Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) fancies himself democracy’s savior. He’s also running for the Senate seat formerly held by Dianne Feinstein. So it’s no wonder that Schiff is proposing radical changes to American political life that, not surprisingly, benefit Democrats at the expense of Republicans.
Schiff is proposing getting rid of the Electoral College, expanding the Supreme Court, and eliminating the filibuster. Each of those proposals would radically alter the balance of power in Congress, the judiciary, and the executive branch.
Schiff is trying to cash in on his notoriety in leading the impeachment of Donald Trump and his high profile on the January 6 Committee.
“I think our democracy is at more grave risk now than ever,” Schiff said in an interview. “And it’s clear that that issue is going to be front and center — and needs to be front and center — on the national stage.”
There’s nothing new in these proposals. They’ve all been suggested at one time or another since Joe Biden took office. But Schiff is trying to sell the changes as good for democracy when the only good that comes from them is in assuring Democratic victory at the polls.
The centerpiece of Schiff’s agenda is his “Protecting Our Democracy Act,” legislation that he first introduced in 2020 to bolster Congress’ ability to enforce subpoenas, limit presidential pardon power and strengthen whistleblower protections. The bill passed the House in 2021, but stalled in the Senate, although some provisions increasing Congress’ oversight of the executive branch made it into law. Schiff reintroduced the legislation last year, but it has yet to get a hearing in the GOP-led House.
Schiff said he has since concluded that legislative reforms would not go far enough and that major structural reforms were necessary. Some of his proposals, such as abolishing the Electoral College or overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on campaign finance, would require constitutional amendments. He also backs changing the Senate’s rules to abolish the filibuster, which he says is necessary to enshrine voting rights, abortion protections, and gun safety measures into law.
Suppose that most voters don’t want to “enshrine” abortion protections or the Democrats’ idea of “voting rights”? We already know what voters think of “gun safety measures.”
All of those issues protect the rights of the minority. The Electoral College reinforces the idea that we’re a federal republic and that small states are as important as big states. “Court-packing” by expanding the Supreme Court to 12 or 14 members is a blatant attempt to give liberals a clear majority on the court. The filibuster ensures that neither side can ram through partisan legislation. Democrats didn’t mind the filibuster in the Trump years. Now with Biden as president, it’s a different story.
Schiff might be forgiven since he’s using this radical agenda to run for the Senate. But even if there’s no chance of getting it passed now, that might not be said in four or five years.