Preserving the Unique Institution of American Suffrage


The 2018 Midterm Elections are just about wrapped up. There are still a few elections that need to be decided and a few recounts into some of the tighter races. However, the major business is completed. The Democrats will take control of the House with a decent majority projected around 225 to 230 seats to the Republican’s 195 to 200. While it is enough to command the chamber, there are nuances there that should be considered moving forward when it comes to certain legislation and to the actual day-to-day operations of the House schedule. But we’ll save that for another posting (you’re welcome). The Senate picture is much clearer. The Republicans picked up two seats, bringing their majority in the chamber to 52. This gives leeway for the Senate Republicans and the President to push an executive agenda forward that is not dependent on the House of Representatives.

The next two years will see a lot of movement in the federal judiciary, certain regulatory agencies, the foreign service and senior cabinet positions President Trump had to either negotiate or play safe on when he was first filling out his administration. While this will definitely come into play up and down the federal bench, the big question, as always, will be the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Stephen Breyer is 80. Realistically, President Trump’s opportunity to seat another Supreme Court Justice in his first term got higher this week as these two in particular begin to weigh their options. Age is a reality even the most hardcore of ideologues cannot escape and the cold reality is that even if President Trump loses reelection in 2020, with the Senate safely Republican for now, neither Ginsburg’s or Breyer’s replacement will fit their judicial ideologies. And I feel that has fed into some of the open lunacy we’ve seen since Election Night a few weeks ago.

Once it became clear that the Senate would remain in Republican control, certain elements of the Progressive Left lost their minds. I know they lost their minds because they focused in on the amount of votes cast in the elections, tallied them up, and then decreed that the Democrats had won the ‘Senate Popular Vote’. Yes, this is a thing that happened. Now, there are solid Constitutionalists out there who used their social media platform to try and respond with logic: pointing out the problems with the math and the original intent of the Senate meant that the public was never supposed to vote on Senators at all. I, however, am far less interested in the argument as stated and more interested in the ideological place the argument comes from.

The Popular Vote argument is one that has been a long desired fantasy for many on the American Progressive Left: and when I say ‘long-desired’ I mean from the very beginning. The hope (for lack of a better word) of a leader claiming total power over the nation through a pure majority vote in order to lead both the willing and unwilling to a ‘better tomorrow’ has fed into the ambitions and policies of at least four Progressive presidents (Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama). In lieu of that, citing the amalgamated results of a Congressional election as any sort of ‘national popular vote’ is an attempt to de-legitimize both the winners (the Republican Party) and the system itself.

As the thinking goes, none of it counts because the numbers say that the majority of the people in the country actually voted against it. This has fed into another argument against the results in elections in my home state of Georgia. David French of National Review lays out what happened and responds to the charges that the gubernatorial election was stolen from Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams here. While the issue of election fraud or vote rigging should be taken seriously, the problem I have is that by arguing fraud without evidence, Ms. Abrams and her Democratic colleagues are feeding into the argument that has been made by the Left for the last few weeks: that their losses show a problem with the our elections in and of themselves, not with them.

Beyond the obvious problem with that argument, insomuch that it is a completely ego-driven one, it twists and manipulates why Americans vote the way we vote and encourages an idea that was never supposed to be apart of the American political society. Let me explain.

We are, in many ways, still an anomaly on the world stage. There has never, and God-willing will never be, a national vote to determine the federal government. Our votes for any federal office are done locally; which means they are governed and operated by local authorities. The Founders did this for two very important reasons. The first was to preserve local autonomy from the federal government, which in turn would serve as a check against centralizing power to the national level. The second, and the most important as far as the Democratic Party is concerned, is to serve as a check against the people. Yup.

As much as the Founders hated a massive, centralized authority lording over them, they were just as terrified of being ruled by a mob. John Adams said of pure democracy,

“Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.”

And he is right. Removing any debate or critique about the actual operation of a national popular vote for any elected position in the federal government, the philosophy behind such a vote is that the federal government will oversee a nationwide vote where the winner is decided by the overall national total. It subjugates not only the citizens, but also the local and state authorities to the whims of a mob and whomever that mob picks for a seat in Congress or the Presidency. It also automatically delegitimizes the Tenth Amendment. After all, since the entire nation is voting in one voice on the direction of the federal government, then the federal government should (as the thinking will inevitably go) be the deciding body on all political issues: even those traditionally led by the states.

Our system of voting is as ideological as it is operational. While we can always strengthen this system, fundamentally dismantling it only makes it more likely those forces encroach on our government, not less. American Suffrage is just as much a system of keeping in check the forces of tyranny and lust for power as it is deciding office-holders. And since those forces will always be active in our country, we who hold fidelity not only to the Constitution, but also the ideas behind the Constitution, must never rest in defending how and why we vote.

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