The argument goes, "We can't do a constitutional convention--Liberals would completely change the Constitution and strip us of the Bill of Rights." I'm sure fire and brimstone and little green men from Mars would also result in opponents' minds.
And granted, most of those on the political Left would indeed like to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States repealing our Freedom of Religion, the Right to Bear Arms, etc. But in the same way, there are activists on the political Right would like to see abortion banned, marriage defined as between one man and one woman, English declared our official language and the Bible mandated for daily reading in every pre-K classroom in America. Obviously I state that tongue-in-cheek.
Opponents of a "Con-Con," or Constitutional Convention, also known as an Article 5 Convention, are concerned that there will be no control as to how far such a convention could go in altering the Constitution. But this perspective is flawed. Perhaps it is out of ignorance? Who knows.
Their thought is that such a convention would change the Constitution or perhaps completely repeal it and attempt to re-write it all over again. And while there is precedent in such action, namely the first Constitutional Convention, the simple fact of the matter is that the convention and it's delegates would not bear any power or authority to actually amend the Constitution. That authority lies strictly in the states.
Now, I will admit that I don't remember if it would be by a vote of the state legislatures, a vote of an amending convention in each state or a direct vote of the people of each state. Either way, each state would decide how it's own ratification vote would take place. And fully three-fourths of states would have to vote in the affirmative on each amendment in order for it to be ratified. That is 38 states.
Now, think about that for a second. 38 states equals 76% of states. That pretty much rules out just about anything Liberal Democrats would want to pass. Think about all of the deep red states in the country. Essentially, if you line up Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama (for good measure), you've just blocked everything from passage that Conservatives don't want passed. It wouldn't matter what California, New York or Massachusetts wanted--thirteen red states dictate that a matter is dead on arrival.
On the other hand, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine pretty well lock down that nothing they oppose would pass. Which, taken together with red states, pretty well assures that this would all be a big waste of time. A great civics lesson, not much else.
Then again, it might be interesting to see what Liberals might do just to see one, itty-bitty, relatively tame proposal of theirs being passed might be worth. Say, four--maybe five--items that we want ratified? Say we pitched our relatively tame 5 amendments together with their one and said, "What do you think?"
Well, now, that would certainly be an interesting scenario to pitch and consider, don't you think?
I think a "Con-Con" is in order. And I believe that Conservatives (Republicans, at the least!) would be in a strong position to fare well in such an event. Liberals would fare poorly in terms of debate, negotiations and ratification due to the overwhelming number of red states available to vote down all of their proposals. And many of ours would be very beneficial to certain blue states. Think about amendments pertaining to the financial services industry--New York State might find these particularly enticing! And given New York City's proximity to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts, that makes the likely passage of certain measures more feasible. Pair these together with red states and perhaps we could even accomplish passage of a few other amendments they would go along with in order to achieve a more conducive regulatory and legal environment on Wall Street.
Taxation is another matter that may have strong appeal in certain blue states due to income levels and accumulation of wealth there. Might New York, et al, give up certain things, like a more conducive environmental regulatory system, in order to achieve favorable tax laws pertaining to repatriation of corporate profits earned and retained overseas? Interesting to ponder, right?
Then you get down to things like a balanced budget amendment. Democrat-dominated blue states like California would oppose such a thing. But what about if this were paired with, say, an amendment making it more conducive for large employers to bring outsourced jobs back onshore? Make it more conducive for GE, Black & Decker or Levi's Jeans to manufacture in the United States and tell me California (home of Levi's and Silicon Valley), Michigan (home of Detroit, which has been decimated by manufacturing moving overseas) or Ohio wouldn't consider allowing the repatriation of foreign profits tax exempt.
I just use these as examples. There may be flaws in each--I haven't put much thought in specific pairings of states or concept amendments. But the resulting negotiations would certainly be interesting to discuss and deliberate publicly and privately.
We will never hold these deliberations and negotiations without a "Con-Con." And I, for one, would kind of like to participate in them as well as hear what they would sound like. But we will never know unless we hold a convention.
Never fear, fearful Conservatives--Oklahoma stands in defense of your best interests! Along with Kansas, Nebraska, et al.
Remember those electoral maps of Congressional Districts and Counties in bright red? There are more red states than blue. Let us use that to our advantage. Something like 38 states have called for an Article 5 Convention over the years. Let's hold one. We have nothing to fear and everything to gain.