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Is amending the Constitution really difficult?

dstebbins

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Harshaw said:
You know what?

I'll do better than you.

I don't pretend to know how many members of each state's legislature there are.

But say the minimum number of people needed to vote an amendment into being is 1,500. Or even 6,000. That would be about 0.02% of the population.

If you could get the exact minimum number of people you need in all the exact places of the levels of government you need them to be in order to effect the votes . . .

You could rule the country and do anything you wanted to the Constitution with only those 6,000 people.

It's mathematically possible.

But it's about as likely as all the air molecules in this room spontaneously jumping into the northeast corner -- which is physically possible. But is it going to happen?

So, what, AGAIN, is it that you're so worked up about?
that math is significantly flawed. You're just pretending that six thousand is enough to pass a constitutional amendment when it's not. It's not "mathmatically possible" because you're just picking a number out of the blue with no rhyme or reason for coming up with that number.

It takes two thirds of both houses of Congress to present an amendment to the states. That's 290 Congressional districts and 34 states. Granted that each representative and senator follows through with popular demand in his constituency, a mere six thousand people could not even form a majority in just one district, much less 290. Remember, a Congressional district has, on average, 675,000 people. If they can't form a 50.0000000000000000000001% majority in one distritct, how are they going to form said majorities in 290 districts?

btw,
But it's about as likely as all the air molecules in this room spontaneously jumping into the northeast corner -- which is physically possible. But is it going to happen?
That's more full of bullcrap than a cow manure waste compact. It is NOT physically possible because gases want to get as far away from each other as possible. Their electron clouds are negatively charged, and like forces repel. Solids do this too, but they have such low kinetic energy levels that they don't move very far. Gases, on the other hand, have enough kinetic energy to get away from each other, and they do. They will never spontaniously move to a corner because their electron clouds won't allow it.
 
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Harshaw

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dstebbins said:
that math is significantly flawed. You're just pretending that six thousand is enough to pass a constitutional amendment when it's not. It's not "mathmatically possible" because you're just picking a number out of the blue with no rhyme or reason for coming up with that number.

It takes two thirds of both houses of Congress to present an amendment to the states. That's 290 Congressional districts and 34 states. Granted that each representative and senator follows through with popular demand in his constituency, a mere six thousand people could not even form a majority in just one district, much less 290. Remember, a Congressional district has, on average, 675,000 people. If they can't form a 50.0000000000000000000001% majority in one distritct, how are they going to form said majorities in 290 districts?

No. Pay attention.

Let's take the route through Congress.

You need 288 Representatives and 34 senators to propose an amendment to the states. You don't need districts; you need single votes -- as in, single people. That's 322 people.

Now, I said I don't know how many members each state's legislature has, so I picked a number which would easily encompass 50% of each one.

But let's break it down.

Say each legislature has 200 members.

You then need a majority of votes in 38 (3/4) of those legislatures to ratify the amendment.

A majority would be 101 (leaving aside that most of them are bicameral). So, you need 3838 state legislators to vote for the amendment.

Add that to the aforementioned 322, you need 4160 people to vote for an amendment in order for it to be ratified.

Nobody else matters but the people casting the votes. And you need fewer than 5000.

That "math" is perfect.
 

DocAR

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Harshaw said:
Note, too, that even in the twisted reasoning needed to make this scenario "work," it depends on dismissing the votes of state legislatures because "nobody cares." I assure you, people do.

This is not unlike a high school physics teacher of mine who said that if any part of an equation is giving you trouble, cover it up with your hand and it doesn't affect the rest of the equation.

In any case, that 109 million or whatever you cited actually would be a majority of the population which is eligible to vote.

OMG! Yeah, "Biff" had some interesting theories.....

He'd agree with this theory, too.....
 

dstebbins

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Harshaw said:
No. Pay attention.

Let's take the route through Congress.

You need 288 Representatives and 34 senators to propose an amendment to the states. You don't need districts; you need single votes -- as in, single people. That's 322 people.

Now, I said I don't know how many members each state's legislature has, so I picked a number which would easily encompass 50% of each one.

But let's break it down.

Say each legislature has 200 members.

You then need a majority of votes in 38 (3/4) of those legislatures to ratify the amendment.

A majority would be 101 (leaving aside that most of them are bicameral). So, you need 3838 state legislators to vote for the amendment.

Add that to the aforementioned 322, you need 4160 people to vote for an amendment in order for it to be ratified.

Nobody else matters but the people casting the votes. And you need fewer than 5000.

That "math" is perfect.
you may have done the math right, but you're ignoring one important factor: The people's vote. If you don't like something your Congressman did, you have the right to vote against him when he reruns. The only way he can stay in office is if a majority of his constituents who pay attention to him and actively vote support his decision. He's not going to vote for an amendment that a majority of his constituents who pay attention to him oppose. Maybe a majority of the total people oppose it, but he only has to pay attention to the registered voters. Congress hasn't lost touch with the people; the people have lost touch with Congress, and Congress isn't complaining because that's just less votes to worry about.

