A Democratic House member introduced two proposed constitutional amendments on his party’s first day in power, one of which would abolish the Electoral College.
Rep. Steve Cohen, Tennessee Democrat and a Judiciary Committee member, said in a statement that that proposal was inspired by his party’s defeats in two presidential elections in the past generation — Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In those race “the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College. Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office. More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators. It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President,” Mr. Cohen said in his statement.
The other amendment proposal is also squarely aimed at President Trump — it would bar a president from pardoning himself or numerous close associates.
It apparently would not follow the custom — as did the 22nd Amendment limiting presidential terms, for example — of having the bipartisan gesture of a grandfather clause stating it would not apply to current office-holders.
“Presidents should not pardon themselves, their families, their administration or campaign staff. This constitutional amendment would expressly prohibit this and any future president, from abusing the pardon power,” he wrote.
Constitutional amendments being passed through Congress require approval by two-thirds of both chambers and then by three-fourths of state legislatures, meaning measures perceived as essentially partisan have no realistic chance of passage.
• Victor Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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