Author

Luke Douglas

Luke Douglas has 25 articles published.

Luke Douglas
Luke is an attorney, campaign consultant, lobbyist, and historian with a passion for liberty and a nerdy sense of humor. He holds a Jurisdoctorate Degree in law and a Bachelors degree in communications.

Today In History: Cicero Is Assassinated

in History/Philosophy by

December 7, 43 BC What does it take to be a philosopher-statesman? To dedicate one’s life to public service, to approach the issues of the day with a level head, to remain reasonable in the face of radicalism, and, above all, to carry your convictions through to their logical end, even if it costs your life? Marcus Tullius Cicero lived to see the greatest political moments in western history over the course of his 63-year life and his political, legal, and academic careers spanning nearly as long. But he didn’t just see it. He was an integral part of it. He served in the highest offices of the late Roman Republic, including the Consulate (chief executive) and the Senate, when he wasn’t finding spare time to translate into Latin, summarize, and write commentaries on the classic works of the Greek philosophers and craft a few philosophical tomes of his own. His writings on the Republic and the Laws remain to this day, in this author’s humble opinion, essential reading…

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What Would An Un-elected White House Look Like?

in Law/Politics by

This article is a follow-up to my piece about the possibility of an Electoral College tie, available here. We haven’t had a non-partisan White House since before there was a White House. George Washington didn’t affiliate with any political party, though his policies and appointments leaned somewhat to the Federalist end of the spectrum. By the time John Adams moved into the White House during his only term in office, the country was well established on the two-party path on which it has stayed to this day. This is why it’s so baffling to ask ourselves what it would look like to live in a country with a President elected independently of any party, and either a Republican House and Senate, or a Republican House and a Democratic Senate. Either way, it would raise very serious questions about the institution of the Presidency, the Constitution, and its interaction with the other organs of our government. First off, if we are considering a presidency that begins with a tie in…

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We Can No Longer Write Off An Electoral College Tie

in Law/Politics by

It’s not likely. We’ve been told our whole lives it’s not possible. But here we are, a week from the general election, and we are the closest we have been in our lifetimes to a Twelfth Amendment crisis. The two least popular major party nominees that anyone seems to remember continue their race to the bottom of the country’s expectations. A newly reopened FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails has sent her campaign spiraling from an unpopular but safe victory into last-minute suspense. Donald Trump is surging back to safety in red states where Clinton was threatening decades of Republican control. And by default, he is surging in swing states, too. Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina are within striking distance. Meanwhile, there’s a storm of unexpected proportions sweeping one of this country’s largest, best organized, and best funded religious minorities. Independent candidate Evan McMullin is defying all expectations by blowing decades-old third parties out of the water in his sudden surge to the top of the…

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Today In History: Constantine And Christianity

in History/World by

October 29, 312 – To the victor goes the spoils, but even the victor lives and dies by the ideas he brings with him. Roman General Constantine, then claimant to the imperial throne of Rome and all her glory, paraded into the eternal city at the head of his victorious legions. Constantine, who is known more affectionately to history as St. Constantine the Great, had navigated the dangerous path to imperial supremacy through the favor of the Senate and ultimately civil war. Many attributed his success to political and military genius. He preferred to attribute it to the favor of no less than God Himself, itself a mark of political genius. According to legend, it was on the eve of his fateful Battle of the Milvian Bridge when Constantine came out of his tent and saw a vision of the Cross of Christ. Heaven opened to show him a blindingly bright cross of light and a voice thundered from the Throne of the Almighty: “By this sign, thou shalt…

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The Rule Of Law: Force When It Suits Me

in Law/Politics by

First, I had to pick myself up from the floor from laughing. Second, I started seeing the flood of gloating comments and “I told you so’s.” It turns out Hillary Clinton’s emails did have some evidence that would sink her ambitions and, this just in: the only way for the FBI to find it amid all the wiped servers was on the phone they confiscated from Anthony Weiner. Swarms of the same people who said the rule of law is dead when the first FBI investigation didn’t recommend pressing charges are now back to say that justice will be served at last. And maybe it will. Maybe Hillary will go to prison, and Vice President-Elect Tim Kaine will have to step up between then and January 20, as per Amendment XX, Section 3 of the Constitution. But personally, I doubt it. I doubt it for the same reason I doubt Donald Trump will face any serious repercussions for what he may or may not have done to so many…

