In a recent commentary, I mentioned that long-time adviser to presidents Joe Califano cited the gerrymander, which is the drawing of political boundaries for Congressional districts to give a political party a numerical advantage in an election, as the pre-eminent cause of "congressional crippling or the inability of Congress to accomplish certain legislative goals and also to serve as an effective check on presidential power."
Democrat Laura Kelly is now governor. The Republicans still control both houses of the legislature. Now, the question is whether or not she can accomplish major policy goals such as funding K-12 education, introducing expanded Medicaid, and funding other pressing program needs without a tax increase.
A dramatic assumption of power by presidents has been their role as commander-in-chief. Since 1950, presidents have committed American military forces to combat without a formal declaration of war and with the acquiescence of Congress. How many Americans today know that Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution grants the power to declare war exclusively to Congress?
The new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has as a priority to strengthen our democracy. This includes campaign finance reform, an expansion of voting rights-- including automatic registration for voting-- and reform of legislative redistricting.
I have heard for years, and again recently, that we should not be talking about America having a democracy, but instead that the Founding Fathers created a republic. This view seems to have its origin in Federalist No.
The 15th amendment to the Constitution states: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Joseph A. Califano, who has spent 30 years in Washington serving at the Pentagon, on the White House staff, and in the Cabinet as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and as an advisor to presidents cites gerrymandering--which is the manipulation of political boundaries in the drawing of legislative districts intended to give a political party a numerical voting advantage--as a "preeminent cause of congressional crippling" in his most recent book titled Our Damaged Democracy.
We love our constitution—at least, what we know about it. The Constitution was ratified 231 years ago this past Monday, September 17. Each year, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania surveys Americans on how much they know about the American system of government. Each year, the results demonstrate how little Americans know about the Constitution.