Tag archive

election 2016

Law/Politics

What Would An Un-elected White House Look Like?

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… Keep Reading

Law/Politics

The Rule Of Law: Force When It Suits Me

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… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Millennials, Hispanics, And Muslims

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… Keep Reading

News/Politics

New Leader For The House Freedom Caucus?

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… Keep Reading

Law/Politics

Why Short-Sighted Social Conservatism Is Costing Us North Carolina

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… Keep Reading

History/Philosophy

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

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… Keep Reading

History/World

Today In History: United Nations

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… Keep Reading

History/Politics

Donald Trump Is Not Barry Goldwater.

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… Keep Reading

Philosophy/Politics

Should a Free Person Accept The Election Results

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… Keep Reading

Politics

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

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… Keep Reading

Politics

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

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)… Keep Reading

Politics

Don’t Believe The Polls Anymore?

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.… Keep Reading

Politics

Here’s Why I Attack Hillary More Than Trump

A close friend of mine has been busting my balls lately with comments that look something like this, “I see you’ve been defending Trump and attacking Hillary quite a bit lately. Can we assume you’re backing Trump now?” It’s not the first time I’ve received a comment like this. In a political climate so polarizing and a social climate that shoves the “vote or die” mantra down our throats, I can understand why someone would come to this conclusion. We have a false range of choices, and people quickly look to the faintest hint of support or dissent as an excuse to slap an easy label on their friends, family, and colleagues. Not to mention, I indeed have attacked Hillary far more than I have Trump. The short answer is no, I do not support Trump. Keep Reading

Politics

Liberty Can Still Win In November: Just Don’t Vote For Donald Trump Or Hillary Clinton

Imagine a scenario on November 8, 2016: Donald Trump receives 59 million votes; Hillary Clinton receives 57 million votes. Donald Trump gets 253 electoral college votes; Hillary Clinton receives 267 electoral college votes.  Both major parties fail to meet the electoral college’s requirement of 270 votes. The catch? The Libertarian Party’s candidate receives 11 million votes and 18 electoral college votes. The Green Party receives 3 million votes and no electoral college votes. In this scenario, the United States Congress would vote and select the next President of the United States, essentially forcing the United States Congress to act as an essential check on the people. The top three candidates with electoral college votes will be eligible to collect any votes in the House of Representatives, as stated by the twelfth amendment. “The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the… Keep Reading

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