Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

How About a State Constitutional Convention With No Men?

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    California's governing system is broken. To fix it, a new constitution is needed.

    But how to rouse the interest and support to carry off the first California constitutional convention since 1879?

    Here's an idea: Call a convention in which the delegates are only women.

    It's not a crazy idea. Or even an unfair one.

    California has had two constitutional conventions in its history. In 1849, and in 1878-79. Both were failures.

    And both took place before suffrage, so all the delegates were men. The state has been living with the ill-considered work of those men for more than a century.

    So why not give the women a turn?

    Posting the constitutional convention this way isn't just about historical fairness. It's also about politics and public relations.

    The public is wary of a constitutional convention. And getting the public's attention to the idea -- and explaining the history and the need for a convention -- is difficult.

    The all-women idea solves both. It provides a way to tell the story about California's poor constitutional history (in which men are the villains).

    And since the majority of California voters are women, and a majority of voters would have to approve calling for a convention (and approve again the new constitution that a convention adopted), an all-women convention is good politics too.

    Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

    Send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.