Which is why I supported the now dead We the People Party when it was alive. They have a few flawed proposals, just like Democrats and Republicans, but I support them because they are pro-initiative and referendum. Giving that power to the people will end all corruption in the government by giving the people a way to combat it.

Anyway, back on topic. True, Congressmen and legislators could, in theory, pass a law completely banning, say, critisism of the government, but they'd loose their jobs if they did. That's why I oppose Congressional term limits. A congressman on his last term probably won't give a rat's ass what his constituents think because he won't have to answer to them anymore.
 

Harshaw

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dstebbins said:
you may have done the math right, but you're ignoring one important factor: The people's vote. If you don't like something your Congressman did, you have the right to vote against him when he reruns. The only way he can stay in office is if a majority of his constituents who pay attention to him and actively vote support his decision. He's not going to vote for an amendment that a majority of his constituents who pay attention to him oppose. Maybe a majority of the total people oppose it, but he only has to pay attention to the registered voters. Congress hasn't lost touch with the people; the people have lost touch with Congress, and Congress isn't complaining because that's just less votes to worry about.

Which is why I supported the now dead We the People Party when it was alive. They have a few flawed proposals, just like Democrats and Republicans, but I support them because they are pro-initiative and referendum. Giving that power to the people will end all corruption in the government by giving the people a way to combat it.

Anyway, back on topic. True, Congressmen and legislators could, in theory, pass a law completely banning, say, critisism of the government, but they'd loose their jobs if they did. That's why I oppose Congressional term limits. A congressman on his last term probably won't give a rat's ass what his constituents think because he won't have to answer to them anymore.

And if the amendment they pass denies the right of the people to vote them out?

Besides, you said the state legislature votes are meaningless.

In any case, voting them out does not repeal the amendment.

So, "back on topic," as you say: what the hell was the point of this thread to begin with? Seems to me you were trying to point out a "flaw" in the structure of the Constitution, but now that the full extent of that "flaw" has been pointed out, you're saying "not likely to happen."

So is it a big deal, or isn't it?
 

dstebbins

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Harshaw said:
And if the amendment they pass denies the right of the people to vote them out?
I actually had a feeling you'd bring this up. Since you know good and well what the answers to the other questions are, I'll focus on this.

A modern Chinese philosopher ("modern" means during the time of Communism) whose name was not mentioned in the book I read his quote in (possibly to keep the communists from tracking him down) once said "All elders of communities are replaced by appointed government officials, as are anyone else who climbs up the social rank. Anyone who is well respected by the locals is a potential leader to the opposition and as such is liquidated." That's not the only way the communists prevent a major uprising. Anyone who is suspected, much less convicted, of talking about rebellion, or even thinking rebellious thoughts, get's the squad treatment.

This applies to anyone in power who wants to stay in power by any means necessary, including the people in a democracy. The Ku Klux Klan, one of the most nefarious racist groups of all time in this nation, tried to keep democrats in power by harrassing and killing anyone who did not share their beliefs and hatreds, even blacks who had merely learned to read and write their own name. After the Reconstruction Act expired and military rule was removed from the South, the KKK became a very present figure in southern culture. Black sufferage and equality all but ended. In short, the KKK used many of the tactics used by the Chinese communists to keep their party in power.

In order to keep Congress from passing an amendment stating what you suggest, we have to be aggressive as citizens. Anyone who so much as thinks of even drafting, much less introducing, an amendment like this needs to be kicked out of office immediantly, before he has the chance to act on it.

But even if they do pass such an amendment. Civil War II will break out, featuring the some six thousand government officials you suggest versus the three hundred million US citizens who want their rights back. Who do you think will win? Looks pretty one-sided to me, but hey, I'm just a retarded idiot, right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right?
 

dstebbins

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Vandeervecken said:
But what of aliens take over our bodies?

Oy vey
what does that have to do with anything?
 

dstebbins

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Vandeervecken said:
It is slightly more likely than your scenario.
How many times do I have to say this: That's why I used 67% and 10% instead of 51 and 0. I was allowing room for flexability. As long as at least 290 Congressional districts beared a majority at all that averaged out to be <67% and the remaining 145 districts have any numbers that have an average of ~10%, you will still only have 48% of the total population, or registered voters, whatever.

Besides, I'm confident that this "scenario" happened with the flag protection amendment. When I was talking to a staff member of my Congressman over the phone, I pointed out that, if Congress could pass a constitutional amendment limiting symbollic speech, what's to stop them from banning critisism of the government using the same method. He responded with "About a hundred million people asked to pass an amendment to protect the flag. I doubt you could get ten million people to ban 'critisism of the government.'" The key factor here is the words "a hundred million." A hundred million is not a majority of the some 300 million in the United States, so how could they have pushed this amendment thought Congress except to distribute themselves so that they made up majorities in 290 districts? Think about that for a minute.
 

