Wednesday, March 09, 2005
A modest proposal by Mark A.R. Kleiman (courtesy of our venerated colleague Avedon Carol):
Fortunately, we have an excellent opportunity: change the California Constitution to elect the entire California Congressional Delegation as a bloc.
California is about as solidly "blue" as a state can be in national elections. But of its 52 Members of Congress, 20 are Republicans. Move those 20 votes into the Democratic column, and we get to organize the House. (Just imagine the oversight hearings) . . . .
[H]aving Members represent districts is a time-honored custom, and district-based Members not only provide representation for local interests but also serve an important ombuds function. Anyway, the process of forming slates centrally would be nightmarish.
But we can have winner-takes-all and districts too. Run the primary system as it runs now, with the voters of each party in each district choosing a candidate. But then have the resulting nominees run as a slate statewide, with the entire winning slate going to Washington. That way each district is represented by a Member nominated by the voters of that district -- obviating any Voting Rights Act problems -- but the state is represented by the party commanding majority support statewide.
The benefits for California are obvious and enormous. To start with, we'd have a Californian as Speaker of the House. (Better yet, a Californian born in Baltimore, well known to be the very best kind of Californian.) A California House delegation of 52 Democrats would have enormous clout in what would then be the majority party. Anti-California policies, such as the support the Federal government gave to Enron and its accomplices during the manufactured power crisis, would be substantially curbed.
And best of all, due to the insane initiative provisions of the California Constitution, it could all be done by simple majority vote, in time for the 2006 elections . . . . Can you say "Speaker Pelosi"?