A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country
A More Perfect Constitution 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country Author:Larry J. Sabato “No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs to the living generation.”—Thomas Jefferson — “A constitution intended to endure for years to come [is] consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.”—John Marshall “T... more »his book will ask readers to set aside their own political loyalties, to look past the current ‘values’ debates and hot-button issues, to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction.”—Larry SabatoThe political book of the year, from the acclaimed founder and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry Sabato has one of the most visionary and fertile political minds in America. Like so many, he is increasingly alarmed at the growing dysfunction and unfairness of our political system. To solve this, to restore the equity for ordinary citizens that is at the core of our democratic society, we must take a radical step—to revise the Constitution, the document that guides our political process, for until some of its outmoded provisions are reformed, we will only have more of the same.
The original framers fully expected the Constitution to be regularly revised by succeeding generations to reflect the country’s changing needs; yet, apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended 17 times in 220 years, and most of those amendments had minor ramifications. Today, partisan gridlock dominates Washington; 17 percent of voters elect a majority of senators; the presidency has assumed unprecedented and unintended powers; while politicians spend as much time campaigning for office as they do governing; and average Americans feel more and more disconnected from the political process so that half or more don’t vote in many elections—all of which would have horrified Jefferson and Madison.
A More Perfect Constitution presents twenty three creative and dynamic proposals to reinvigorate American governance at a time when such change is urgently needed. Combining idealism and pragmatism, and with full respect for the original document, Sabato's thought-provoking ideas range from the length of the president’s term in office and the number and terms of Supreme Court justices to the structure of Congress, the vagaries of the antiquated Electoral College, and a compelling call for universal national service—all laced through with the history behind each issue and their potential impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Aware that such changes won’t happen easily, Sabato urges us nonetheless to engage in the debate and discussion they will surely engender. As we head towards a presidential election year, no book is more relevant or significant than his.« less