By Dr. Michael Kryzanek | June 14, 2024

There is growing sentiment among the American people and scholars of our democratic system that the governmental structure created by the Constitution is in crisis if not irrevocably broken. Partisan bickering leading to endless two-party deadlock, the undemocratic nature of the Electoral College, growing restrictions on voting, especially among minority groups, gerrymandered representative districts that block out real competition, and term limits for members of Congress along with lifetime appointments of federal judges are just some of the examples of a governing system in dire need of reform. Public opinion polls consistently point to serious dissatisfaction among citizens with our leaders and institutions and growing disapproval of how our government has failed to respond to the needs of the people.

Reforming the American governing system is not an easy task as amendments to the Constitution require a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress followed by three-fourths of the state legislatures approving the amendment. This is a steep legislative hill to climb, which often ensures that reforms of the Constitution are doomed to failure. Our country has only changed the Constitution 27 times, which includes the first 10 amendments passed after the Constitution was ratified plus 17 other amendments of which two offset each other (Prohibition) and one, the 27th (legislative salaries), passed after languishing for over 200 years without any action taken. That leaves 14 amendments that are substantive changes to the way we structure and run our government. Of those 14 remaining amendments, most do not deal with the need for reform on the constitutional issues that currently are creating serious challenges relating to making governing fairer, efficient and timely, ensuring that the vote of the people for the President and Vice President will be direct and truly democratic, and seeing that the individuals who wield power face electoral limits or are not guaranteed lifetime service.