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Democrats Elections Politics Republicans

Democrats Are Desperate For Win In Florida Special Election

Rod Thomson

Why is former Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for an unknown Democrat in a single open Florida House seat that means nothing to state governance? And why are gobs of money from Democratic donors around the nation pouring in to this special election covering North Sarasota?

Because Democrats have been losing a lot lately — the historic tax reform success, roaring economy, their fiasco of a performance at the State of the Union, apparent collusion between Democrats and Russia and now Obama being outed in a bald-faced lie on discussing the Clinton email investigation with the FBI. Further, GOP poll numbers have closed the gap sharply on Democrats in the generic ballot poll and Trump’s approvals are improving in all polls.

This is all terrible for Democrats. They are desperate for a victory, and a fairly even House district in Southwest Florida may be just the ticket. Rep. Julio Gonzalez explains the underlying desperation in his article on the death throes of the Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

Here’s the setting.

Florida House District 72 covers northern Sarasota County and has a modest four percentage point advantage in registration for Republicans. The seat has been held by Democrats and moderate Republicans and the last Republican holder resigned mid-term, setting up this special election.

The election has elicited record turnout in voters before the polls even open on election day, Tuesday, with more early voting still to be done.

The race pits conservative Republican James Buchanan, son of Congressman Vern Buchanan, against liberal Democrat lawyer Margaret Good and a very strong Libertarian Party candidate in Alison Foxall.

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The Florida Legislature boasts a veto-proof Republican majority, so this race has no meaning in Tallahassee functioning. Yet it is awash in money. Buchanan comes with the deep ties and wealth of his father and through Jan. 4 had raised a total of $282,630 — and a lot more since then. Much came from a previous race he was planning to run in. But Good had quickly raised $227,314 in just a few months. And Foxall had raised nearly $15,000, more than any Libertarian state House candidate in Florida history. Plus, there has already been hundreds of thousands spent through campaign PACs on both sides.

And while Biden has endorsed Good, Gov. Rick Scott has endorsed Buchanan. Former Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski is visiting Sarasota Sunday and will likely endorse Buchanan.

All of this is a lot of heft for a race that is all but meaningless as far as governance goes. But Democrats are desperate for some sort of win, something suggesting they have not totally lost all of the political mojo they showed for much of 2017 when it looked like a wave election could be developing in the 2018 mid-term. That hope is dwindling daily.

The win-at-all-costs strategy shows in more than fundraising. Advertising is not just the normal negative attack ads, but almost ridiculous attack ads. Here’s a prime example:

Democrat Good is sending out mailers claiming that Buchanan does not believe in climate change. There is not even a tiny shred of truth to this, and Good seems to know it. In fact, Buchanan is probably more pro-environment than your average moderate Republican.

In a recent debate on the local ABC affiliate, Buchanan said he does believe climate change is real and serious and opposes offshore drilling in Florida. In fact, he says it all the time. He said it again at another debate. Even the local media is picking up on the lie. A recent newspaper article reported: “(Good’s) campaign has not offered any proof that Buchanan ever said he doesn’t believe in climate change.”

But Good keeps pushing the demonstrable lie: “Either he doesn’t believe in it or he doesn’t care,” Good said, because…wait for it… “Buchanan has investments in oil companies and has received campaign contributions from the sugar industry, which is often blamed for polluting the Everglades.”

There you go. Investments in oil companies mean you don’t believe in climate change. Does Good drive a combustion engine car? Does it have tires? Apparently she doesn’t believe in climate change either, as she is supporting the oil companies. And the Everglades bit just shows there is nothing there. Polluting the Glades, bad. Polluting the Glades affecting global climate change? Um, no.

But Good is sticking with those attack ads. Why? The obvious answer is that climate change (read: rising sea levels) in a coastal Florida district is a big issue. So, you know, just lie. And then spend tons of money — the majority of it from out of state — to spread the lie to unwary coastal voters before the election.

This is how wildly desperate the Democrats are to get even the tiniest win.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
Christianity Elections Truth

Does William Wilberforce Make the Case for Roy Moore?

