Votes Matter When a Party Requires Good Voting Scores
If a party is good, its representatives’ actions must support the Constitution.
November 6, 2020
Voting scores that measure support for the Constitution are key resources.
These resources are already quite good, can be further improved with simple changes, and can greatly limit our governments.
Measure Government People’s Boundaries
Boundaries are simple and effective.
In personal life, if you take care of yourself you will end up in better shape. When you are in better shape, you will be better able to help others.
People begin learning about boundaries very early in life. What 3-year-old doesn’t understand “mine”?
Throughout life, people keep learning how to keep good boundaries . When they don’t, there are natural consequences: people’s relationships are draining and are prone to fail.
Such pain is a strong motivator. As a result, people typically keep learning to do better at respecting and asserting boundaries in their personal lives.
In government, boundaries are the key.
Our life, liberty, and property become secure when government people respect others’ constitutional powers and assert their own constitutional powers .
In government currently, instead of bad boundaries resulting in natural consequences, bad boundaries are incentivized by our major parties, both of which are controlled by Progressives.
Progressivism is all about defying the Constitution . Progressives defy the Constitution by not respecting others’ constitutional powers and by not asserting their own constitutional powers.
Defying the Constitution makes governments not limited. With governments not limited, Progressive policymaking then rips through our property. Person A and person B agree to spend money and have person C pay for it, making person C the forgotten man .
Progressive governance makes we the people the forgotten men.
Our major parties are how we get stuck with elected representatives who defy the Constitution without consequence.
The remedy is to create that consequence, by having at least one constitutionalist major party that punishes Progressive actions by disqualifying elected representatives who defy the Constitution. This disqualifying must be done by using voting scores that reflect how well elected representatives’ actions respect others’ constitutional powers and how well elected representatives defend their own constitutional powers.
Make Clear Which Action Is Right
All scorers need to grapple with our current Progressive governments’ massive unconstitutionalism—the grabbing of unenumerated powers that are reserved to the states or to the people, the delegating of legislative powers, the legislatures’ grabbing of executive powers, and on and on.
The constitutional response would be to not vote for new, expansive bills. But in the current free-for-all, often scorers treat bills as constitutional if they’re less expansive than alternative bills.
When scoring measures are brought into wide use to influence governance, scorers should as soon as possible shift to requiring greater fidelity to the Constitution.
Getting this feedback loop tight and responsive is a key need.
The best scoring would be actionable. Each desired action would be openly explained by the scorer in advance, before elected representatives take a given action on the job.
It’s great if the scoring is summarized with a measure that’s jumpy, since such quick responsiveness will promote good action. Rapid feedback and correction provides the most-accurate control . The best scoring summary measures will be fast-acting and information-rich.
It’s awful if the scoring is summarized with a measure that’s smooth, since such unresponsiveness enables bad action. The worst scoring summary measures paper over bad action.
Report Average Since Last Primary and Then Since Last Election
Each action taken by elected representatives either supports the Constitution or defies the Constitution. Elected representatives take many actions. The stream of inputs to a voting score therefore is a relatively-continuous signal.
The best scoring summary measure would be made up of all the information that’s relevant and of no information that’s irrelevant. It would contain a maximum of relevant signal and a minimum of irrelevant noise.
Scoring summary measures should inform primary voters and then should inform election voters.
Aggregating over somewhat-less-ideal periods that are still short makes a summary measure somewhat-less informative.
Aggregating over longer periods makes a summary measure uneven and highly deceptive.
Outstanding incumbents’ voting will still show through, true enough.
But bad Republican incumbents will often have voted as if they’re constitutionalists while they were in the minority and they knew that constitutionalist bills won’t pass, and will have voted as the Progressives they are when they were in the majority and they knew that constitutionalist bills would otherwise have passed. When a score is aggregated across an incumbent’s lifetime, a Republican Progressive’s gaming of his votes during the periods when he was in the minority will make his summary score look very-deceptively good.
Support of Constitution Is Measured Already
For several possibly-constitutionalist scoring measures, key stats are compared in the table.
Table. Key Statistics as Measured by Conservative Review and John Birch Society Scoring.
The measurements of how well each elected representative supports the Constitution are defensibly good using the Conservative Review Liberty Score , and using the John Birch Society Freedom Index current values since the last regular election in each seat, rather than using the John Birch Society Freedom Index base values, which are lifetime averages .
In Congress, Both Parties’ Swing Voters Vote the Same
Democrats’ scores all concentrate in the measurement scale’s lower half, indicating that Democrat elected representatives all are Progressive. Republicans’ scores vary across the full scale, indicating that Republican elected representatives range from highly Progressive to highly constitutionalist.
Critically, in the House, the Democratic swing vote’s CR Liberty Score is a predictably-Progressive 18%, but in the Senate, the Republican swing vote’s CR Liberty Score is an astoundingly-Progressive 22%.
This means that the swing senator whose vote must be won to be able to pass a bill in the Republican-majority Senate is almost as Progressive as the swing representative whose vote must be won to be able to pass a bill in the Democrat-majority House.
The Republicans’ swing votes ae Progressive because the Republican party processes not only don’t guarantee that Republican elected representatives will support the Constitution but also actively oppose Republican candidates who will support the Constitution .
The current party system needs to be changed. A good party needs to disqualify incumbents who score below 80% using the CR Liberty Score or using a measure that’s comparable or better .
Given a Choice, Voters Limit Governments
Once at least one good party offers such a real choice, that party’s candidates will be elected by voters.
In the 2016 election, primary majorities and electoral majorities elected the candidate they believed would take the most-constitutionalist action.
In the 1789, 1792, 1980, 1984, 2010, and 2014 elections, and in many elections in between, majorities of voters elected the candidates who took the most-constitutionalist action.
This was especially true before 1894, when there was almost always at least one small-government party. The smaller-government party always became dominant (and then always broke bad , because of its poor design ).
The Republican Party allows anyone to win primaries and elections. Despite the party’s actively opposing constitutionalists, some constitutionalists make use of the party’s ballot access, run the gauntlet of party opposition in both candidate-selection elections and general elections, and get elected . Sadly, this is the exception.
Overall, the Republican Party is the lynchpin guarding the rear flank of the Progressives, denying voters a real choice .
Voters want a real choice to limit governments. A good party will offer a real choice.
Make votes make a real difference, and governments will be self-limited. Then free people will simply work together to add value, and this will create a far-better future for all people.
James Anthony is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party: Good Government Comes from Good Boundaries and rConstitution Papers: Offsetting Powers Secure Our Rights. Mr. Anthony is an experienced chemical engineer with a master’s in mechanical engineering.