The Constitution is a Suicide Pact

Trump has exposed the soft underbelly of American democracy [Photo: Getty Images]

Uncodified norms, logic-bombs and a Republican party hellbent on power is driving the country towards the abyss: Barton Gellman argues in The Election that Could Break America.

Lawrence Douglas, professor of law and jurisprudence at Amherst College, recently explained: “The Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power but rather, presupposes it.” So begins Gellman’s revelatory piece for the Atlantic Magazine this week. It could not come soon enough. I would like to use this space to highlight some of Gellman’s excellent reporting, and add my voice to the urgent warning of a coming election nightmare.

Gellman argues that the ritual of transition in American politics is little more than courtesy. A set of norms we have come to expect, but not bound by law. He is devastatingly correct. The truth is there are no formal rules binding electors to the popular vote. Nor are there common procedures for the 10,500 local jurisdictions that supervise the election. The system has so far relied on deference and decency.

It is failing.

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