This article was written well ahead of scheduled publishing in order to accommodate my travel plans.
If January 6th did nothing else it illustrated that we need electoral reform in America. The time between the election (no later than November 8th) and Inauguration Day (Noon on January 20th of the next year) is simply too long under the current conditions. I am among the skeptical that nothing of substance in the current voting rights legislation will be passed.
The most needed reform is the elimination of the Electoral College. It was useful in the early days of the country but today is obsolete. The presidential race should be like all other contests in a democracy – simply whomever gets the most votes wins, period. (The 40 and 50% rules in some southern states are simply a vestige of Jim Crow.) That would require a constitutional amendment and that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.
The next most obvious change is that we need to move up Inauguration Day. Simply look at the chaos Trump perpetrated in the last lame duck transition. The biggest argument for the time lapse is for a smooth transition. How much did Trump cooperate with Biden? Again, I rest my case. Inauguration Day used to be in March, it was moved to January via the Twentieth Amendment. The Congress and the nation were much more patriotic in the 1930s than they are today. An amendment to move up Inauguration Day would never be enacted in today’s American political climate. The Republicans value political advantage over country.
What is achievable is a streamlining of the process we currently use. The vote simply goes through too many “certifications” that while legally necessary are in practice redundant and dangerous. They are simply opportunities for people with bad intentions to disrupt democracy. We are seeing plenty of this in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
1/6 itself was the last of those unnecessary but legally required processes – the formal Congressional acceptance of the Electoral College votes. Since we are not going to get rid of the Electoral College in the foreseeable future, the least we can do is make it the “last stop”.
The Congressional certification is not in the Constitution; it is merely a statute and as such can be abolished by Congress. The current fly in that ointment is the Senate filibuster which I’m certain Moscow Mitch McConnell would wield. The evidence keeps mounting and it is high time we either got rid of the filibuster or significantly amended it!
The other intangible fly in the ointment is the Supreme Court. There is a good chance they would declare any law streamlining the election process unconstitutional. The Roberts Court has consistently eroded voting rights and integrity. The current makeup is even more likely to keep that trend alive. The more things change the more they stay the same: the Republican Party and the Republican Supreme Court are the greatest threats to American democracy.
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