Topical Controversy A National Initiative Part 6

About the controversy surrounding a national initiative giving the public a vote on matters of government legislation.



National Initiative: What If . . . ?

If the result of national public-opinion polls can be used to judge the voting in initiative elections, here are some of the things that would be different if a national-initiative law had taken effect in 1950.

By 1952 party conventions would have been eliminated, and presidential candidates would be chosen instead by a nationwide primary election.

In 1953 the voting age would have been lowered to 18. (The politicians didn't get around to doing this until 1971.)

By 1965 all electric and telephone wires would have been moved underground.

The electoral college would have been discarded by the mid-1960s, and presidential elections would be decided by direct popular vote.

In 1969 it would have become illegal to heckle. In the same year, compulsory national service would have been instituted, giving young men the choice between military and nonmilitary service.

U.S. troops would have been withdrawn completely from Vietnam by the end of 1970. (This would have saved 4,852 American lives, kept another 60,000 Americans from being wounded, and prevented over 400,000 Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian casualties.)

The Equal Rights Amendment would have passed in 1975 (or any year since).

The draft would have been reinstituted in 1980, with women included.

The government would be legally obligated to balance the federal budget.

There would be public funding of congressional campaigns, and no private contributions would be allowed.

Able-bodied welfare mothers with no children under the age of 13 would be required to take whatever full-time work was available. (A majority of all segments of the population approve this proposal, including the poor.)

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