Quote:Yeah I think this is basically a flawed premise. It's generally the working class (and to be honest anyone left of center) who needs the gears of government to work and move.
The working class elected Trump. The working class would outlaw Islam if it could, and probably any non-Christian religion, certainly witchcraft, probably atheism. The working class would permanently close the southern border. The working class is Republican. (With individual exceptions, of course, but not enough to net out differently.)
Quote: Most of the institutional barriers in place that tend towards gridlock are antidemocratic in their inception.
By design, yes.
Quote: They're meant to protect the wealthy minority from the popular will.
Yes. But not only the wealthy minority. Any minority at all. All minorities need to be protected from the majority. That's the entire reason a Constitutional Bill of Rights is needed. If the majority was virtuous, a Bill of Rights would be superfluous. But no majority in the history of the world has ever been virtuous.
Quote:The party in power is supposed to be able to govern, and if they should win then if they do something irresponsible or extreme then all the more likely they'll lose political favor with most Americans.
That's the European paradigm and some of its modalities would improve things here in the USA, I agree. For example, a two-round election process, as in France, would be better than the USA's first past the post model, I think. Also, the Senate's ridiculous filibuster has no analogue in Europe, and ought to be abolished here, in my opinion. But easily and readily amending the Constitution is a different kettle of fish.
Quote:But the point is that there an asymmetry between the left and the right with respect to this arrangement: if you make it such that legislation is difficult to pass or changes are difficult to make in the name of protecting us from conservative overreach you're actually playing into their hands. The more difficult it is for the public sector to function, the more the right's political agenda is fulfilled. This is why we've come to such a crushing defeat for the Democratic Party that we find outselves at now, I think.
We need a third option. Yes, you're right, the status quo favors Republicans, so keeping it hard to alter the status quo can only favor Republicans. Nevertheless, throwing open the flood gates (as far as Constitutional amendments go) would favor Republicans sometimes, and whenever it did, the result would be very bad for the poor, the brown, the queer, and the pagan. I'm unsure what the third option should be. I'm thinking about it. We need an option that would never allow Republicans to unilaterally pass amendments, because any amendment they unilaterally passed would be a disaster for millions of people.
EDIT: Here's a thought. We amend the Constitution to make future amendments easier to pass, but in this amendment we also (1) establish a general right of the peaceful and honest individual to be left alone by the government; (2) stipulate that neither the federal nor any state legislature may pass a law that diminishes that general right; and (3) stipulate that any amendment to the Constitution that would diminish the general right must be ratified by unanimous votes of all 50 state legislatures, and then, unanimous votes of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
I assume by working class then you mean the WHITE working class, am I right?
Anyway... where is this information coming from? For that matter the idea that Trump was elected by the working class seems pretty suspect as a generalization. A good third of people eligible in, say, the last election didn't vote. Would you like to take a swing at what class the majority of those folks belong to?
Where'd you get all these half baked, unevidence ideas about what the working class would do anyway? Are you thinking of a set of studies or is this more your general impressions and shooting from the hip about human nature?
Finally (for now) you seem pretty cynical about the concept of democracy generally. When we talk about the working class, of a necessity were talking about the majority of people in the country. If they shouldn't have power, then who should? Philosopher kings? If what you'd prefer is an elite minority, well credentialed and high born to run things, rest assured that's what we have now and have for quite some time. And it led to Trump regardless.
Also, I should say I'm interested in in the underlying political theory in principle. I don't think the idea of preserving, amending, or massaging the Constitution is a particularly relevant or significant political question. We'd probably have better results if we burned it and started over from scratch.
--- the late great Donald Blake