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Free Speech Means Shutting Down Other Views

in Culture/Politics by

Yes, you read that correctly. If there’s one thing our politically correct culture has told us, it’s that we have the right to speak our minds unless, of course, someone gets offended. But there’s so much misinformation and confusion about what free speech means, honestly to the point that liberals and conservatives routinely hold themselves and each other to different standards depending on who is offended by whom at what particular moment. In an interesting twist this week, Christian author and TV personality Jen Hatmaker is facing the full fury of the conservative Christian fundamentalist right. Not for anything recent or overtly political, mind you, but for comments about homosexuality in itself. She said that Christians and the church should embrace homosexual people, support them in their relationships and marriages, and that neither gay nor straight nor anyone was any less evil by themselves or more loved by God than anyone else. Apparently, in our day and age, there isn’t a lot of room for neutrality on this issue.…

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Millennials, Hispanics, And Muslims

in Culture/Politics by

What do millennials, Hispanics, and Muslims have in common? They’re three of the fastest-growing demographics in this country, and they should be exactly where both political parties focus on winning the electoral future. Let me preface this whole discussion by saying I have no particular allegiance to any political party beyond its effectiveness for policy change. I’m a pragmatic libertarian, which means I find myself agreeing with Democrats on some issues but working within the Republican Party in most elections and legislative battles. This is why I find myself so frustrated this election cycle as a person who values rational discussion generally, but specifically as a registered Republican. I support fiscal sanity and sound monetary policy, but I’m also a tad cynical about military intervention overseas. I’m pro-life, but I also don’t want government dictating marriage or sexuality issues. I’m all for laissez faire local administration, but I favor some serious criminal justice reform, pot legalization, and restoring the civil rights of nonviolent felons after an amount of time…

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Government Won’t Let Disabled Child Bring Service Dog To School

in Law/Politics by

Thank you, government, for giving us all things so good and beautiful. Without you, there would be riots and chaos in the street, or possibly even disabled middle school girls bringing their service dogs to school with them. This just in from Napoleon, Michigan. Brent and Stacy Fry are suing their local school district because their daughter, known as F.E. in litigation documents to protect her identity, just isn’t getting anywhere by asking politely. She was born with cerebral palsy and relies heavily on her service dog, Wonder, to get around her home and school. Unfortunately for the Frys, the local school district doesn’t allow dogs. Not even a loyal service companion like Wonder, on whom F.E. has relied since the age of five for everything from help opening doors to getting around the hallways. After an initial denial of F.E.’s request and a protracted back-and-forth, the school district allowed Wonder to accompany F.E. to school on a “trial basis” with certain restrictions. For example, Wonder could come to…

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New Leader For The House Freedom Caucus?

in Breaking News/Politics by

Welcome to American politics, where election season never really ends. By the time one election is close, the next year’s campaign is well underway. The battle for the soul of the House GOP is no exception. Republicans in the House of Representatives have been having it out internally since the day they took the speakership in 2011 after the 2010 Republican midterm gains. What makes this fight particularly interesting is that, unlike presidential nominations or the RNC, it gives us an insight into the Republican Party’s ability to govern. The speakership of the House of Representatives is the third highest office in the nation, and wields tremendous influence over national policy and spending, regardless of who is in the White House. It’s not just about what the GOP wants to do in theory, it tells us how they do govern in practice. That said, North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows’ recent announcement that he is seeking the most influential conservative position in the House is not too surprising. As a…

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Why Short-Sighted Social Conservatism Is Costing Us North Carolina

in Law/Politics by

The electoral map is looking pretty blue this year, but one case study looks even more interesting than the others. Like most southern states, North Carolina has a long history with blue dog Democrats at the state and local level and reliable Republican voting patterns at the federal level. Nothing too radical there, just a case in point of an older, conservative Democratic Party whose fading echoes can still be heard from the other side of the sixties. I’m referring to something far more unique this year. This year, North Carolina may be the only state in which Republicans at the state level fare better than Donald Trump at the national level. As of this writing, Clinton has pulled ahead of Trump in the Tar Heel State but remains within the margin of error at 2.6 percent ahead. Pat McCrory has trailed in the polls throughout the general election cycle, generally behind Donald Trump, though both races are too close to call at the moment. Is there really a…

