Republicans: The Key Progressives
The midterm election won’t produce any constitutional policy change unless leaders step up in integrity or courage.
December 8, 2018 drafted
August 21, 2020 published
Policy change isn’t determined by the balance of Republicans vs. Democrats. Policy change is determined by the balance of Republican constitutionalists vs. Republican Progressives.
Democrats never make the difference. By themselves, they’re never popular enough to win the permanent supermajorities that result from melding Democrat Progressives with Republican Progressives.
Republicans make the difference. As carved in granite by Republican Progressives’ false promise of Obamacare repeal, the Republicans are the party that blocks constitutionalism and ratchet-locks Progressivism into place.
Progressivism isn’t an ideology. Progressivism isn’t an adaptive set of policy objectives. Progressivism is a process for circumventing the Constitution.
Progressivism Can Be Quantified
The bedrock innovation in the Constitution is its delegation of powers to national and state government people to rein in other national and state government people. When government people use their offsetting powers, individuals’ freedoms become secure from government people .
Constitutionalism is the process of government people using constitutional powers against other government people. Progressivism is the process of government people not using constitutional powers against other government people.
Knowing this, we can quantify what policy change the latest election hath wrought. The answer is: none.
The constitutionalism of representatives and senators in their major votes is reliably measured by Conservative Review’s Scorecard of Liberty Scores . These scores’ opposites, obtained as 100% minus the Liberty Scores, are what I call Progressive Scores.
Progressive Scores are key because the constitutionalism of legislation is determined not by the constitutionalists whose Progressive Scores are low, but by the Progressives whose Progressive Scores are high. These swing votes are where the boundary lines of Progressivism push out or get pushed back. Progressive Scores help focus us on the people whose impacts are key.
Using the midterm results, we can immediately project the Progressive Scores of the Republican representatives, vice president, senators, and president for 2019-2020.
Table. Republicans’ Progressive Scores projected for 2019-2020
Progressive laws come from Progressive swing votes, Senate presiding officers, and presidents
|||Projected for 2019‑2020||% Point change|
|Republican leader personal voting||64% Progressive||0%|
|Republican average||41% Progressive||-2%|
|Republican range||0%-78% Progressive||0%|
|Republican swing vote||78% Progressive||+13%|
|Republican Senate president||88% Progressive||0%|
|Republican leader personal voting||64% Progressive||0%|
|Republican average||46% Progressive||0%|
|Republican range||0%-90% Progressive||0%|
|Republican swing vote per Republican Senate rules||88% Progressive||0%|
|Republican swing vote per Constitution||78% Progressive||-5%|
|Republican President||88% Progressive||0%|
|Republican swing vote to sustain veto in House||62% Progressive||+11%|
|Republican swing vote to sustain veto in Senate||60% Progressive||+3%|
In the new House, the Republican swing vote is projected to be 78% Progressive.
In the new Senate, Senate president Mike Pence, having not enforced constitutionally-required simple-majority Senate voting in the last session, is projected to remain as Progressive as the swing vote per the unconstitutional Senate rules, 88% Progressive.
(Yes, apart from in specific exceptional cases that are clearly stated in the Constitution, the Constitution clearly requires simple-majority voting in the Senate. The Constitution requires that each senator’s vote must count as 1 vote, but the unconstitutional filibuster/cloture Senate rules count each majority senator’s vote as equivalent to only 40/60 = 2/3 of a minority senator’s vote. Also, the Constitution delegates to vice presidents the power to cast tiebreaking votes in the Senate, but the unconstitutional filibuster/cloture Senate rules prevent tie votes. And it’s unconstitutional for Senate rules to trump the Supreme Law.)
In upcoming executive reviews of legislation, President Trump, having never vetoed legislation in the last session, is projected to also remain as Progressive as the swing vote per the unconstitutional Senate rules, 88% Progressive.
The Republican Party Is Robustly Progressive
Why do these key Republicans range up to 78%-88% Progressive? The party’s organizational dynamics are robust.
The party rules welcome Progressives. Laws limit campaign contributions by individuals to challengers. Media people favor Progressives. Long ago, Progressive laws and party rules extinguished informative caucuses and substituted uninformative primaries. Nowadays the laws and rules sometimes count nonparty votes and even noncitizen votes.
