The longer I live, the more value I see in maintaining balance and avoiding extremes.
The ancient Greeks called this “the Golden Mean” or “the Golden Way.” In other words, take “nothing to excess.” Most if not all virtues can become vices if carried to extremes. For example:
Eat too much, become obese.
Eat too little, become anorexic.
Work too much, become a workaholic.
Work too little, become an indigent.
You get the picture.
People who have lived much longer than I have are claiming this is the darkest, most foreboding election cycle they have ever witnessed. Biden supporters allege that a Trump win would destroy our country and freedoms, while Trump supporters allege that a Biden win would do the same.
Considering this backdrop, one extreme view is screaming “the sky is falling,” while the other extreme is calmly agreeing with the cartoon dog, “THIS IS FINE.”
I do not wish to add to the hysteria, but do ask a serious question: If Biden wins the White House and the Democrats win the Congress next week, could this be our last free election?
First, let’s define a few terms.
“Winning Congress” means Democrats having a majority in both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
I define “free election” here to mean elections where voters have two or more distinctly different choices, and with both sides having a fair and reasonable chance of winning.
Before anyone hyperventilates or dismisses me as a crackpot, I am not claiming the US will never again have elections. I do not believe that, and many readers remember even dictatorships like the former Soviet Union and more recently Saddam Hussein in Iraq having elections. For example, Hussein proudly announced he won his 1995 re-election with a whopping 99.96% of the vote, but performed even better in 2002 when he won his one-man race with a 100% approval rate.
So the issue is not, will we continue to have elections, but what kind of elections might they be?
Consider where we stand in October 2020. The points below are not right-wing ravings or conspiracy theories, but actual issues some leading Democrats have claimed, suggested, or already put into effect.
Granting Statehood for DC: The fact that DC residents do not belong to a state and thus lack representation in the Senate has been a sticking point for many for a long time. DC license plates say “Taxation without Representation. Just this past July, the Democrat-controlled House passed a bill to grant DC full statehood. This raises constitutional issues if the federal capital city can also be a state. (One solution that National Review proposed decades ago: since most federal government buildings are in a small part of DC near the National Mall, keep that tiny sliver as the actual capital city and cede 90% of the city area, the most populated region, to Maryland, so they can have full representation in Congress that way.) Heavily Democrat DC, if granted statehood and given 2 Senate seats, would easily send 2 Democrats to the Senate.
Adding other states too: Some are also calling for Puerto Rico to become a state (even though their population is about evenly split on that issue.) Opponents claim that such new statehoods could easily add 2 if not 4 Democrats to the US Senate, possibly for decades. Since the Senate (mirroring the rest of the country) has been narrowly divided for many of the recent years, adding 2 to 4 guaranteed Democrats could change the balance of power in that body for decades. And remember: the Senate confirms all judges, so its power and role are crucial. (In Virginia, we have a crucial Senate race. Sen. Mark Warner (D), who originally promised to seek only 2 terms, is seeking his third term. Dr. Daniel Gade (R), who lost a leg in combat in Iraq, wants to help Warner keep his original promise and send him packing.)
Packing the Supreme Court: Speaking of judges, Biden in Nevada recently said voters “don’t deserve to know” if he will pack the Supreme Court. There is much confusion as to what the term “pack the court” means. It means, to actually create new judgeships from scratch so the president can fill or “pack” the new seats with political cronies who will rule his way on a host of issues. The Supreme Court has had 9 judges since around the time of the Civil War. Expanding it to 11, 13, or who knows how many would probably cause it to stop being a co-equal branch of the federal government with checks and balances over the other two, and instead make it a rubber stamp for a Biden and later Democrat administrations, for decades.
Revive the “Fairness Doctrine”: This Orwellian-sounding law claimed to guarantee “fairness” by making all radio (and later TV shows) cover “both sides of every issue.” And who got to interpret what “both sides” and “balance” was? Yes, the federal government. Realizing this was a threat to first amendment free speech rights, the Reagan FCC scrapped it in 1987. This unshackling of the airwaves helped spur the rise of talk radio and more media alternatives. Democrats sought to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1993 and President Obama seemed to pine for it in a recent interview. The fact is, a healthy, vibrant democracy and well-educated citizenry need more voices and sources of news, not fewer, and we certainly do not need nameless government bureaucrats deciding what is “fair” or “balanced” in content.
Time and space to not allow us to discuss killing school choice, allowing people here illegally to vote, ending the Senate filibuster, “ballot harvesting” in California, or that voters in the Golden State in 2018 did not have a Democrat and Republican to choose from in their Senate race. Instead, California election “jungle primary” laws actually gave voters TWO Democrats to choose from that November–no Republican appeared on the ballot.
Truly, California voters had a 2018 election, with multiple candidates. However, since California has essentially become a “One Party” state and both candidates for US Senate were Democrats, was that actually a “free election”? Do you want the Democrats to do the whole country, what they have done to California?
Elections have consequences. Pray, think, and choose wisely.
– Scott Dreyer