Rod Thomson

William Wilberforce was a 19th Century English political leader, devout Christian and the driving force behind Great Britain’s ban on slavery. He employed a principled Biblical understanding of the inherent value of every person and a practical willingness to compromise and take very small steps at times.

He is revered — by those who know his story. He was as morally upright as they come, although he would have decried such a description. His Christian life was the central focus of his life and he was a relentless fighter for what he believed was right — despite being barely five feet tall and sickly his entire life.

So for the voters of Alabama, including many Christians who are unsure if they can vote for Roy Moore, perhaps Wilberforce provides a way of measuring the decision by a man who more than understood the dilemma. It’s not as simple as maintaining total purity in whom one will support, or the end justifies the means.

Wilberforce was at once both a moral immediatist in abolishing slavery — he believed it must be 100 percent dismantled immediately — and a strategic incrementalist with a long-term view to take each necessary step to reach abolishment. His style and exhortations could in a sense be used to argue against a vote for Moore. But his actions tended more towards a vote for Moore.

Clarke Forsythe, M.A. in Bioethics from Trinity International University, wrote of Wilberforce in Politics for the Greatest Good:

“Although Wilberforce sponsored a motion for general and immediate abolition annually for several years, abolition came not immediately and totally, but in intent and in effect, incrementally. The slave trade was incrementally reduced by regulations and partial prohibitions, and those incremental reductions were tied, in public debate, to issues of national interest rather than strong arguments of morality – “justice” and “humanity” – which were reserved until the final stroke. The incremental reductions served to eliminate the fears raised by the claims of the slave traders. Though Wilberforce and his allies had the strongest moral motivations, they exhibited strategic, tactical and rhetorical flexibility in their actions and arguments in large part because they stayed focused on the end result and did not confuse the goal with their motivations.”

 

Compromise and sacrifice

Wilberforce’s choice to introduce a bill every year for the immediate abolition of slavery was a decision that politically eliminated him from ever becoming Prime Minister, which many thought he could probably obtain. But after going nowhere a few rounds, he began a more long-term approach that some refer to as incrementalism.

He was able to pass a bill banning the slave trade in certain parts of Africa and to certain parts of the colonies. It was a tiny step to slow the trade. He passed a bill limiting the number of slaves that can be shipped on British ships and a series of proposals called “amelioration bills” for better living conditions for slaves. This was argued on the basis of creating “humane” conditions on slave ships. Clanging words to our ears, but another step in reigning in some of the suffering by reducing the total trade.

These and other bills acted to reduce the profit and value of slavery. That, in turn, reduced the political support for the slave trade until it finally reached the point that Wilberforce and his allies in Parliament could bring the hammer to the cracking institution and finally destroy slavery in Great Britain and throughout the British Empire.

To accomplish this, Wilberforce not only compromised on immediate abolition, but he worked consistently on the incremental bills with members of Parliament who supported the slave trade and even participated profitably in it. He could be criticized for cooperating with slaver interests and not fighting to get full abolition sooner. And it was surely distasteful at times. But historians generally agree that without the incrementalism that reduced the political support, there was too much power in the slave trade to get full abolition passed.

The Wilberforce model has served as a bit of a guide — although not unanimously — for those who believe abortion is as morally abhorrent as slavery. Laws such as banning abortions once a baby in the womb is pain capable, waiting periods and requirement on mothers to see an ultrasound are in line with incrementalism even though the two issues are not completely analogous.

Tying these together a bit, the difference between Roy Moore and his opponent, Doug Jones, on the issue of abortion could not be more stark. Moore is pro sanctity of life from conception while Jones favors a woman’s right to kill her baby until the moment of birth.

Where would Wilberforce stand on this option, when Moore has a more questionable moral past than what is known about Doug Jones?

If Wilberforce had maintained a personal purity on who he would work with and what he would compromise — and stuck with total immediacy regarding the end of slavery rather than taking some bad to get more good — it seems unlikely he would have led the abolishment of slavery and that wicked institution would have continued to destroy lives for years or decades.

Can the same argument be made for Moore regarding abortion and federal judges who would rule more strongly in favor of personal freedoms — and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade and expand religious freedom? Is that an acceptable trade? Alabama voters will have to decide that one.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.