The money and free media that are political life or death are controlled by Progressives. Such leaders who control life and death operate much like mob bosses. Mob bosses must be pacified, except by the rare minion who rises to equal power on his home turf.
Progressives, being only human, naturally resist fixes to laws or party rules as if their own personal survival is at stake; and politically, it is. Their resistance is fierce.
Finally, coming full circle, Progressives empowered by the rules retain control of the rules.
One way this robustly-Progressive system might be overpowered is if a leader would rise despite the rules, like Reagan, or if a leader would rise exploiting the rules, like Trump, and then would fix the rules.
But Reagan didn’t fix the Republican rules. And Trump has pushed back grassroots reforms and has further centralized power . This path, if it’s feasible at all, awaits some combination of systemically-weakened resistance and a greater leader.
But other powerful paths are available immediately.
Liberty Is Increased by Integrity
The Constitution is silent about political parties, but provides manifold powers to limit Progressivism. Government people simply need to use their powers against other government people. Strong powers are ready and waiting.
The power that’s strongest and fastest by far is the power of integrity. No government official is called upon to act in any way that he regards as violating the Constitution, as he himself understands the Constitution. Integrity was normal to the Constitution’s drafters and ratifiers, men who would duel to defend their sacred honor.
This power of conscience is codified into national-government people’s and state-government people’s oaths of office. The president’s Article II oath is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Every other civil officer’s Article VI oath is to support the Constitution.
The only way any person can protect or support the Constitution is to only perform actions that he himself considers constitutional .
Presidents and state officials who correctly regard abortion as unconstitutionally violating the 5th-Amendment right to life, for example, are required by their oaths to not execute statutes or opinions that support abortion.
The same reasoning applies on down the line to all unconstitutional actions, including these substantial denials of our rights to not be deprived of our life, liberty, or property:
National executive and state executives are delegated serious power to support the Constitution. They are delegated zero power to defy the Constitution.
The USA’s people already are great. The USA’s government people once were great.
Maybe true constitutionalism awaits the return of government people who are truly great, but exceeds the understanding and honor of every current national-government leader and state-government leader. Given the allure of personal ambitions and the reach of Progressive party leaders, vigilant constitutionalism may be out of the reach of We the People, for now. If so, what then?
Liberty Is Increased by Courage
As noted, Vice President Pence is required to preside over the Senate. In doing this—his job—Pence should refuse to comply with the unconstitutional filibuster/cloture Senate rules. This one exercise of constitutional power against others in government would improve liberty by changing new legislation from 88% Progressive to only 78% Progressive.
As also noted, President Trump has veto power. Trump should veto any bills that are unconstitutional. This one exercise of constitutional power against others in government would improve liberty by changing new legislation to only 60% Progressive. Vetoes in the last session of Congress would have improved liberty by changing new legislation to only 51% Progressive.
Constitutionalist vetoes would surely block any future appropriations that would be agreed to by Progressives. By constitutionally vetoing added spending and by sustaining the vetoes, the president and the most-constitutionalist 1/3 of either the House or the Senate could, at bare minimum, freeze spending at current levels.
The Progressives’ apocalyptic spin would be that such action would shut down the government and would be a constitutional crisis. But there certainly is no constitutional requirement that officers must execute unconstitutional Progressive legislation. Quite the contrary, given officer’s individual oaths to protect and support the Constitution.
Plus, the Constitution requires a president to faithfully execute his office.
If a new appropriation never passes, then the default would become whatever total appropriation had passed most recently. A president absolutely could, and should, use his foundational Article II executive power to adjust spending by line item. For example, a president could, and should, fully fund constitutional interest payments and customary entitlement payments until the unconstitutional power grabs that generated these promises can be made right for future generations.
Using the Constitution, we delegate decisive power to government people who support the Constitution.
To support the Constitution with sacred honor, government people must act with integrity and courage.
Anthony, James. The Constitution Needs a Good Party: Good Government Comes from Good Boundaries. Neuwoehner Press, 2018.
“Scorecard – Select Your State.” Conservative Review, www.conservativereview.com/scorecard/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.
Barnes, Jim. “The GOP Establishment and Trump Embrace.” Ballotpedia, 15 July 2016, ballotpedia.org/The_GOP_establishment_and_Trump_embrace. Accessed 19 Dec. 2018.
James Anthony is a chemical engineer and the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party: Good Government Comes from Good Boundaries.