This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twenty-third Amendment.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
SECTION 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
When the nation was founded, the District of Columbia was set up as an entity of its own, separate from any state. As such, it had no Congressional representation and no voice in Presidential elections. In fact, it’s not really even self-governing, but is ruled directly by Congress.
In 1960 the Democrats won the White House back after 8 years of Republican occupancy, and they sought to strengthen their chances of holding it. Knowing that a huge percentage of the population of the District of Columbia consisted of federal employees, who were overwhelmingly Democrat, they put forth this amendment to give themselves three fairly safe electoral votes.
They also controlled most state governments at that time, so ratification was a simple matter for them. Politics has always been a dirty business, and this was power politics at its dirtiest.
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.