Categories
Constitution Elections Electoral College Truth

The Electoral College is Essential to America

By KrisAnne Hall

On Wednesday, the Oregon House passed legislation (HB 2927) that would require Oregon to award its Electoral College votes only to presidential candidates who win the national popular vote. According to National Popular Vote, this kind of legislation has already been passed by 10 states, (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) and the District of Columbia.

To be clear, Oregon and these other 10 are not technically abolishing the Electoral College but altering it. Article 2 section 2 clauses 2 and 3 and the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution require states to establish electors that will choose the president and vice president of the United States. These states are not eliminating their Electoral College, they are eliminating the voice of their citizens and eliminating the legitimacy and relevance of their state’s involvement in the political process. In short, disenfranchising the vote of an entire state.

The process of the Electoral College was established for a specific reason.

Because we have failed, for generations, to teach an accurate application of the Constitution, many people like Oregon Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer believe that the Electoral College is “flawed and outdated.” Keny-Guyer told Oregon Live, “The Electoral College does not fit the ‘We The People’ and ‘One person, one vote’ style of government. Keny-Guyer and those who believe as she does simply do not understand why the Electoral College was established and how that process protects her individual liberty and the sovereignty of her state.

She also doesn’t understand that neither Oregon nor America are democracies, but instead are Constitutional Republics. The incessant push toward being ruled by majority opinion is supposed to be antithetical to the American character, unfortunately the dearth of real education in America has created an equal scarcity of understanding about America’s fundamental principles.

 

The reason for the Electoral College

The process of the Electoral College was established to ensure that the person elected to be president of these United States would accurately represent the union as a whole, not favoring certain States while ignoring others. The office of president, contrary to popular belief, was never designed to be a representative of individual citizens, but rather a representative of the collective interests of the states.

A survey of the powers delegated to the president via Article 2 of the Constitution makes the role of the president quite clear. He is not the “leader of America,” he is the leader of the military upon declaration of war by Congress  He is part of the treaty process that makes contractual agreements with foreign governments and the states. Most everything that the president is to do, he does only with the consent of the Senate (the voice of the states).

Together, the President and the Senate ensure that each state’s interests are represented equally in matters of war, peace, and foreign commerce. The office of the president was established to be the voice to foreign countries on behalf of the collective states. Because he is the representative of the states, the electors of the state are to choose their president based upon the person they believe will best represent the principles and interests of their state.

There is no power delegated by the Constitution to the president that authorizes him to directly affect the lives of the people. The only power held by the president to touch lives individually would be that of the power to grant reprieves or pardons for federal crimes — and that was established to be a check and balance upon the judiciary, not a system of personal favors to individuals.

Because the president’s role in government is to be an ambassador on behalf of the states, the states must choose their representative. The popular vote for president that takes place within the state ensures that the principles and the interests of the people of that state guide and direct the electors in their choice of president. These subtle distinctions are hard for Americans to grasp since we perceive our nation to be a unitary whole where the states provide support to the central government that directs them.

We have forgotten that our republic is a collection of independent sovereign states who created the District of Columbia to represent their interests.

 

The dangers of the popular vote movement

The national popular vote movement takes us even farther away from our Constitutional structure by further removing the independence of the states, and eliminating the voice of the people within those states.

This new legislation proposes that once a popular vote is complete across the nation, each elector of the state must choose the person elected by popular vote regardless of the collective choice of his fellow state citizens. This legislation mandates that each state submit to the popular choice of the nation as a whole, regardless of whether that candidate best represents the interests and principles of the people of that state.

Through popular vote, the individual states would become completely irrelevant in the processes of the federal government. The president would no longer be required to ensure all states’ interests were represented in matters of foreign affairs. The president’s only concern, throughout the entire four years of his term, would be to make sure the select few states, with the greatest voting population, and the biggest cities, were happy and pleased with the execution of his power. It would be like Georgia surrendering all its voice to New York and legislating themselves out of the political process or like Connecticut asking Texas to decide what is in the best interest of Connecticut. So in this specific case, Oregon’s legislation actually makes its residents more subservient as a small state.

