Month: October 2019

Breaking the Binary, Part Three: Thinking Realistically About the Consequences of Elections

Continuing from our series on Breaking the Political Binary, if we want to stop finding ourselves forced to choose between horrible candidates, we need to think realistically about the consequences of the worst candidate losing.

Presidential candidates release plans to impress the constituents they need to win their party’s nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren, by many accounts, is the Democratic Frontrunner and she is a master of plans, really bad plans. If she’s the nominee, you can expect a pitch to Republican voters to include listing all those horrible plans and imagining that they’ll all happen if Senator Warren wins. But will they?

The answer is almost certainly not. Presidents can only get so much done and for a President to really make lasting changes, he or she has to get legislation passed as opposed to just taking executive action.

Let’s take Barack Obama as an example. Barack Obama had many things he wanted to do and Republicans told us that they’d all happen if he won the election in 2008:

  1. Cap and Trade legislation.
  2. “Card Check” to replace secret ballot elections for Unions, making it easier for unions to intimidate workers into joining.
  3. Amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  4. Socialized medicine.
  5. Major gun control and bans on various types of weapons.
  6. A repeal of George W. Bush’s tax cuts on Americans earning $250,000 per year.

Obama had a large majority in the House, and won 59 seats in the Senate, which became 60 when Senator Arlen Specter joined the Democratic Party. With such numbers, Obama was set to pass his entire ambitious agenda and it would be the end of our country.

Yet most of it didn’t happen. No cap and trade, no card check, no formal amnesty deal, no gun control or weapons bans. Obama did pass the Affordable Care Act, which didn’t make healthcare more affordable and has allowed the government to bully religious employers. Obama had to put off his efforts to repeal the Bush tax cuts due to a poor economy, and in the end only succeeded in repealing them for people earning more than $1 million per year.

Obama did do damage. Both of his Supreme Court picks were bad, if you care about the Constitution. Obama did a lot of governing by executive order. However, most of his “legacy” has been undone by President Trump. Many of Obama’s policies were held up for years in court and never fully implemented.

In my opinion, Obama was a bad president on policy, but he was not apocalyptic. Elizabeth Warren would also not cause an apocalypse. The same goes for the rest of the Democratic field, and there is no chance of any of them having Obama’s congressional majority in the Senate.

If we are truly one election away from losing our Republic forever, as alarmists in the GOP allege in order to get reluctant conservatives in line behind Trump, we’ve already lost our Republic.

Of course, most of these alarmists don’t believe their own rhetoric. If Glenn Beck really believed Trump losing the election would mean the end of the country as we know it, he would make plans to shutter his operations at the end of 2020 if Trump loses and go into hiding. If Trump loses in 2020, Glenn Beck, the NRA, and the rest of the alarmists will continue to draw their paychecks, sell their merchandise, and make a living off of grassroots conservatives. It’s a game. They are playing us for fools and selling snake oil.

While a Democratic win is unlikely to end the Republic, that doesn’t mean there’s no serious concerns about our country’s future. However, addressing them is beyond the scope of people whose political vision is limited to selling the idea that an apocalypse is coming every four years. We’ll talk about them in the final post of the series.

The Impeachment Process: Another Reminder Why the Major Parties are Horrible

An Impeachment inquiry is under way into the conduct of President Donald Trump. There’s a lot to be said about this, but the entire process is a reminder both parties are corrupt. My top three takeaways are:

  1. Blind Tribalists Dominate the Republicans and theDemocrats

Regardless of the facts, the House will impeach President Trump and the Senate will acquit him. In both cases, this will be due to partisan affiliation and the interests of the parties, not the interests of the American people. The number of Republican members who haven’t even bothered to read the Whistleblower report is stunning, but it stems from the fact Republicans and Democrats in Congress frequently ignore their oath to uphold the Constitution and don’t take their duty seriously. They fall into lockstep behind whatever partisan position they’re supposed to take for the good of their career.

The number of persuadable Republicans and Democrats are limited. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) may vote for removal, but only because he is bulletproof in his home state of Utah and won’t face voters until 2024. The most likely Democrat to vote against conviction is Doug Jones (D-AL) who faces a tough re-election campaign next year in a state where President Trump is hugely popular.

In the impeachment trial, the facts don’t matter to either major party. Each party will stick to its own narrative no matter what the truth is.

2. Both Parties Have Led Us Down a Road of Declining Standards

During the lead-up to the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) informed the lead House Manager Henry Hyde (R-Ill) that it didn’t matter if they had evidence Bill Clinton raped a woman, stood her up, and shot her, there would not be 67 votes to convict. Donald Trump boasted he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and not lose any support. Both were sadly right.

Now many feel that impeachment and removal is inappropriate for legal and constitutional reasons. I get that idea in principle, but that’s not the only way for a party to address misconduct by a leader. Richard Nixon was forced from office when senior statesman led by Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) came to him and informed him he needed to resign. Many political leaders for lower offices have been involved in scandals that haven’t merited impeachment, but have been challenged in the primary. This would be an opportunity for a leader to stand up for character and integrity of the office. Instead, the good of the party are keeping their heads low. There is no moral or political leadership, leaving Trump with three well-intentioned but hopeless challengers.

3. Both Parties are Into Self-Dealing

Hunter Biden’s chief qualification to be on the board of a Ukrainian Oil Company earning a six digit paycheck is he was the son of the Vice-President of the United States. It’s part of a disgraceful pattern of children of those in public service cashing in on their parents’ connections and in the case of the sitting Vice-President’s son, you can bet the company hoped for some advantages from this arrangement.

However, Republican attacks on Biden lack self-awareness given that President Trump’s sons continue to manage his business empire, his daughter and he are obtaining patents and intellectual property rights in other countries while they hold public office. In the read-out of the Ukrainian phone call, the Ukrainian President buttered Trump up by talking about how he stayed at a Trump hotel, which is just the latest proof that the President’s continued ownership of his properties is creating opportunities for people to use staying at Trump hotels to influence the hotels’ owner.

Add to this, the overwhelming number of grandstanding hypocrites in the Democratic Party whose motives for impeachment and removal are entirely political, and you have a picture of dysfunctional moral cesspool that the Major Parties have created.

The impeachment efforts will end one way or another, but for citizens who want honest, competent government, this should be a reminder that we ultimately need a new political party.