Donald Trump has taken up 110% of the news coverage since the election...but among the avalanche of disasters he has caused, there is one almost totally unreported story that is MUCH more scary: Republicans have now won almost enough state elections to hold a convention to amend the Constitution. How far are they? Just one state away...
That's correct: if they win one more state, they can call for a constitutional convention at which point the Constitution can potentially be changed in unimaginable ways.
One State Away from a Constitutional Convention?
How is that possible? Well, there are two ways to amend the Constitution. The traditional way is that politicians in both houses of U.S. Congress must vote in a 2/3 supermajority to propose an amendment. However, there is a second way, as explained in Article 5 of the Constitution: 2/3 of the state legislatures can vote to hold a "Constitutional Convention," in which amendments can be proposed.
With a total of fifty states, that means that the legislatures in 34 states would need to vote for a convention in order to force one to be called. Although there are differing legal theories, many legal scholars suggest that once a convention is called, any amendment can be proposed -- no matter how crazy. Imagine changing the election frequency to every 50 years...
The article 5 method is something that several groups have been trying to take advantage. On the right, proponents of a balanced budget amendment have been seeking a convention for a long time. On the left, Wolf-Pac is trying to use a convention to get money out of politics.
But regardless of what it's used for, the idea that Republicans only need to win one more state legislature in order to call for a convention is terrifying. We may soon see (due to special elections) whether they are able to get that additional state.
There is a bit of silver lining in this cloud, however. Whatever amendment is proposed would need to pass in 3/4 of the states, which would be a very high bar to achieve.