Future presidents could then ignore all but a few states.

All treaties could be focused upon the prosperity and growth of a select few states, at best ignoring the rest, at worst requiring the lesser populated states to enrich the other states via treaties and regulations. All wars could be conducted in the interest of a few states and all peace could be negotiated to benefit the few over the whole. Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices could be chosen from persons of those few big population states because there would be no motivation to make an equitable search. Every state that did not hold the majority voting population would be relegated to being a spectator in the entire political process.

 

The very point of the Constitution’s framers

Charles Cotesworth Pickney, delegate to the Constitutional Convention summed up what was not only the popular belief of the delegates, but would also become the controlling belief in establishing Article 2 section 1 clauses 2 and 3 of the Constitution. He classified a national popular vote of the president to be “liable to the most obvious & striking objections.” He said if the people were to elect the president by popular vote, “They will be led by a few active & designing men. The most populous States by combining in favor of the same individual will be able to carry their points.” (Editor’s note: See also Explaining the Brilliance of the Electoral College)

Not only will the States be silenced in their political affairs nationally and in foreign negotiations, the national popular vote would ensure that the people themselves would be silenced. What would be the point in voting if you didn’t live in one of the largest population states when your interests won’t be represented? Every presidential election would be chosen by these few states and these few states would grow and maintain their voting power, because the national popular vote system would ensure the enrichment of these states over the smaller states. A national popular vote is, in fact, an oxymoron as it would only reflect the voice of the majority, denying every person in their state a voice in the presidential election.

Those who cry for a national popular vote, do so out of ignorance, yet maddening on toward their own destruction. Oregon and states like her will not achieve a greater voice with the elimination of the Constitutional process of the Electoral College, they will ensure their political irrelevance from this day forward.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com

Categories
Elections Politics Truth

2016 Election Reaction Identical to 2012 — Except Where it is the Opposite

By Rod Thomson

In some eerie ways, this election mirrors the 2012 election by response. And in a few startling ways, the response is dramatically different.

The way conservatives and Republicans felt after 2012 is amazingly akin to how liberals and Democrats feel now. Their actions were different, but they had the same gut-punch sense in the loss.

Let’s go through the list:

  • In 2012, Republicans were pretty sure Romney was going to win, given the terrible state of the economy and foreign affairs and the erosion of the American dream. But Obama won with plenty of margin. There was a head-shaking depression on the right and a lot of people saying, “I don’t know my country anymore. I guess we are a socialist nation.”
  • In 2016, Democrats are practically quoting Republicans from four years earlier on an inability to understand the country and electorate. I’ve heard Democrats say and write the exact same thing I was saying and writing four years ago.
  • In 2012, Republicans saw “commies” behind every bush. Obama was a commie, or maybe a jihadi, and the supporters who put him over the top were in those groups, too.
  • In 2016, Democrats see the alt right and white nationalists behind every bush and they are the wicked Americans who pushed Trump over the top. It’s basically a plug and play switch-out, insert alt right and nationalists for commies and jihadis.
  • In 2012, Republicans thought that the election outcome may be the end of the country as we knew it. We were sure the United States would not last in any recoverable way after another four years under Obama.
  • In 2016, the Democrats see the country under an existential threat from the presidency of Trump, and wonder if it will ever be the same.

Alas, most liberals I know actually cannot see these similarities. They are utterly convinced that there has never been a time like this. Ever! Let’s hope this is not the new norm for post-presidential elections from whichever side loses.

However, importantly there are a few stark and telling differences in the responses between conservatives and liberals.

 

Stark differences

First, in 2012, Republicans did not blame black people for voting virtually as one for the black president again. Or Hispanics for continuing to vote heavily Democrat. Conservatives did not charge racism and hatred of whites by blacks.

Democrats’ response in 2016 has been to blame white people. In fact the tirades on Twitter and elsewhere by celebrities and media members have been fairly jaw-dropping. Here are a few of the cleaner examples posted the day after the election on Twitter.

