Forget the national races and the will-they-won’t-they debate of whether Republicans will take back the Senate this November. Instead, consider that the political trend at the state level could reach historic proportions, paving the way for a movement that would change how DC does business.
Republicans currently control 27 state legislatures, and recent polling indicates they could capture as many as eight more following the November elections. In other words, Republicans have a good shot at claiming 32, 33, 34, or even 35 state legislatures. Given that Republicans at the state level are typically interested in limited government, this development presents an opportunity for states to follow their constitutional obligation to pass nonpartisan, popular constitutional reforms via an Article V convention of states.
A Runaway Federal Government
A recent study indicated that average Americans have “virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country.” If Americans have an opinion on a matter, the federal government is more likely to listen to lobbyists and big business cronies. The vast majority of Americans want a balanced budget amendment, Congressional term limits, an end to judicial lifetime appointments, an end to corporate welfare, and the abolishment of the IRS. Most members of the federal government, elected or otherwise, either could not care less or are actively opposing such efforts.
What will GOP control of the Senate mean? Almost nothing. Yes, Republicans will be able to block the President’s appointments, (if Mitch McConnell has the resolve), and yes, Republicans can push legislation through both houses of Congress which puts political pressure on the President. However, President Obama will inevitably veto any measures that seek to repeal or reform Obamacare, secure the border, or lessen federal taxation and spending. The next two years are destined to be a period of do-nothing partisan politics as a lame-duck President continues to work on his golf game and play the weary demagogue.
Even if Republicans can hold onto both Houses of Congress in 2016, and even if a Republican President is elected, there is little evidence to suggest that party leadership is prepared to institute significant reforms that would resolve the nation’s systemic problems, including the looming bankruptcy of entitlement programs Medicare and Social Security.
Republican leadership has showed an apathy and cowardice that suggests they are unlikely to pursue significant cuts to government, a balanced budget, or term limits. Even if a Republican President or Congress institutes some of the necessary reforms, they can essentially be repealed by their successors. What’s more is that all branches of the federal government, under both parties, have grown the federal Leviathan to the point that we are nearly indistinguishable from tyrannical forms of government. For all intents and purposes, we are living in a post-constitutional America. There is virtually no reason we should pin our hopes on the federal leadership of either party.
The Constitutional Solution
Article V of the Constitution. James Madison called it “the final resort” should the government overstep its bounds. Many Founding Fathers were advocates for the state-led process, including Alexander Hamilton and George Mason.
Article V says that states can call a convention for proposing constitutional amendments if two-thirds (34) pass similar resolutions. Delegates representing the various states then meet up and craft their proposals. When three-fourths (38) of the state legislatures pass an amendment, it becomes part of the Constitution. Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President—i.e. those elitists who have been ignoring us for decades—have virtually no say in the process.
This year, three states (Alaska, Florida, and Georgia) have passed resolutions calling for an Article V convention that would limit the federal government’s jurisdiction and thereby restoring liberties and prosperity to all Americans. Possible amendments on the lips of many state legislators include a balanced budget amendment, congressional term limits, and other limits on the bureaucracy that would forever change how DC does business.
While the media obsesses over what party or political faction has the upper hand, perhaps we should push forward the movement where we have the upper hand over the elitist Washington insiders.
We should encourage our state legislators to pursue an Article V convention, and state legislators should utilize this rare opportunity to institute lasting reforms for a more prosperous, more free America. It’s their constitutional responsibility.