It’s time to remember the ideals of America

Donald Trump is dangerously close to the Presidency. As of this writing he is favored to win in pretty much every model that I can find.

As an American, I am both scared and upset. I have many friends who are genuinely terrified for their safety and for their place in the USA. I sympathize wholeheartedly with my fellow Americans who don’t find a place for themselves in Trump’s America.

Fortunately, the Founding Fathers foresaw this election.

In the creation of the separation of powers, the Founders understood Democracy as an imperfect but appropriate medium of choice in politics. They understood that the ideals of democracy make the mechanisms of power susceptible to imperfect populism. That principle is at play in the election of 2016.

To balance this imperfection, they created the Separation of Powers.

Unfortunately, this is an ideal that has not received the deference it deserves in the recent political dialogue. The Founders envisioned a country that did not have the same people or group of people make the laws, carry out the laws and judge the disputes between the citizens. This is a crucial counterbalance to what might be a populist but misguided Trump Presidency.

Donald Trump is not fit to be president, but Donald Trump will likely be our President. Fortunately, we have the Congress and the Supreme Court to balance a Trump Presidency

It has always been a position of those in power to disregard the separation of powers as an obstacle to progress, whether it’s President Obama’s executive orders on immigration or the imperial Bush presidency. Those who favor the party in power gradually expand the constitutional authority of their favored party to continue to enact more of their agenda.

This is not correct. It is a just cause of the opposition party to maintain the power that the Constitution affords their minority position so that they can be an effective counterbalance to the party that is in power because democracy is an imperfect mechanism and often results in injustice if left unchecked.

As i’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, Obama’s executive orders on immigration open the door for a President Trump to issue far reaching executive orders on immigration. This is not acceptable. As an admirable Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has pointed out, the political dialogue in this country has become so sophomoric that the mechanisms of government that maintain long-term justice have been reduced to a political trench battle between East Capitol St NE & First St SE and 1600 PA Ave. The trenches are in between, and the political middle ground always involves constitutional atrophy.

It’s time of the Congress to step up. It’s time for liberals and conservatives alike to understand that democracy and populism are imperfect but favorable mechanisms to decide the balance of power in a free country, but that separation of powers is the critical mechanism to prevent tyranny of the majority and ensure justice in our system.

It is my wish that those who supported Hillary Clinton will understand that they really support the protection of the political minority, whichever color jerseys they wear, rather than Democrats as a whole. It is my wish that the Democrats of this election will remember this moment the next time they inevitably gain power. It is my wish that all Americans treat the next minority with the deference they deserve, and they’ll not deride the gridlock of the opposition as obstructionism but as a healthy, Madisonian exercise in justice.

Tyranny of the majority is the greatest threat to our health as a nation. No amount of progress is worth the erosion of the political processes that prevent the worst aspects of the impending Trump presidency.

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Want to get rid of half of gun violence?

In the wake of the tragic attack in Orlando, anyone on social media will see statistics about how much worse gun violence is in the USA than in other places in the world. By one measure, the US has almost 6x more deaths from gun violence as our northern neighbor, Canada and many other developed countries. So how can we solve this problem?

Many advocate for tougher restrictions on the purchase of guns. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that these policies will have a large impact on gun violence in the US. The US has a world-leading 112.6 guns per 100 people. That puts us about 4x higher than the next closest developed countries, Sweden, Norway, France and Canada, which are hovering at just above 31 firearms per 100 people. Even if we were to ban the sale of all guns altogether in the USA, it’d still take us decades to get down to 31 firearms per 100 people. But a firearms sale ban isn’t even on the table, let alone a government seizure of weapons from those who already have them. What’s on the table right now are a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases. Continue reading

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Vote for Third Party Candidates. Or at Least Tell Pollsters You Will

To my parents, voting for a third party candidate is basically like voting for Hillary Clinton. To my liberal peers, voting for a third party candidate is like voting for Trump. I’m told by everyone I talk to that I shouldn’t “waste” my vote by selecting a third party candidate. Yet as someone who feels completely alienated by both parties, I feel that I’m not only left without another choice, but also that my vote counts substantially more than the votes of those who select a Republican or Democrat. Here’s why. Continue reading

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Trump makes me terrified of Sanders

With a string of Super Tuesday victories and a nearly insurmountable delegate lead, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president, putting him even closer to holding the highest office in the land and being the leader of the free world.

If you’re like me, this is terrifying. If you’re not like me, it’s probably also terrifying.

More terrifying than that, however, is the popularity of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for big government on the other side of the aisle in concert with Trump’s bid for presidency. Trump’s success should be the greatest argument against growing the government the way Sanders wants to. Continue reading

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It would be incredibly disrespectful to the legacy of Scalia, the intellectual anchor of originalism, to delay a Supreme Court nomination until the next presidency. It could not have possibly been the will of the founders to have a vacancy in the high court for eleven months to advance political ends.

Scalia

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Healthcare can never be a right

Disclaimer: This article argues for an important semantic difference. It makes no claims about the merits or faults of healthcare policy.

Healthcare as a right has been a rallying cry for liberal America for some time. It makes sense. Anyone with a conscience finds it difficult to be a part of a society that allows people to be priced out of cures for curable diseases or mired in debt after an emergency room visit. Pricing people out of care is becoming an increasingly unacceptable to society, so the solution liberal America is advocating for is to treat healthcare like a right.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. When our country was created, the definition of a right was a novel idea. Previously, to paraphrase Senator Ben Sasse, your rights came from the king. That which was not mandatory was forbidden and exceptions were granted on a case by case basis. If you wanted to open a store, you needed special permission. Traveling from one place to another was even subject to scrutiny. The king was the only one who was free. Therefore, anything you did was possibly cause for punishment at his sole, arbitrary discretion. Continue reading

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