Jim Fossel’s Nov. 4 column, “Rethinking institutions ill-advised” (Page D1), is a good example of why we have problems in our political system today.

Fossel sets up a straw dog, suggesting that, because we have had two presidential elections in which the majority voted against the winning candidate as decided by the Electoral College (aided, in one case, by a Supreme Court decision), calls to reform the Electoral College and the Supreme Court are invalid and “extremist,” as they would undermine the power of a minority of the electorate to decide who is president. Fossel suggests that this is another scheme by Democrats “to rig the system in one party’s favor.”

True, there are a few people who advocate reforming a system in which the minority sometimes rules and the majority sometimes is fleeced, but it is not a Democratic Party position.

Why does Fossel make these accusations unless it is an effort to terrify, intimidate, enrage and motivate a portion of the electorate?

I could write a similar op-ed about Republican Party efforts to undermine the Constitution by calling for a constitutional convention where they could pass amendments banning abortion and abolishing the citizenship rights of all people born in the U.S. to non-U.S. citizens. Thankfully, that is not yet the case … but it could be, and that is what is wrong with Fossel’s style of argument: Rather than attacking one party or the other by suggesting they are “extreme,” when in fact that is not their position, let’s discuss ways to strengthen our democratic system by improving voter turnout, rational debates on policy choices and the direction of the country.

No one has a corner on solutions, and all sides would benefit from an honest discussion of problems. Perhaps Jim Fossel could use his bully pulpit to start this dialogue.

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