  • Our country hates Jews, muslims, women, black people, LGBTQ, and women. That’s the only takeaway from tonight. — Timothy Simons (@timothycsimons) Actor
  • world will never be the same. I feel Sad for the young.?will never be more than the toilet, I’ve used as a symbol 4 Him. U Can’t Polish ?  — Cher (@cher)
  • I was wrong. I thought America couldn’t possibly disappoint me more than it already had. But, I was wrong. RIP America. — Talib Kweli Greene @TalibKweli Music Artist
  • I didn’t quite understand how much white people hated us, or could at least live with that hate. Now I do. — Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) @Slate Chief Political Correspondent. @CBSNews Political Analyst.  
  • If trump wins I don’t want to hear another f***ing single person tell me what the white supremacist patriarchy doesn’t exist — Anne Thériault (@anne_theriault) Popular blogger
  • This is how much our country hates women. I have never been sadder for us. — Julieanne Smolinski (@BoobsRadley) TV writer
  • Eight years of black president followed by a female president was too much of a threat to white male authority. — Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) Writer. Lawyer. Author of the The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.
  • how do we explain this to our kids? — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) Meteorologist, host of @ourwarmregards podcast

The Nation magazine, one of the long-time standard-bearers of American liberalism, published an essay entitled: “This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like. Don’t be confused. Trump’s voters didn’t vote against their own interests, they voted for the preservation of white privilege — their paramount interest.

Slate published an article entitled, “White Won.” (This despite the fact that Trump actually got a smaller percentage of the white vote than Romney did.)

This response appears to head-in-the-ground groupthink rooted in emotional irrationalism.

The facts are that whites routinely split their votes between parties every election far more evenly than do blacks or Hispanics — and voted heavily for a black president twice. That is, whites tend not to vote as a racial group or use identity politics to achieve power. Actually, just factually speaking both blacks and Hispanics do that much more and every election. Yet, the bogeyman behind Trump’s election is racist whites voting as whites — while Trump got a smaller share of the white vote than Romney.

Emotional irrationalism.

 

More stark differences

Republicans did not riot in the streets following the depressing re-election of Obama. Actually Republicans and conservatives virtually never riot. That is entirely a function of liberals in this country. Republicans did not block streets, set fire to buildings and generally throw a public temper tantrum at not getting their way.

Republicans did not speciously claim that their candidate was cheated and refuse to accept the results. There were no hashtags #hesnotmypresident. We accepted the gut-wrenching results. Conservatives were downcast about the future, but virtually no one suggested Obama was not our president.

Republicans did not rage against any race or blame the election process. We did not vandalize national memorials as was done in Richmond to the Jefferson Memorial.

And we most certainly did not advocate disrupting the inauguration of the new president — in 2008 or 2012 — as many are doing now, including the reliably repulsive Michael Moore.

Our opposition to Obama and depression at his victory was based on his policies, which we believed then and still do now were detrimental to the well-being of the United States.

But don’t think for a moment that conservatives were not slump-shouldered and depressed for weeks and months after the 2012 re-election of Obama.

We just accepted the defeat as responsible Americans. This reaction reflects the difference in a worldview that looks to personal responsibility, family and church first, as opposed to government first.

The photo with this post is the defacing of the Jefferson Memorial in Richmond after the election of Donald Trump.

Categories
Elections Politics Truth

The Immorality of Changing the Rules After an Election

By Rod Thomson

Some bad ideas just won’t die. Most recently, the continuing effort by those who lost the Presidential election to retrospectively change the rules continues to plow on — naturally enough courtesy of the friendly mainstream media megaphone.

Electors should not vote for the candidate who won their state, as the rules call for, but for the candidate who won the national vote, argues Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig in the Washington Post. “The framers left the electors free to choose. They should exercise that choice by leaving the election as the people decided it: in Clinton’s favor” Lessig wrote.

Essentially, he argues that there is nothing in the Constitution that overtly requires electors to vote for the candidate who won their state. Therefore they are free to, and ought to, vote for the candidate who won the popular vote. Of course, he does not mention electors are required to follow the rules of the various states in which they are elected.

But aside from an attempt to re-write our long-term understanding of elections, this is a deeply disingenuous article.

