The year 2014 will go into the history books as a wave election for Republicans. They took control of both houses of Congress, not to mention the election of several Republican governors (including in dark blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland). The United States now has 31 Republican governors.
The most important and impressive victories, however, were in the state legislatures. Of the 99 legislative chambers in the United States, Republicans flipped control in 10 chambers for a total of 69 chambers. That means that Republicans have majorities of both houses in 30 states and 70 percent of the legislative bodies. Additionally, Nebraska has a non-partisan unicameral legislature that typically leans Republican. Those numbers are historic in the modern era, but consider that there are also eight states where the legislature is split with Republicans controlling one of the two legislative bodies. Only 11 states have Democratic majorities in both houses.
Why focus on the state legislatures? Two words: Article V. Washington is broken, and a Republican-controlled Congress is not going to change that. The national GOP leadership has proven itself to be incapable of addressing the structural threats to our republic just as much as the Democratic leaders. Both the House’s Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as well as the future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have indicated they will not pursue a complete repeal of Obamacare, nor are they interested in enacting policies that will solve the nation’s long-term problems.
We have a national debt that is crippling our economy, and unfunded liabilities total as much as $200 trillion. Our federal government is spending money we simply don’t have. Before long, it’s going to catch up with us in the forms of hyperinflation, economic instability, and higher taxes. Secondly, the powers-that-be in Washington D.C. perpetuate a cycle of corruption. Career politicians hold office solely to expand their own power and wealth, and they usually represent K Street lobbyists and party bigwigs, not their constituents. We have to change the way D.C. does business, starting with two constitutional amendments: a balanced budget amendment, and congressional term limits.
There are two ways to amend the Constitution, per the Framers of the Constitution. The first way is via Congress, but this Congress is clearly incapable of solving the crises they have created. The second option is a convention of the states. Once 34 state legislatures call for a convention, they can meet to craft and propose amendments that will limit the federal government. Those proposals are then passed onto the state legislatures. For a proposed amendment to become part of the Constitution, 38 states must approve.
This year’s elections puts the states in a historical position to do just that. With full or partial control in 39 states, Republicans can call a convention that would “impose fiscal restraints on the Federal Government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.” That language was drafted by Convention of States Project, whose resolution has already been passed in three states (Georgia, Alaska, and Florida). Next year, they see their resolution being proposed in 20 or more states.
James Madison called an Article V convention “the final resort” to rein in a runaway federal government. George Mason, another delegate at the Constitutional Convention thought this provision necessary “should the government become oppressive.” Alexander Hamilton also wrote extensively about Article V in Federalist 85, wherein he states: “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” Clearly, the Framers of the Constitution thought this provision a necessary safeguard against an overreaching federal government.
In order to address the “runaway convention” myth, The Assembly of State Legislatures is set to convene for a third time on December 8 and 9 at the Naval Heritage Center. They will craft rules for a future Article V convention that will establish a working framework for that body.
Although the Article V convention of states movement is non-partisan, Republican lawmakers tend to be more open to a convention that would limit the power and scope of the federal government. However, even many Democrat state legislators have shown enthusiasm for a balanced budget amendment and congressional term limits, especially since 75 percent of Americans favor these reforms. With the activism of the American people, state legislators in both parties can be persuaded to vote in favor of an Article V convention.
Red Millennial has added its own endorsement of Convention of States Project, because we think this is the one way by which the people can rein in the federal government. We encourage our readers to visit their interactive site by which you can encourage your own state legislators to support this exciting movement.
In addition to modern leaders in the liberty movement, President Ronald Reagan and economist Milton Friedman were also outspoken supporters of the Article V convention. As Reagan said, “I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”