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Strange Women Lying In Ponds Distributing Swords Is The Only Basis For a Form Of Government

in History/Philosophy by

Kingdom of Kent, Saxon England, 932 – Newly anointed King Arthur tours his realm seeking knights for the round table at Camelot. He bore with him the decree of none other than God Himself, ordained by Heaven to rule the Angles and Saxons. Alas, for yon head-choppy days of yore were dark times for God’s anointed to the Throne of England. For there were those who questioned the legitimacy of his claim to the Crown. Stopping to confer with two lowly peasants in a marsh in the wilderness west of Canterbury, he demanded fealty. The peasant demanded by what right he claimed to be their king, since they didn’t vote for him. King Arthur replied that the Lady of the Lake had bestowed upon him the great Sword Excalibur. “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords? That’s no basis for a form of government!” And after explaining that they would not recognize a government that did not rule by the people for the good of the community, they went…

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Today In History: United Nations

in History/World by

October 24, 1945 – The United Nations is founded in San Francisco as a very well-intentioned check against the excesses of failed states and colonial imperialism. The Weimar Republic, left to its own devices, had swept Hitler’s Nazi Party into power with a mere quarter of the popular vote. The fanatical regime of Premier Tojo bowled over the moderates in Japan, bringing the military to power with its intent to enslave the surrounding region in the name of the Empire. This recipe left the world ripe for the inevitable collapse into total war. The United Nations, we are told, must exist as a counterbalance against radicalism if we are to avoid repeating the horrors of the world wars or the threat of nuclear annihilation. Fast forward several decades to a time when world war seems unthinkable and the threat of nuclear exchange has become a relic of the Cold War. Right-wing and libertarian parties around the world are still reeling from the United Nations’ latest, if unsurprising, development. While…

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Donald Trump Is Not Barry Goldwater.

in History/Politics by

It’s a cliche in our day and age. Whenever a grassroots movement or talking head in the Grand Old Party talks about nominating a presidential candidate to the right of the center, the same thing happens. The high-dollar consultants, State Central Committee chairs, and Capitol Hill staffers pull the ancient reference from their file cabinets, blow off the dust, and say: “Well, remember Barry Goldwater in 1964. He ran as a conservative and lost big in 1964.” It makes sense on the surface, after all. The Party wanted to nominate New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, go to the middle on public policy, and win the rational minds of the moderate voters by contrasting with Lyndon B. Johnson’s crass persona and corrupt insider politics. After all, Barry Goldwater’s off-the-cuff comments had a way of finding themselves in the paper. It’s hard to be a campaign strategist and spin the media when your candidate gets caught saying he wishes someone would saw the entire eastern seaboard off and let it float…

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Does The Pro-Life Movement Have a Future?

in Law/Politics by

From the moment Roe v. Wade came down from the gavel of the nine gods to the lives of our unworthy peasantry, social conservatives and the religious right have been debating tactics to achieve the impossible: Overturning a 7 to 2 Supreme Court decision. It’s a task not many activist movements have been able to pull off. First, the mantra was appointing new justices to overturn it. Lawyers and strategists tried to find a way for Congress and the President to go around it. Amending the Constitution was placed on the table. How was the pro-life movement going to push back against the progressive achievements of the Warren-Burger Court in a world where federal judges serve for life? The pro-life movement, since 1973, has essentially taken a strategy of a little of everything. Ronald Reagan and both Bushes were propelled to the Republican nomination with the full weight of the evangelical political machine. Evangelist superstars like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell called down fire and brimstone on the left…

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Today In History: Republic Of Texas

in History/Politics by

October 22, 1836 – Freedom isn’t free, but sometimes it is more costly to live for than to die for. Deep in the hill country of south Texas, Col. William Barret Travis and 181 of his fellow patriots hunkered down in a crumbling adobe church and fended off over a thousand professional soldiers under the command of Antonio Lopez Santa Anna for thirteen days of heroic sacrifice. Thirteen days that the Texian reinforcements under General Sam Houston desperately needed. Now we all know they won their freedom, but I’m interested in what came afterward. October 22, 1836, marks the anniversary of the swearing in of the first President of the Republic of Texas, and a whole new adventure in the perils of liberty. What happened after those fateful battles at the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto was not a new enterprise in human history, but one for which Texas could look for inspiration from the founding of America. They had to craft a constitution and form of government that…

