With the midterm elections fast approaching, I am ready to offer my prediction on this iteration of “the most important election of our lifetime.”
I don’t feel confident in saying that Republicans will retake the House and Senate, although it seems likely, particularly Republicans flipping the House. But in politics, nothing is certain. Nevertheless, I do feel confident in predicting what will happen after the election.
No matter which party controls the next Congress, in two years the federal government will be even bigger and more intrusive, deeper in debt, and you will have less liberty.
I’m confident in saying this because I’ve seen this play out over, and over, and over again. The ending never changes.
When you follow a “vote the bums out” strategy, you just end up with more bums.
We can debate whether or not the new bums will be marginally less bad than the old bums. They might be. But the bottom line is that they will still be bums.
Sure, every once in a while, somebody “good” wins a federal election. But even in those rare instances, unconstitutional federal overreach continues unabated. The largest government in the history of the planet keeps growing. The unconstitutional “war on drugs” rages on. The federal spies keep spying. Unconstitutional wars grind on. The government keeps borrowing, spending, and devaluing your money. The gun-grabbers keep gun-grabbing.
The problem isn’t that the wrong people are running the system. The problem is the federal government is is far too big and powerful. It has become totally unfettered from its constitutional moorings.
If I have a broken-down car sitting on blocks with half the engine parts missing, I’m not going to fix that car by changing out the driver. That’s basically what you’re trying to do when you switch out parties in Congress or elect a new president.
The problem is neither political party really cares about constitutional fidelity or liberty. Partisans care about increasing the power of their party and pushing through their political agendas. Unfortunately, those agendas almost never involve following the Constitution — every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.
If you really want to rein in overreaching federal power, you need a better strategy than just replacing the people who are exercising it. You need to resist it.
Mercy Otis Warren told us to resist the first approaches of tyranny.
And James Iredell – one of the first supreme court justices – agreed.
“The only resource against usurpation is the inherent right of the people to prevent its exercise AND The people will resist if the government usurp powers not delegated to it.”
How do we resist usurpation?
Not by voting the bums out.
In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson observed that “vote the bums out” was the right approach for dealing with bad policy or bad administration of the delegated powers.
“In cases of an abuse of the delegated powers the members of the general government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy,” Jefferson wrote.
There is certainly plenty of bad administration and bad policy today. But that isn’t the root of the problem. The problem is that the federal government exercises vast amounts of power not authorized by the Constitution. This has been going on for so long that pretty much everybody accepts it.
For example, Republicans constantly rail against new unconstitutional gun control — and rightly so. But most don’t blink an eye at the enforcement of all the unconstitutional gun control already on the books. In fact, Donald Trump bragged about it.
So, what do we do?
Jefferson called for more aggressive measures when the federal government goes beyond the limits of the Constitution, writing “nullification is the rightful remedy.”
“But where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.” [emphasis added]
We can’t depend on people in the federal government to limit the power of the federal government. We have to take action at the state and local level to make it impossible for the feds to enforce their laws or implement their programs. James Madison gave us the blueprint – a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the union.”
Notice Madison didn’t call for replacing officers of the union. He said we should refuse to cooperate with them.
There’s an old saying – “If you keep doin’ what you always did, you’ll keep gettin’ what you always got.”
That perfectly sums up the “vote the bums out” strategy.
It’s time to focus on a better strategy – resistance and nullification.
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