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dstebbins said:
How many times do I have to say this: That's why I used 67% and 10% instead of 51 and 0. I was allowing room for flexability. As long as at least 290 Congressional districts beared a majority at all that averaged out to be <67% and the remaining 145 districts have any numbers that have an average of ~10%, you will still only have 48% of the total population, or registered voters, whatever.

Besides, I'm confident that this "scenario" happened with the flag protection amendment. When I was talking to a staff member of my Congressman over the phone, I pointed out that, if Congress could pass a constitutional amendment limiting symbollic speech, what's to stop them from banning critisism of the government using the same method. He responded with "About a hundred million people asked to pass an amendment to protect the flag. I doubt you could get ten million people to ban 'critisism of the government.'" The key factor here is the words "a hundred million." A hundred million is not a majority of the some 300 million in the United States, so how could they have pushed this amendment thought Congress except to distribute themselves so that they made up majorities in 290 districts? Think about that for a minute.


In case you didn't notice, the Flag Protection Amendment failed. Which puts a monkey wrench in your claim.
 

dstebbins

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Vandeervecken said:
In case you didn't notice, the Flag Protection Amendment failed. Which puts a monkey wrench in your claim.
that's odd. I could have sworn that the roll call records at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/rollcallvotes.html showed that it passed the House of Representatives with eight more than the 2/3 necessary to pass an amendment. As soon my computer speeds up (another computer in the house is downloading a program, so it's taking up bandwidth), I'll find the exact url and post it here. Right now, though, my computer is too slow to worry about.
 

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dstebbins said:
that's odd. I could have sworn that the roll call records at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/rollcallvotes.html showed that it passed the House of Representatives with eight more than the 2/3 necessary to pass an amendment. As soon my computer speeds up (another computer in the house is downloading a program, so it's taking up bandwidth), I'll find the exact url and post it here. Right now, though, my computer is too slow to worry about.

It didnt pass the Senate and it hasn't been sent to the states, much less bassed by them.
So....what?
 

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dstebbins said:
that's odd. I could have sworn that the roll call records at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/rollcallvotes.html showed that it passed the House of Representatives with eight more than the 2/3 necessary to pass an amendment. As soon my computer speeds up (another computer in the house is downloading a program, so it's taking up bandwidth), I'll find the exact url and post it here. Right now, though, my computer is too slow to worry about.

In case you missed it we have a bicameral legislature. [waiting while she looks up bicameral) It has passed the house several times, and in every single case it was shot down in flames in the Senate. It has never passed the senate. It has never been sent to the states.
 
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dstebbins

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dstebbins said:
How many times do I have to say this: That's why I used 67% and 10% instead of 51 and 0. I was allowing room for flexability. As long as at least 290 Congressional districts beared a majority at all that averaged out to be <67% and the remaining 145 districts have any numbers that have an average of ~10%, you will still only have 48% of the total population, or registered voters, whatever.
and yet no one can comment on this.
 

RightinNYC

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dstebbins said:
and yet no one can comment on this.

Because its completely impossible. Know what else could happen?

In 2008, say its McCain v. Hillary Clinton. Say McCain gets 51% of the vote in CA, TX, AZ, FL, GA, IL, IN, MI, OH, NJ, NY, and PA, and Hillary gets 49% in those 12 states. In the other 38 states, Hillary gets massive turnout and gets 100% of the vote. In such a scenario, Hillary could get upwards of 75% of the popular vote and lose the election.

But it won't happen. Just like your scenario. Which is why nobody who has anything better to do cares.
 

dstebbins

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RightatNYU said:
Because its completely impossible. Know what else could happen?

In 2008, say its McCain v. Hillary Clinton. Say McCain gets 51% of the vote in CA, TX, AZ, FL, GA, IL, IN, MI, OH, NJ, NY, and PA, and Hillary gets 49% in those 12 states. In the other 38 states, Hillary gets massive turnout and gets 100% of the vote. In such a scenario, Hillary could get upwards of 75% of the popular vote and lose the election.

But it won't happen. Just like your scenario. Which is why nobody who has anything better to do cares.
there is one big difference between that scenario and mine. With your's you aren't allowing room for differences. With 67 and 10 percent, the numbers can come out to be anything that has a mean of 51 to 67. With your scenario, you're using the smallest and the largest numbers.

Maybe if you were to allow room for fluctuation, you may have an argument. May, because you never know what might happen. It is possible, however unlikely. But if you want to see unlikely things happen every day, you need look no further than the Ripley's organization. One in a million chances happen every day.
 
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