by Mike Maharrey

They deride us as “Tenthers.”

They paint us as radicals. Extremists. Racists.

But our message continues to go mainstream.

Viewers had the opportunity to submit video questions for the Fox News Republican presidential debate on Sept. 22. Brandy and Michael from Spencer, Ind. asked the question receiving the most votes, and it related to the Tenth Amendment. (see it here)

“There’s growing concern among Americans about the size and scope of the federal government and its infringement upon state and individual rights. If you’re elected president, how do you plan to restore the 10th Amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution, and allow states to govern themselves.”

Stop and let it sink in. That was the question the majority of debate viewers wanted answered.

Badged federal agents grope us at the airport. Congress insists it has the power to demand Americans purchase health insurance on its terms. Our nation engages in seemingly endless warfare. Federal agents raid businesses; their heinous crime: selling unpasteurized whole milk. And the federal government pokes its nose into more and more of the nooks and crannies of everyday life. Americans want answers, and increasingly they realize the solutions won’t come from Washington D.C.

The problem IS Washington D.C.

The fact that more people voted for a question relating to the Tenth Amendment indicates people are beginning to understand that federal power has limits and the Constitution prescribes those limits. They realize that the framers created a federal government with defined, enumerated powers, leaving all other authority to the states respectively, or to the people. And they realize that insisting the government operate in the way the founders intended does not quite qualify as radical, unless by radical you simply mean not the way we’ve done things for the last 75 years.

Some will retort, “Well, that’s Fox viewers for you.” But the overwhelming support for the debate question does not stand alone as evidence of the mainstreaming of Tenther thinking.

A Rasmussen poll released in August reveals that 54 percent of likely U.S. voters believe that states should have the right to opt out of federal programs they don’t agree with. In other words, more than half of Americans now embrace the Constitutional concept of state sovereignty.

More telling than the majority support for state power was the much smaller minority opposed to it. Only 31 percent of those polled disagreed and said states should not enjoy the ability to opt out of these required federal programs.

Think about that for a moment, because it is significant. Less than one-third of the country opposes our basic principle: that each state can and should remain free to pursue a unique approach to handling various political issues.

Throw in unfunded mandates and the support for state empowerment reaches even further into the electorate.

“Support for states’ rights jumps higher when the question involves federally mandated programs with no checks attached. Sixty-three percent of voters think states should have the right to opt out of such programs if the federal government doesn’t help pay for them. Twenty-one percent disagree,”according to the Rasmussen report.

Perhaps we should place the radical extremist label on the political pundits and mainstream media talking heads who insist opposition to expansive federal power somehow counts as a loony, radical notion.

Stop and consider; a majority of Americans accept the basic principle of state sovereignty. The majority of Americans believe in the fundamental premise of the Tenth Amendment. And a majority of Americans apparently don’t approve of a federal government wielding nearly unlimited power.

Support Sound Money with a TAC Medallion!

This makes sense, really. Americans have always distrusted concentrated power. Don’t believe it? Do a simple experiment. Go out and ask 10 random people if they trust corporate monopolies to look out for the public’s best interest. I would be shocked if even one person expressed faith in a monopolistic business.

Why should we trust a monopoly on political power any further?

So let the statists keep on with the slurs and invectives. Let them keep insisting we represent a wacky minority. Let them continue with their wild-eyed rants. We’ll just go right on fighting for the constitutional system our founders created.

It is, after all, what Americans want.


Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


maharrey minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.