constitution

The Declaration of Independence says that It is our right and our duty to change the form of our government when changes are needed to "provide new guards for (our) future security". Requiring super majorities in both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states makes changing the form of our government extremely difficult. The amendment process is the most anti-democratic provision in our Constitution - allowing a minority to overrule the will of the at every step of the process of making necessary changes. The fact that this cumbersome amendment process was put in place over 200 years ago is an unusual form of tyranny - allowing people who passed away long ago put severe limits on our ability to enact desperately needed reforms. The dead have no right to rule the living. 

The first step in making our government more genuinely democratic is to amend Article V of our Constitution to make the process of amending our Constitution democratic. A simple majority of the members of Congress should be able to propose amendments, which would then be ratified if approved by a majority of the voters in a national referendum.

The Article V Amendment 

Article V of the Constitution of the United States is amended to read as follows:  

The Congress, whenever a majority of the members shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by a majority of the voters in a national referendum. Referendums on proposed amendments shall be conducted as part of the next general election.

Additional Amendments Needed: 

Making the process of amending our Constitution truly democratic will not, in and of itself, address the other anti-democratic provisions in our Constitution.  Any of these additional amendments that do not have the support of a majority of voters would not be ratified. With that caveat in mind, here are the additional amendments that would be necessary to make America a true democracy:  

MERGE THE HOUSE AND SENATE OR EXTEND "REPRESENTATION FOR ALL" TO THE U. S. SENATE. Merging the House and Senate to make Congress a unicameral legislature or extending Representation for All to the Senate will require a constitutional amendment.  

The Senate is, in and of itself, an undemocratic element in our form of government. It was designed to be a more "elite" assembly (originally elected by state legislatures instead of directly by the people) to give the wealthy a check on the will of the people. It was also a compromise between the larger, more populous states (that wanted representation to be based on population) and the smaller states (that wanted to retain the equal representation for each state that they enjoyed under the Articles of Confederation).  

Absent a desire to check or limit the will of the people, there is really no reason to have a bicameral (two chamber) legislature. We should move to a unicameral legislature. The alternative (extending "representation for all" and weighted votes to the U. S. Senate) would make both the House of Representatives and the Senate considerably more reflective of the will of the people, which would presumably put an end to endless gridlock. It would also introduce an unnecessary redundancy, but that might be necessary at least temporarily in order to get the necessary amendment enacted.  

DO AWAY WITH THE PRESIDENT'S RIGHT TO VETO LEGISLATION.  Allowing one person (even if that person is the President) to overrule the votes of two-thirds or more of the members of Congress if the support for a bill falls one vote short of a super-majority in either the House or the Senate is extremely undemocratic. The same is true of governor's in the states. Requiring super-majorities in both houses of Congress (or a state legislature) to overcome the decisions of a single person borders on autocracy.  

MAKE IT CLEAR THAT CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE.  Corporations are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Corporations are not people. They are a form of business organization. The fact that five misguided, dark-robed Supreme Court Justices declared that corporations are people, with the same natural rights as human beings, does not make it so. The corporate form of business organization enables companies to reap enormous profits, grow very large, and become very powerful. We must prevent that power from being used to take control of our government.  

AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT BY POPULAR VOTE USING RANKED CHOICE VOTING. The Electoral College has overruled the voters (the popular vote) in two of the last six presidential elections. This is blatantly undemocratic. It is time to abolish the Electoral College and move to direct election of the president and vice-president by the people, using ranked choice voting to ensure that the winning candidate has the support of a majority of voters (at some level of preference).

Similar amendments in the states. 

The details of what amendments need to be enacted in each state and the process for proposing and ratifying those amendments will vary from state to state. In states where citizens have the right to propose and pass legislation, including amendments to state constitutions, through the initiative and referendum, we need to take full advantage of those powerful forms of direct democracy.  

Proposals for "Representation for All" and ranked choice voting should be introduced in state legislatures and through ballot proposals in as many states as possible as soon as possible.