Turning to a convention of states in times of national crisis is not the answer

By Dorothy Moon
IDGOP Chairwoman

Dorothy Moon
Dorothy Moon

Our country is in a rough place right now, perhaps the worst since the Civil War. Spending is out of control, our southern border is wide open, and Congress seems to be unable (or unwilling) to rein in the deep state swamp. What can we do to save this country we all love?

Some look to an Article V Convention of States to save the day. The framers of the Constitution created a method for amending the document, either by congressional action or a supermajority of states coming together on their own. Such a convention has never occurred in our history under our current Constitution.

While we agree that our country is in dire straits, a Convention of States is not the answer, and here’s why:

First is the risk of a runaway convention. Backers say that this is impossible, that when states pass their resolutions calling for a convention they will restrict it to certain issues such as term limits or a balanced budget, but anything can happen once the convention begins. Remember that the Constitution itself came about when the original thirteen states convened to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Next is the question of who would represent Idaho in a Convention of States? Would it be stalwart conservatives who refuse to give an inch when it comes to protecting our liberties? Or would it be moderates who would be willing to compromise with delegates from blue states to get something done? We simply don’t know.

The biggest question is how organizers expect to ratify any amendments coming out of a Convention of States. There are currently 22 states in which Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, while there are 17 such Democratic states. Since it would take 38 states to ratify any potential amendment, passing anything would require compromise with blue states.

As nice as it would be to think Democrats would be willing to come together on issues such as term limits or a balanced budget, it seems improbable. It is more likely that they would demand concessions on issues such as gun control, diversity, or climate change issues before considering conservative priorities.

The sad truth is that our country is not what it was at its founding. James Madison had high hopes for the ability of sovereign states to guide the direction of the federal government, but where are the modern Madisons to stand for the rights of the states and of the people? States are no longer sovereign, but tightly bound to the federal bureaucracy. I hate to say it, but a Convention of States at this point in our history would be a fool’s errand.

Our government does not follow the Constitution we have, and adding more amendments won’t change that fundamental fact. Right now we should focus on cleaning our own house and making Idaho great — and sovereign — again.

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