First on the general merits, he is promulgating a pure democracy — something the Founders cringed at. Pure democracy is often and aptly compared to two wolves and one sheep deciding on what’s for dinner. The Electoral College as a representative balance between the people’s popular vote and states’ rights was brilliant and on purpose by the Founders and is critical to keep. On the other hand, pure democracy has a long and ignoble history, which is precisely why ours is not that.

In the Federalist Papers #10, James Madison wrote: “…Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security and the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

But the professor, and many Democrats today, want pure democracy…now.

It’s the cheating of scoundrels

But the most disingenuous element in this line of thought is to change the rules retrospectively.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both ran their campaigns based on the known rules: Who wins the most electors wins the White House. They created their strategies around winning key states. If it was a popular vote, both campaigns would have been run differently and we do not know what those results would have been. Changing the rules after the outcome to change the outcome is just abhorrent thinking.

If the good professor was not too blinkered by ideology, he would know that.

Let’s drive this home with some strong analogies.

Let’s say a football game finished where one team wins 24-10 — a solid win. But the losing team argues afterwards that the game should be decided by total yards gained, because the losing team had 400 yards compared to 250 yards for the other team — a solid advantage. But those were not the rules by which both teams were playing. Strategies would have changed. That sounds absurd, but insert the Electoral College for the game score, and the popular vote for yards gained, and the analogy is sound. But we rightly would never consider that.

Or again, consider if the loser of a seven-game World Series argues afterwards that the champion should be decided by total runs instead of the number of games won, because the loser scored more total runs — which has happened several times. But those weren’t the rules. Again, strategies would have changed.

Or again, consider if you are driving 45 mph in a 45 mph speed limit zone, but the next day the speed limit is changed to 30 mph and you are retroactively ticketed for speeding. That’s absurd! That’s not fair! You would have driven slower! Exactly. It is absurd.

This is the precise principle that applies to those who want to change the elections rules now, for this past election. If you want to change them going forward, that is a discussion to have (and which I would oppose doing) but changing the rules retrospectively is simply wrong.

Categories
Elections Government History Truth

The “Mandates” That Never Were

By David G. Johnson

If I were in possession of a time machine, the top of my destination list would be the Constitutional Convention. Maybe the First Continental Congress. Or really any of the seminal gatherings at which our Founding Fathers hotly debated the ideas leading to the formation of the United States.

Among the topics I would hear in those epic debates, one concept that would never arise would be the notion of a “presidential mandate.”

Hard though it may be for our modern ears to hear, the Founders did not view the presidency to be what it has become — that of the “most powerful person on the planet.” Actually, they might have been terrified at the thought.

What I might see in my time time travel would be the Founders viewing the job a little like that of the president of your homeowners’ association: a position no one really wants but undertakes out of a sense of civic duty.

They understood that the President of the United States would be imbued with limited power they granted him — the purpose of which was primarily to execute the will of the people and the states as articulated through their representatives in Congress.

“Nothing shall be wanting on my part to inform, as far as in my power, the legislative judgment, nor to carry that judgment into faithful execution.” – President Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, December 8, 1801

This was, for example, why the President could not actually declare war. It was the job of the President to guide a war declared by Congress as the Commander-in-Chief, and only such a war.

Thus, the Presidency was not originally the prize to be won at any cost. It is only after a couple of centuries of expansion of government at all levels that we now have a powerful Chief Executive. And as a result, now individuals, special interest groups, and God only knows who else spends hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

Where did the “mandate” come from?

In the Autumn 1990 issue of Political Science Quarterly, Yale professor Robert Dahl looked into the history of what he described as the Myth of the Presidential Mandate. He argues that prior to Andrew Jackson, presidents infrequently used their veto power and did so only on Constitutional grounds.

Jackson’s innovation, according to Dahl, was to use the veto “…as a defense of his or his party’s policies.”

