Campaign for Amendment Proposed by Congress or by Limited Convention
“…the persons delegated to the administration of the national government will always be disinclined to yield up any portion of the authority of which they were once possessed.” (Alexander Hamilton, 1788)
“The words of this article [V] are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air.…” (Alexander Hamilton, 1788)
It is recognized that the Initiatives Amendment presented on this website is an early draft that requires substantial expert review and revision before the campaign to submit it to the States, and then limited to a few pioneering States so State feedback can be incorporated. It is possible that other organizations will assist or form a coalition since the magnitude of the task is far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary nonprofit corporation.
In all previous State Applications to Congress for an Article V Amendment, whenever the number of State applications has approached or reached two thirds, Congress has itself deemed it necessary, created a Proposed Amendment (i.e., using the first option), and proposed it to the States for ratification. This has ensured that the wording is acceptable to Congress and preempts any need that Congress shall call a Constitutional Convention of the States (limited or not).
First Method Option
In the case of this Initiatives Amendment, it is unlikely that Congress will follow its historic process due to the Amendment’s ability to create limits on Congressional perquisites, constrain Oligarchy, etc. Thus, we must be prepared to use either Article V method, with the second as the more certain to avoid downfall in Congress. We therefore focus on the second method because it offers more certainty and can easily default to the first method if Members of Congress recognizes the extent of its own failure to resist Oligarchy and act honorably to Propose the Initiatives Amendment to the States for ratification.
Second Method Option
This Campaign assumes total opposition from Oligarchy and Congress. The Constitution requires only one essential action by Congress: Article V states “The Congress…on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…”. The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress shall call a convention.” Federalist 85.
This Campaign Uses the Limited Second Method
There is a big difference between a Limited Article V Convention (i.e., limited to a specific Amendment) and a General Convention (i.e., at which any amendments may be introduced, and its consequences are more unforeseeable). The remote possibility of a so-called “runaway convention” outcome is completely nullified, because under all circumstances ¾ (38) of the States must approve the Convention’s outcome. Congress’s 2014 Congressional Research Service and many other authorities explain and confirm the Limited Article V Convention issue in detail.
As a first campaign step, the People should oblige State Legislators, Congresspersons (for insurance), and all Candidates to sign the U.S. Initiatives Amendment Pledge or forgo their vote and make all voters aware of the Candidate’s stance. As necessary, filtering of Candidates at successive elections will eventually prevail for both Amendment Application and Ratification; time and right are on the People’s side.
Campaign Part 1: Use State Legislator Pledge of Support Throughout
The use of pledges by elected political representatives can be extremely effective as shown by the Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Using a similar approach for State Legislators whereby many of the People only vote for legislators who have signed this Initiatives Amendment Pledge draft will be an extremely effective and nationally used tool.
Campaign Part 2: Use State Direct Constitutional Initiatives in 16+ States
The People value initiatives, They are used in 24 States, many cities, and counties. Direct Constitutional Initiatives (see draft) are available in 16 States, potentially enabling the Solution to be added to some State Constitutions, giving it durable permanence and authority.
Campaign Part 3: Use State Legislative Initiatives in 8+ States
In another 8 States legislative Initiatives are powerful, and in at least one State may apply directly to Congress, they can usually be revised by the State Legislature. Combined, Initiative States represent 63 percent of the States needed to ratify a U.S. Initiatives Amendment.
Campaign Part 4: Use State Referenda and Legislation in Remaining States
State Referenda and Legislation must be enacted by State Legislators. The Pledge will be a substantial influence. Use of the public demonstrations, lobbying, donations, and the normal election process will be crucial to finally get to the three-quarters of the States needed for ratification. However, ratification is the last step and so have the greatest time for the People to express their views and exert their will.
With substantial financial support to fund State Initiatives and press the Pledge, success can come in a few years. But it can take a great many years if it is a grassroots effort. The scope of the funding effort will be huge; to think otherwise is naive. A few philanthropists could make a huge difference. It is way beyond the financial capability of this website organization. However, there are hundreds, maybe many thousands, of nonprofit organizations that individually try forlornly to make a change, focusing on one or other of the wide range of issues. Passage of the Initiatives Amendment will provide them with an effective, realistic, and less expensive mechanism for them to pursue their objective.
Despite the vast uncertainties at the start of the campaign, the guesstimate is that the initiatives amendment campaign will cost about $1 billion ($3/Citizen) and take 10 years. After ratification, operating the Initiatives program will cost under $1 billion per year. By comparison, the annual cost of operating Congress is over $4 billion per year, the cost of the 2016 federal elections was $6.5 billion for the presidential and congressional elections combined, and the Federal Budget for 2016 was almost $4,000 billion.
The initial step must be to assemble by internet and conference a team of experts to review and revise the Initiatives Amendment and its two attachments. This should be followed by selection of a smaller member of the 16 States that have Direct Constitutional Initiatives, in which the Amendment will be put on the State ballot for the next election. Concurrently, State Legislators in the selected States should be lobbied to sign the Initiatives Amendment Pledge. The feedback from these efforts will identify revisions, validate the concepts, and set the approach for other States.
If you believe this Solution is worth examining, start an email cascade circulation of this website address (cusdi.org) with a suggestion to continue the cascade. Similarly, use your social media to pass on the message. An organization will be needed in each State to interface with their State Legislatures.
People fear the unknown; nothing new is absolutely assured of success. And certainly, the Initiatives Amendment is a major step in the Great American Experiment in Democracy. The Initiatives Amendment therefore includes a clause whereby it is automatically and gracefully repealed after 10 and 20 years unless the People reaffirm their desire to keep it.