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Should a Free Person Accept The Election Results

in Philosophy/Politics by

The latest link in a long chain of electoral drama, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump sparred mercilessly in Wednesday’s debate and following press conferences over whether the losing side would “accept the outcome” of the national election. What exactly does that mean? Usually, accepting the outcome of the election means you concede the election graciously when it’s clear that you lost. When moderator Chris Wallace asked Mr. Trump during the final presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle, Trump said he would think about it when the time came. I will venture a likely unpopular view that Trump and Wallace may not have meant the same thing by that question. What Chris Wallace probably meant was somewhere between “Will you graciously admit defeat and congratulate then President-Elect Hillary Clinton” and “Will you acknowledge the lawful authority of the new Administration and submit to the government.” In all probability, given the recent controversy surrounding allegations of election fraud, Trump probably meant something more like “Will I acknowledge she won…

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Today In History: Trafalgar

in History/World by

October 21, 1805 – The social order of the western world hung in the balance. Britannia’s mighty empire hailed its heritage of Magna Carta, Parliamentary rule, and “God and my right” in the face of a revolutionary invader. The war coffers of her far-flung realms were strained to the breaking point by the horrors of war on the continent of Europe. But now, the enemy was crossing the narrow channel that had been her natural defense since the invasion of William the Conqueror seven centuries before. Napoleon was coming. The War of the Third Coalition was a final, many at the time said desperate, attempt to stop the spread of revolution and chaos that was sweeping Europe one kingdom at a time. What hung in the balance was no mere geopolitical chess game. It was the survival of civilization as they knew it. The French Revolution had begun decades earlier when Charlemagne’s ancient kingdom of France came face to face with the inevitable consequence of its centuries-long course. The…

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Wonderful World Of Third Parties, Part 3

in Politics by

This article is Part 3 of a 3 part series. See Parts 1 and 2. Suppose hypothetically that the Electoral College vote is close this year. Suppose also that someone other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton wins more electoral votes than the difference between them. This could be another candidate carrying a state, say McMullin winning Utah. Or, it could be a number of electors breaking faith. Say Republican electors voting for McMullin in Utah. This is where the Constitution sends the election to the House of Representatives. Why? I don’t know, it was 1787. There was no such thing as a national runoff election back then. The election goes to the House of Representatives, and said body chooses the next President. Contrary to popular error, they can’t just choose anyone they want. According to the Twelfth Amendment, they choose the President from among the top three candidates in the Electoral College. Contrary to another popular error, they don’t just choose the President with a normal vote. They…

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Wonderful World Of Third Parties, Part 2

in Politics by

This article is Part 2 of a three part series. Part 1 is available here. So say you run a third party campaign so successful that its vote causes the nearest major party to lose to the other major party. Now, candidates in both major parties see an organized group of very angry voters who need to be won back. This trend has been seen time and again when third party movements grow large enough to force one or both major parties to absorb them by running future campaigns that align more with the views of the voters most likely to leave if their grievances are not addressed. For American history, I’m going back to the Populist Party for that one. Millions of Populist voters elected state and local officers across the country, before seeing William Jennings Bryan swoop in to steal the Democratic Party and launch the progressive movement to the national spotlight in 1896. For modern politics, I can’t help but think of David Cameron’s Conservative Party…

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Wonderful World Of Third Parties, Part 1

in Politics by

With the general election cycle in full swing and the two most hated major party nominees in living memory, Google is hopping with search queries about alternate options. Gary Johnson polls at an undisputed third place in the national polls, but envies the serious prospects of Evan McMullin for winning a state of his own. Darrell Castle is a little depressed that a party he helped to found and run since 1992 is being blown out of the water by an independent who came out of nowhere. And Jill Stein… Jill Stein. She would have something to say to the disaffected Bernie people, but the WiFi gave her cancer. With all this action and the chronic disappointments that are the two major party nominees, talk is more rampant than ever of a serious dynamic shift in our two-party way of life. Will we see a third party rise out of obscurity to national prominence? Will an Electoral College gridlock trigger a never-before-tested constitutional mechanism for choosing the next President?…

