4 July 2012
Kathleen and I have only one political difference: “Just once,” Kathleen moans, “I’d like to vote for someone I really liked.” I, for my part, can’t imagine such a development — as a matter of principle, anyway. As a matter of fact, I’ve always liked Michael Bloomberg, as mayor. I don’t really care to know him, or any other elected official, any better than that. I believe in impersonal politics! Once, over at the Lexington Candy Shop, Rudolph Giuliani, then a district attorney, walked in to canvass the joint, and I couldn’t bear him from that moment on. I would be horrified to learn that a friend (or, more likely, a friend’s child) was running for office.
Thinking about the transports into which TED talks propel enthusiastic audiences, I can only imagine the shudder with which the Founders would have responded to the discovery, not yet made in their time, that highly-educated men (and women) of property can be swayed by savvy political appearances. Would it have mitigated or intensified their horror to know that very few people are ever transported across party lines?
Whenever I try to think of ways to fix the United States, I always bump up against states, and the preposterous meaningless boundaries with respect to population. History advises me that no one is ever going to redraw those lines. Montana will always be a big emptiness in the middle of nowhere, with two votes in the Senate.
It occurred to me yesterday that we might tackle the problem from the other direction. Create six to ten superstates, each centered on a major metropolitcan area, and give each one a clutch of extra senators. Work out the details and put the proposal into one tidy Constitutional Amendment. See how it goes. Most Americans would see their voting power shoot up, and swing states would be a thing of the past. Along with a lot of other headaches.