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Minority control

It's old news that you can control a single-member district legislature with a quarter of the voting population[1], ideally distributed: half the voters[1] in half the districts, to give you half the legislature. I just realized you can amend the US constitution with 1/3 of the voters.

You need 2/3 of the House and Senate, and 3/4 of the states. House: 1/2 of 2/3 of the districts, for 1/3 of the voters. That's the most stringent consideration. States differ wildly in population, so you need a lot less for 2/3 of the Senate, though I don't feel like doing the math. (IIRC you need 8% of the voters to control a 41% filibuster bloc, given how low population many states are, and our treating Wyoming as importantly as Texas.) 3/4 of the states would means 3/8 of the voters if populations were even, but they're not, and as 3/8 is .375 vs. the .333 of 1/3, I feel confident in risking an assertion that 3/4 of the states won't need as many voters as the 2/3 House requirement.

Note I've been precise in saying "of the voters"; given typical turnouts, the fraction of the population can be slashed in half.

Yes, this is unlikely to happen precisely, but I think a system would be stronger if it couldn't happen at all, e.g. by requiring a direct vote of the people. And given a political bias to most low-pop states, it's certainly possible that an amendment could pass without as much popular support as the Founders intended.

[1] With plurality voting in theory you could need arbitrarily small amounts, what with multiple candidates splitting the vote and only needing a bit more than anyone else.

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Damien Sullivan

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