There are a lot of crazy proposals floating around out there concerning some of the most venerable institutions in the United States: the Electoral College, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate.

All three were established as part of the fundamental backbone of American democracy in the Constitution, and all three have been giving liberals heartaches of late. Now, some on the left are proposing abolishing, severely curtailing or completely reimagining all three — to their partisan advantage, of course.

Twice in the past 20 years, Democrats have lost presidential elections thanks to the Electoral College despite winning the popular vote. Both times, these losses resulted in a president taking office whom they widely considered the worst president ever — indeed, the left characterized both George W. Bush and Donald Trump as incompetent, corrupt fools who would destroy America. In both cases, there were serious movements to impeach them after the election, though they were unsuccessful (at least so far).

After both of these failures, liberals began campaigning to either eliminate or at least radically rework the Electoral College. They started trying to get states to sign on to the National Popular Vote scheme, and even introduced bills to simply switch to a popular vote.

With the recent narrow confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, liberals have suggested resurrecting ill-advised plans from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to simply add more justices to get their way. Although the Supreme Court is established in the Constitution, the number of justices is not; it can be changed by statute. There have also been suggestions of having term limits for justices or mandatory retirement ages, as well as changing the confirmation process or ending the Supreme Court’s power to review the constitutionality of laws.

Even before the U.S. Senate confirmed two new conservative justices, there have been calls to eliminate the Senate as a whole.

Progressives saw it as undemocratic, with small states that often elected conservatives getting the same representation as large states that usually elected liberals. They also saw how the minority party could frequently circumvent the wishes of the majority party, and that their legislative goals were often frustrated by filibusters. So some of them have begun to sour on the institution itself, recognizing that it stood in the way of their more grandiose goals.

A major recurring theme with all of these proposals is a failure to recognize that American democracy was designed by our Founding Fathers to represent all of us, not just the majority. The Electoral College and the Senate were intended to ensure that the entire country was represented at the federal level, so that the more populated regions that might tilt one way or the other politically didn’t have complete power. Without them, a small, rural state like Maine would be essentially irrelevant at the federal level and issues vital to us locally could be completely ignored by Washington.

The Supreme Court serves a similarly vitally important role by making sure the rights of individuals are protected under the law. Without the Supreme Court, either party could pass recklessly unconstitutional laws and the minorities whose rights were violated would have no recourse to challenge them. Essentially, the Constitution itself would be transformed into not just a “living” document, as progressives now believe, but a totally meaningless one that the politicians could ignore at will.

If these proposals sound like harebrained schemes to rig the system in one party’s favor just because they’ve lost a few elections, then congratulations — you’re a reasonable person. If, however, some of them seem tempting or appealing to you, then consider this: Imagine what the other party could do if they were in charge under these proposals. Most of these ideas are based on the presumption that, with a few structural changes to American democracy, Democrats can embark on an endless winning streak. However, all over the world we’ve seen conservatives win under very different electoral systems, so why make the presumption that they couldn’t do that here as well?

In proposing changes to the rules or structure of our system, it’s important to consider what might happen if one’s political opponents took advantage of your changes. Our democracy is designed as a system of checks and balances between not just different branches of government, but different ideologies as well.

It may be frustrating at times, but it’s important that we preserve that, lest the extremists — from either end of the spectrum — seize full control and run roughshod over the Constitution.

Jim Fossel, a conservative activist from Gardiner, worked for Sen. Susan Collins. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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