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Mr. WEKSELMAN. I hope we are not guilty of that, and I would hope that I or any organization with which I am connected would never take a position that equality had anything whatsoever to do with a political philosophy, and that is not what we are trying to maintain. We are simply trying to point out that the urban groups in this country are disadvantaged by one section of our tripartite Federal establishment, and since they are, they are properly entitled to recoup that disadvantage in another section of it, and it is as simple as that.
Senator Bayh. Are all the Supreme Court decisions and the efforts that Congress has made for naught?
Mr. WEKSELMAN. No, that is not so at all, but the Supreme Court cannot direct the Congress as to how it should select its committee chairmen, and the Supreme Court cannot decree that representation in the U.S. Senate shall be by population only.
Senator BAYH. I personally do not think it should.
Senator Bayh. I do not think it should either. How do you reconcile a situation like the one that existed in Arkansas? Here you have slightly more than 60 percent of the voters of that State voting against George Wallace, and yet all of the electors of Arkansas went to George Wallace. How do you impart equality into that? How do you accommodate the interests of the people who supposed Nixon and Humphrey, that had all their votes cast for Wallace?
Mr. WEKSELMAN. You know you ask the question, Senator Bayh, which stops a man of my persuasion every time. It cannot be reconciled on any rational grounds which would appeal to a person who believes in democratic institutions, obviously.
Senator Bayh. You understand that you are in a very tenuous position here?
Mr. WEKSELMAN. Of course.
Senator BayH. I want to make sure you do not underestimate the tenuousness of your position, because I think you are way out on a limb.
Mr. WEKSELMAN. Senator, you have emphasized the tenuousness of my position to the extent that I am squirming in my chair, but nevertheless the fact is that throughout our national history, certainly for the last 80 years, the people who voted for, the people who put out the most votes for a presidential candidate elected the President, so 60 percent of the people in Arkansas, the argument can be made, were disenfranchised, but in actuality they were not. You could go to a proportional system and solve that, but as we have seen, that does not cure any problems either, and there can be no doubt, Senator Bayh, as I said earlier, that the only guaranteed way to elect the popular choice of the people is by a direct popular election. That is the only guaranteed way.
But as I say, it seems to me that we give up too much which has been very very healthy for the growth and development of our country, to achieve that.
We do not have pure democracy in every instance anywhere in our national life, and I do not think that it is really necessary that we have pure democracy in the Presidency and nowhere else, because we really do not have it anywhere else.
Senator Bays. Let me suggest, you are pretty hard put to substantiate that. Do you know one other election where the candidate with the most votes can lose?
Mr. WEKSELMAN. No; I do not.
Senator Bayh. Sure we have a representative form of government. The President is the one representative of all the people. Every other election I have run across, and we have done 4 years of research, whatever the election may be, the fellow who gets the most votes wins except when you are electing the President of the United States ? Mr. WEKSELMAN. That is correct.
Senator Bayh. You said this was a maxi-response to a mini-problem. When we are talking about a 1948 election, where if there had been a change of less than 30,000 votes Tom Dewey would have been elected President despite Harry Truman's 2 million votes plurality, when we are talking about a 1968 election, where a change of 42,000 votes would have thrown this whole election into the House of Representatives, with everything that that means, and with the specter of George Wallace, or any candidate, saying:“What am I bid to make you President," I do not see how you can describe that as a mini-problem.
Mr. WEKSELMAN. The only reason that I can is because it just has not occurred. Maybe it is just a matter of dumb luck, but the system has worked, and I hesitate to tinker with it and get into the possibility of so many things which could occur if we changed it, when the system has worked well now.
The same article that I was reading to you before from Clinton Rossiter, he said:
There are several reasons, all of them convicing, why we should hesitate a long time before replacing a humpty-dumpty system that worksAnd there can be no doubt it is a humpty-dumpty system but it does workWith a neat one that may blow up in our faces. All the arguments for the system are practical. Most of those against it are theoretical. Until we are sure that the Presidency itself will not suffer from a radical change in the method of election, we had best stand fast on tradition and prescription.
Senator BAYH. I must say I never thuoght I would hear a witness representing the American Jewish Congress saying we ought to stand on tradition.
Mr. WEKSELMAN. I was just about to add, Senator Bayh, that obviously I am not a traditionalist, and that is not the reason at all. I told you some time ago that I am not going to make any kind of an argument for the preservation of the Federal-State relationships or anything of that kind. I think what I am making is a practical political argument for preservation of a system which enables the various segments of our population to balance each other off.
Senator Bays. Let me touch quickly on the two-party system argument. I want to suggest to you that nobody knows what impact direct popular vote system would have on the party system. I think it is rather inconsistent to argue that the present system prevents three parties, because one of our major parties today started out as a splinter party, and the reason that I think we are closer to dealing with the problem now than we have ever been before is because of the existence of a third party. In fact in many ways the present system provides an incentive to third parties, certainly it has not precluded splinter parties. · The American Bar Association in their 10 months study consulted the works of 10 leading political scientists. I do not know whether Rossiter was one of them. I will ask counsel to get the names of these work. I know that the late V. O. Key was one of the authors, recognized political scientists, who studied the political structure and every one of those 10 came to the conclusion that the electoral college, as the vehicle for electing the President of the United States, had a relatively insignificant part to play in the development and the maintenance of the two-party system.
I do not know whether I am right or not but the Bar Association was certainly impressed with this argument. If you are really concerned, as I am, about how you generate more political activity and get more people involved in the system, then the present system really does not do that. Presently in those States where you think you are going to win big or you are going to lose big, there is no incentive to get involved in political activity, and that is because of the winnertake-all system. Under popular election, however, the Republican precinct committeemen and the Democratic precinot committeemen, in those traditionally one-party States are not going to take it easy.
Any political leader, large or small, knows each 50 votes he can get, wherever they are, are going to count and this is going to make a more meaningful two-party system.
(The American Bar Association study follows:)
Commission on Electoral College Reform
American Bar Association
American Bar Association
John D. Feerick, Advisor to Commission
Edward W. Kuhn, Board of Governors Liaison