02 June 2009

A Cure for the Bipolarchy?

d. eris at the Poli-Tea blog has called my attention to an impressive article at another anti-Bipolarchy blog, Last Free Voice, which is Rhys M. Blavier's detailed program of constitutional amendments aimed at changing the rules of congressional elections, apportionment, etc. in order to discourage both the development of a permanent political class and the kind of party system that the Framers did not intend. Leaving aside the question of practicality, since nothing short of a rogue constitutional convention on the Philadelphia 1787 model could pull off these changes against the will of the current Bipolarchs, most of the proposals look promising. A particularly interesting idea is to do away with having the entire House of Representatives elected in the same year, Blavier preferring a staggered system that would have one-third of the House up for election every two years. Representatives would serve for single six-year terms, but would be eligible to run again after six years more. They would also not be allowed to run for another office while serving in the House or Senate. Congress would grow in numbers (the current 435-person limit exists by virtue of legislation only, not amendment) while states would be divided into districts on a more rational basis to prevent gerrymandering, though Blavier proposes a rather arbitrary limit on Representatives of 10 times the number of states. The only proposal I really dislike is the last one on the list, which would make the Vice-President the Speaker of the Senate with similar powers to the Speaker of the House. This strikes me as blurring the separation of powers so long as the V.P is elected as part of a ticket including the President. I would rather do away with the Speaker of the House unless that office can be kept from imposing partisan rule. This article is only part of a series, so further proposals or some already made may address my objections. To repeat, I fear that it's all impractical under the current Bipolarchy, but that doesn't mean we can't use our imaginations.

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