This coming Tuesday, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to call for a state constitutional convention. While the idea of revising the state constitution is an attractive one, to do so now would be at best a non-event with costly side-effects, and at worst a dangerous exercise in the rollback of currently-existing protections. As a result, we urge voters to reject a constitutional convention at the ballot box this week. In the event of a convention, almost all delegates would be elected from existing state senate districts (15 would be elected at-large). The state senate map is consistently gerrymandered by the Republicans who have controlled the upper chamber for all but three years since 1938.
Senior First Vice Chair Austin McLaughlin ’18 and First Vice Chair Irvin McCullough ’18 found the law and order theme problematic, citing concerns about the message’s racial undertones and hints of authoritarianism.
Tune into any Sunday morning talk show and you will hear about the “growing possibility” of a contested Republican National Convention this coming July. You will most likely hear that “there hasn’t been a contested (or brokered) convention since 1976” when Gerald Ford defeated Ronald Reagan in Kansas City. This is not entirely accurate; while Ford entered the convention with only a plurality of pledged delegates, he quickly won the support of enough unpledged delegates to ensure a victory on the first ballot. The last time our nation saw a real “contested convention” was in 1952, when the Democratic Party nominated Adlai Stevenson, not even a candidate at the start of the convention, instead of Estes Kefauver, who had won all but three primaries that year. Simply put, not since the advent of the modern primary system in 1972 has our country seen a contested convention.