Dahl traces a shift in the theory of presidential elections, beginning with Jackson’s 1832 reelection, toward the view that it was a way for the people to directly ratify the policies of the candidate. While Jackson didn’t seem to promote this idea himself, much less use the term “mandate,” it was only a few elections later when one of his successors did exactly that:

“The people, by the constitution, have commanded the President, as much as they have commanded the legislative branch of the Government, to execute their will….” – President James K. Polk, State of the Union Address, December 5, 1848

This shift, Dahl contends, culminated in the Progressive thinking of Woodrow Wilson who, in 1908, prior to his election as President, wrote:

“The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can…. There is no national party choice except that of President. No one else represents the people as a whole, exercising a national choice… The nation as a whole has chosen him, and is conscious that it has no other political spokesman.” – Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government.

Wilson took this idea seriously, issuing a record 1,803 executive orders in true Progressive style, roughly equivalent to the sum of his two immediate predecessors, who between them issued more than all the preceding U.S. presidents combined. You see the arc. Perhaps it’s no accident that the Federal Reserve and the Income Tax both came into being during his extra-Constitutional watch.

In the century since Wilson aggressively acted on his words, succeeding presidents have claimed their election as a “mandate” from the people. Even the most casual observer of history, however, will realize that this claim is a universal exaggeration. The largest percentage of votes received by the winner of a Presidential election was only 61% (Lyndon Johnson in 1964). While a mathematical majority, it can hardly be viewed as a universal demand from the people for a specific policy to be enacted. More recently however, elections have been bare majorities, or even pluralities. Trump received less than 47 percent of the vote.

Every election is different. But the forces that influence voters are far too complex for any objective, rational person to conclude that such close elections are a “mandate” — beyond theory and rhetoric.

As neither Trump or Clinton was going to get more than a plurality — less than half of voters — neither was going to have a mandate. But both would claim it as Trump’s campaign has. This is a long-term, bipartisan fiction that Americans should not buy into. What Trump does have is a duty to lead well and keep his promises.

David G. Johnson is Founder and CEO of Grow the Dream, a strategic marketing firm based in Sarasota, Fla.

Categories
Elections Government Politics

Will the Outcome of the Election Matter as Much as We Think?

By David G. Johnson

Public reaction to last week’s election results has been startling, from rioting on the left to Washington power-brokers on the right cozying up to the incoming President.

But will the outcome of this election really matter in the long term?

I’m certainly aware of the long-lasting import of SCOTUS appointments and similar decisions made by the chief executive. But it remains to be seen whether we have, in fact, dodged a bullet or signed our own death warrant as a nation.

What concerns me more than ever is this simple, undeniable fact:

In our Republic, power still rests firmly in the grasp of those paying for it.

One factor that seemed to drive those who voted for Donald Trump was that he ran as an outsider to the political establishment. Yet it appears the new President-elect has immediately begun to align himself with Washington power brokers to run his transition team and fill some 4,000 jobs in his new administration. Some experience in Washington’s swampy ways makes sense, but this bears watching. Insiders will not bring the change that Trump supporters voted for.

The conciliatory tone and gracious words of both Secretary Clinton and President Obama were, at first, impressive and hopeful. But what began as “let’s all get along” quickly escalated to “love fest,” which has left me wondering if perhaps these are all nothing more than players on the same team of massive, centralized government for the elite few. There’s almost a welcoming of the new guy — a savant at swaying public opinion — to the most exclusive club in the world.

We’ve seen it before. President George W. Bush buddied up to President Clinton and the limited government Republican expanded government dramatically. Of course, President Obama has far surpassed that. What will Trump do on this point of limited government and deficit spending? It’s a critical question that rarely came up during the sordid campaign. And that’s not promising.

I’ve long contended that Obama, with his big government approach and radical expansion of public debt — to say nothing of the expansion of executive power — was merely the logical next link in a long chain of Presidents who had done the same things, albeit on a less imperial scale.

Trump is already bearing all the signs of continuing this trend, despite his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington and be a president for the people. His plans to spend yet more money we don’t have on massive infrastructure projects, and cozying up to the powerful elites, does not bode well for the goals of reducing big government and slowing the rate of public indebtedness — a pace which long ago reached a truly insane level.