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Term Limits: a Policy Proposal When The Barrel Is Empty, Part 2

in Politics by

This is Part 2 of a series on term limits. See Part 1 here. 2. The people will naturally tend to vote for smarter choices for their representatives if given open elections free of incumbents. This is, again, just not true. The same people who send back an incumbent you don’t like will probably send in a freshman you don’t like. The reason for this: they like people you don’t like. Sorry, it’s a fact of politics. If you don’t like that, perhaps I suggest you try getting involved in campaigns to try to influence the choices you have rather than waiting for it to happen to you. Just a thought. The average open congressional seat sees about seven candidates jump in for the nomination contest of the predominant party in the district. In the jungle that is a seven-way primary or caucus election, you’ll realize that the same factors that favor the incumbents you didn’t like (money, media bias, the favor of the party establishment and political insiders)…

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Term Limits: a Policy Proposal When The Barrel Is Empty, Part 1

in Politics by

All but dead since the fizzling of the Tea Party between 2010 and 2012, the Republican populists have exhumed yet again the perennial token policy proposal that comes out whenever you need to get the attention of that niche of voters who care passionately about it, while not offending the rest of people who largely don’t care. None other than the self-explanatory political reform that never seems to go away: Term limits. The 2016 election cycle has brought them the most attention they’ve received in awhile, both in Donald J. Trump’s Colorado, Springs, CO statement Tuesday that he would push for a constitutional amendment to that effect, and, perhaps even more importantly, in the growing support for an Article V Convention of States to amend the Constitution. For our purposes, I will leave out both the fact that very few presidents have successfully pushed for constitutional amendments (seriously, Congressional movements have been behind almost all 27 of them), and the whole quagmire of debate about the merits of calling…

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Election Debates? Why Bother.

in Politics by

Another presidential debate? Honestly, at this point, why bother? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as political as they come. I eat it up as much as the next politico, hang on every word, read between the lines, and debate the finer points with my fellow nerds for weeks. I have no lack of interest in watching two mediocre communicators interrupt each other and try to make each other appear more ridiculous than themselves. What I’m saying is, why bother calling it a debate? Remember the days when presidential debates were about substantive public policy issues? Maybe… Remember when the presidential debates followed something resembling the rules of debate? If you do, I want to meet your dietician, because you’ve been around awhile. When Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers to advocate for the adoption of the Constitution, it was considered to be material for the common reader. That is, any literate person over the age of ten or so was expected to be able…

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Don’t Believe The Polls Anymore?

in Politics by

If you’ve seen the news, opened social media, or generally lived anywhere other than a desert island for the past few months, you’ve inevitably seen a plethora of presidential polls that all say the same thing: Donald Trump is losing to Hillary in every swing state and a good number of red states. Badly. Like, we are talking Barry Goldwater 1964, in your guts you know he’s nuts, badly. Republican strategists from across the ideological spectrum range from cautious optimism that it’s not all over to circling the wagons around down-ticket campaigns. With the cascade of public opinion falling down around him, what is the Republican nominee doing? Why, writing it off, of course. According to The Hill, Mr. Trump told an audience Tuesday in battleground Colorado, “I don’t believe the polls anymore.” Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a candidate’s job to be optimistic, even in the face of a lost cause. It’s the candidate’s job to keep believing that the party will bounce back from every setback.…

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Making Protectionism Great Again

in Economics/History/Politics by

The 1760’s called, they want their economic policy back. Am I the only one who’s a little tired of both major party platforms scraping the bottom of the barrel for economic theories that’ve been disproven since before we were born? I’m a libertarian. A deep, cynical, state-is-obsolete libertarian who finds his views overlapping heavily with conservative thought and Republican politics. That’s why it irks me that this election cycle has made abundantly clear that there is no home for hands-off economics in the major party system. From the days of Saint Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has been billing itself as the bastion of laissez faire fiscal restraint. If you let the market correct itself, the employers create jobs and everyone prospers. Fair. But what is this year’s Republican standard bearer saying about the economy? Why, he’s promising to restrict international trade, of course. Donald J. Trump’s entire economic appeal from the early pre-primary days has been nothing but recycled Mercantilism. Mercantilism is an economic theory fresh from the…

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