作者:Megan Day and Bhaskar Sunkara
左翼作家如《雅各宾》（一本左翼杂志）的Seth Ackerman和记者Daniel Lazare长期以来一直认为宪法改革需要提上议事日程。甚至像《VOX》（《声音》）的Matthew Yglesias这样的自由主义者也担心当前的治理体制将走向崩溃。
Think the Constitution Will Save Us? Think Again
The subversion of democracy was the explicit intent of the framers.
By Meagan Day and BhaskarSunkara
Ms. Day is a staff writer at Jacobin, where Mr. Sunkara is editor.
Aug. 9, 2018
Many progressives view the Constitution as a defense against Trump. But it was made for rich businessmen like him.CreditCharlesMostoller for The New York Times
Consider a few facts: Donald Trump is in the White House, despite winning almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. The Senate, the country’s most powerful legislative chamber, grants the same representation to Wyoming’s 579,315 residents as it does to 39,536,653 Californians. Key voting rights are denied to citizens in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other United States territories. The American government is structured by an 18th-century text that is almost impossible to change.
These ills didn’t come about by accident; the subversion of democracy was the explicit intent of the Constitution’s framers. For James Madison, writing in Federalist No. 10, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention” incompatible with the rights of property owners. The byzantine Constitution he helped create serves as the foundation for a system of government that rules over people, rather than an evolving tool for popular self-government.
Writers on the left such as Jacobin’s Seth Ackerman and the journalist Daniel Lazare have long argued that constitutional reform needs to be on the agenda. Even some liberals like Vox’s Matthew Yglesias rightly worry that the current system of governance is headed toward collapse.
These perspectives are vital at a time when many progressives regard the Constitution as our only line of defense against a would-be autocrat in the White House. Yet whether or not the president knows it, the Constitution has long been venerated by conservative business elites like himself on the grounds that it hands them the power to fend off attempts to redistribute wealth and create new social guarantees in the interest of working people. There’s a reason we’re the only developed country without guarantees such as universal health care and paid maternity leave. While preserving and expanding the Bill of Rights’s incomplete safeguards of individual freedoms, we need to start working toward the establishment of a new political system that truly represents Americans. Our ideal should be a strong federal government powered by a proportionally elected unicameral legislature. But intermediary steps toward that vision can be taken by abolishing the filibuster, establishing federal control over elections and developing a simpler way to amend the Constitution through national referendum.
How hard would change be? As Mr. Ackerman reminds us, while constitutional change is straightforward and feasible in most countries, “an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the consent of no less than thirty-nine different legislatures comprising roughly seventy-eight separately elected chambers.”
But it’s a problem worth confronting. As long as we think of our Constitution as a sacred document, instead of an outdated relic, we’ll have to deal with its anti-democratic consequences.
This article is part of the Opinion Today newsletter. David Leonhardt, the newsletter’s author, is on a break until Aug. 27. While he’s gone, several outside writers are taking his place. This week’s authors are Meagan Day, a writer for the socialist magazine Jacobin, and BhaskarSunkara, the magazine’s editor. You can sign up here to receive the newsletter each weekday.