[lit-ideas] Re: Exodus

  • From: Harold Hungerford <hh@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 12:00:04 -0700

As a graphic -- literally -- illustration of the inequitable  
distribution of votes in the Electoral College and the Senate, here's a  
proposal -- I think tongue-in-cheek -- to split California into 23  
states, all of which would be larger than Wyoming and one of which  
would become the ninth-largest state.

Harold Hungerford

On Jul 9, 2004, at 5:48 AM, Veronica Caley wrote:

Thank you Harold.  Lainie Guinier is indeed the person I was thinking  
I agree that the thought of a Constitutional convention at the moment is
not such a great idea.  However, the other way to go to proportionality  
by popular demand of people of their state legislatures.  Of course,  
objection would still stand in as much as the small states would object.
For this reason, Dahl does not suggest that we immediately call a
convention or storm state houses.  What he does suggest is that it is  
to start talking about it.  By the way, many of these small states are  
ignored by presidential candidates because they don't have very many
electoral college votes. There is no question that proportionality is  
perfect either.  But according to the surveys Dahl cites, it is  
to be more fair in places where it exists and people are more  
interested in
their government and its actions.

In any case, sooner or later, something will have to give.  Eighty  
of the population lives on the two coasts.  This, combined with
gerrymandering by both parties to further tilt the system, will have to  
dealt with.  Right now, I think millions are dealing with it by opting  
of the system.  So that leaves us where?  Perhaps with Jefferson's idea
that we might need a revolution every few years or civil war?  Or, the
breaking apart of our nation state, which seems to be a modern trend
elsewhere? (Soviet Union, Canada)


> [Original Message]
> From: Harold Hungerford <hh@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 7/8/2004 5:15:58 PM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Exodus
> I looked at the reviews of Dahl. In theory, I agree with him that the
> Senate and the Electoral College violate the modern principle of one
> person-one vote. In practice, however, there is no possibility at all
> of altering the Constitution to revamp them. No small state would vote
> for such an amendment.
> I live in California (pop. 35 million-odd); next door is Nevada (pop 2
> million-odd). These are 2002 estimates. The six New England states have
> 14 million people, the "West North Central" states -- IA, KS, MO, MN,
> NE, ND, SD -- have 19 million. So, counting Nevada, New England, and
> the WNC states, it takes 14 states to equal California's population.
> With one more state, that's enough to defeat any constitutional
> amendment.
> We have at least rectified the worst abuses embedded in the original
> Constitution: the exclusion of women, Indians, and blacks, and the
> property-rights restrictions on voting.
> The notion of a constitutional convention to remake the Constitution
> would give me the horrors.
> As to proportional representation, I think the jury is still out. PR
> certainly contributed significantly to the destabilization of many
> European and Latin American governments during the last century. As a
> practical matter, England doesn't have it: the two-party system is
> still dominant.
> And you may be thinking of Lainie Guinier.
> Happy camping!
> Hal
> On Jul 7, 2004, at 7:31 PM, Veronica Caley wrote:
> Harold and John,
> Dahl is suggesting that we think about the reason or reasons for
> upholding
> the Constitution as it now stands.  And he thinks the two party system
> is
> undemocratic and prefers proportionality.  And he believes the
> population
> believes this as well.
> A woman nominee to be head of the Civil Rights department in the Dept.
> of
> Justice  suggested this during Clinton's first term.  Needless to say,
> she
> was forced to step down just for saying this.  I can't find her name at
> the
> moment as I am camping in western Michigan.
> Veronica
>> [Original Message]
>> From: John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx>
>> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Date: 7/5/2004 8:17:47 PM
>> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Exodus
>> Good stuff, Harold. Any feedback from your friend?
>> John McCreery
>> On 2004/07/05, at 14:21, Harold Hungerford wrote:
>>> I wrote this today, to a friend who has been a lifelong
>>> conservative.=20
>>> It seems appropriate to the Fourth, so I submit it to this list.
>>> You were asking why people should support Kerry, as against being=20
>>> opposed to the duplicitous and incompetent Bush and Cheney. I
>>> support=20
>>> him because I think he will support the Bill of Rights and also=20
>>> President Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights far more than
>>> Bush-Cheney.=20=
>>> It is easy to get hung up on details and fail to look at the broad=20
>>> picture. Kerry comes MUCH closer to giving Americans what FDR
>>> offered.=20=
>>> It does not hurt that he is a decorated veteran -- as against the
>>> draft=20=
>>> evaders in the Bush coterie.
>>> I turned 21 in 1952. My parents were Republicans; I remember wearing
>>> a=20=
>>> Willkie button in 1940 and a Dewey button in 1944 and 1948. We  
>>> were=20
>>> quite comfortably affluent throughout the Depression and, by and
>>> large,=20=
>>> the war. But by 1950 I was a Democrat, in part because of Nixon's=20
>>> savaging of Helen Gahagan Douglas, in part because of Joseph
>>> McCarthy,=20=
>>> but mostly because I had come to accept the basic tenets of the  
>>> New=20
>>> Deal as I finally began to mingle with the unprivileged. I voted
>>> for=20
>>> Adlai Stevenson in 1952 because I thought, like Eleanor Roosevelt,
>>> that=20=
>>> he would come closest to carrying on FDR's heritage. I have voted
>>> in=20
>>> every presidential election since then. I have never voted for a=20
>>> Republican presidential candidate because I knew that they would=20
>>> actively or passively seek to destroy that heritage, as Reagan and
>>> the=20=
>>> Bushes have manifestly done.
>>> Here's a link to FDR's Second Bill of Rights:
>>> =93The Economic Bill of Rights=94
>>> Excerpt from 11 January 1944 message to Congress on the State of
>>> the=20
>>> Union
>>> <http://www.worldpolicy.org/globalrights/econrights/fdr- 
>>> econbill.html>
>>> I think, by the way, that Dahl (below) may be thinking of our  
>>> rigid=20
>>> separation of the executive from the legislative, and perhaps also
>>> of=20
>>> the two-party system.
>>> Harold Hungerford
>>> On Jul 4, 2004, at 7:53 PM, Veronica Caley wrote:
>>> One of the things I find remarkable about this site is that they
>>> admit=20=
>>> that
>>> they have the Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court.  So
>>> much=20=
>>> for
>>> checks and balances.  And still, they can't manage to create a=20
>>> dictatorship.
>>> I just read a fascinating book called, "How Democratic is the  
>>> American
>>> Constitution?"  This book was written by a political scientist
>>> named=20
>>> Robert
>>> A. Dahl from Yale.  He says that not one democratic country in the
>>> world
>>> has copied the American model.
>>> Veronica
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