To those who argue that the federal debt is a non-issue, consider that a 2014 analysis in Forbes by columnist Jeffrey Dorfman placed U.S. public debt at 688 percent of federal revenues using 2010 numbers. Once 2013 numbers became available, it appears that US public debt had grown to 979% of of Federal revenues. This is not sustainable and frankly an immoral act against our children. A bankrupt America is not much of an America.

Lest we allow ourselves to be convinced that this trend is unique to Obama, consider what other Presidents in recent memory have done, shown below as a percent of their predecessor’s cumulative debt totals.

Percent Change in Public Debt (Source: Federal Reserve) via Washington Post
via Washington Post

Servicing the public debt becomes a bigger and bigger line item in our budget each year, and there are significant reasons to believe that it has already become unsustainable. One shudders to think about what the outcome of this trend will be.

In the meantime, the very public fight over social questions during our election cycles has served as a distraction from this disturbing pattern of borrowing and spending. Those administrations that can be described as “left of center” tend to spend more on social agendas, and those that can be described as “right of center” tend to spend more on national defense. But what both sides have in common for decades is increasing the debt and spending money we don’t have. This is the forgotten crisis.

The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

While the left and the right fight over the admittedly important issues of abortion, healthcare, immigration, and who uses which bathroom, those who are willing to pay for power are plundering our pockets and those of future generations of Americans. Buying voters’ support with our children’s money is just wrong. But will it change with this election? The evidence so far that it will is scant.

David G. Johnson is Founder and CEO of Grow the Dream, a strategic marketing firm based in Sarasota, Fla.

Categories
Elections Government Politics Truth

The States Have Spoken

by Rep. Julio Gonzalez

Thankfully, the 2016 election is over. The states have instructed the national government about the direction in which they want it to go, and their directive is as clear as it is resounding:

Get the heck out of our business!

Yes. It was the states that delivered the message on election night.

If we look at the popular vote, no candidate got a majority. In fact, Clinton edged Trump by a slim margin on the popular vote (~0.16% of the vote), but only achieved a plurality (47.69% to Trump’s 47.45%). Moreover, a substantial amount of Clinton’s popular support was concentrated in only four areas of the country: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California. So, seen from the standpoint of the popular vote, the nation arrived at neither a consensus nor a mandate.

Now, let’s look at the results from the standpoint of the states, including Washington, D.C., which has a say in the presidential election. Here, once the final electoral votes are tabulated, Trump will have won a solid 29 states to Clinton’s 22 (56%-44%) with a total of 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, (56%-44%).

So, whereas the voice of the people was indecisive, the voice of the states was resounding.

The States have spoken.

What did they say?

Get the Heck Out of Our Business!

The overarching priority for the states is maintaining their rights. Translation: push back against the federal government. So, in essence the states told the feds to get out of their business.

More specifically, stop having bureaucratic insiders and media types determine the direction for the country. Stop colluding amongst yourselves. Stop telling the rest of us how to run our healthcare systems. Stop telling us how to tax our citizens. Stop setting up conditions just so that we may earn back the money our people gave you. Stop telling us our children cannot pray in schools because your courts deem it to be “offensive.” (Yes, that’s a quote.)

We’re tired of being told that separation of church and state means erasing all signs of God from the public forum. That’s not the way the Framers intended, and it is not the way the overwhelming number of our citizens want it.

And while we’re at it, we resoundingly reject political correctness (here, take a big dose of Donald J. Trump). And for Pete’s sake, stop instructing us on the proper method of covering our mouths and noses when we sneeze! It’s none of your business.

But this message was not only delivered through the presidential election. The congressional elections delivered the mandate. Recall that the House kept its majority, as did the Senate despite the overwhelming predictions to the contrary.

And in case you were wondering, this opinion was not formulated as a result of a review of polls or surveillance of news reports. Rather, it was delivered to me by the countless people with whom I have spoken in my capacity as State Representative when they shared with me their angsts and concerns for the future of our country.

Having acknowledged the message and its bearer, the question then becomes, what must be done in order to comply with the states’ mandate.

That answer to that question will be coming soon.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon, lawyer and State Representative for South Sarasota County, Florida.  He is the author of The Federalist Pages, available at www.thefederalistpages.com or at Amazon.  He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at [email protected].

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