Thursday, March 21, 2019

Democrats exercising new-found power: some good, some not so much

Since Democrats reclaimed the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives last November, they have wasted no time in putting their agenda into action. 

Unsatisfied with the special counsel’s investigation of then-candidate, and now-President, Donald Trump’s alleged illegal interaction with Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, there has been a lot of talk about starting new Trump investigations, all while serious national problems are left waiting for attention.

But the House has produced and passed one piece of legislation, H.R. 1, which the Democrat majority calls the “For the People Act.” It is intended “To expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.”

H.R. 1 has some potentially good features, if properly structured, such as reducing big money in politics.Money for political campaigns should come only from those who are eligible to vote for those candidates or measures on the ballot, and who will be directly affected by those elections. That includes businesses in districts where they actually operate, which should be able to make limited contributions.

However, H.R. 1 contains campaign-spending restrictions that benefit incumbents, including President Donald Trump. Why should incumbents receive favored status?

One poorly considered feature is that Democrats want to lower the voting age to 16. They argue that 16 year-olds are old enough to drive, get married, rent an apartment, work and pay taxes, therefore they are old enough to vote. However, that list contains things that are not universally allowed for 16 year-olds across the nation, and other things that require parental approval.

We are reminded that voting is a right. But it is also a serious responsibility; it should not be available to just anyone, or to everyone. Voting requires maturity, knowledge and forethought. Are 16 year-olds really mature enough, and knowledgeable enough to vote responsibly?

When the voting age was lowered from the age of majority – 21 years of age – to 18, the rationale was that anyone old enough to fight, be injured or perhaps die for their country is old enough to vote.

Whether one is capable of voting responsibly is not a question of age, but of preparation and maturity. At what age is someone adequately versed in the way our country is organized, and why it was designed that way? At what age are they knowledgeable enough about political issues and candidates?

Therefore, a better idea would be that someone 18, 19 or 20 who is actually serving in the military would be able to vote. Otherwise, that right and responsibility comes at age 21.

Some Democrats would go even farther in allowing unprepared and otherwise ineligible people to vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, recently proposed a truly irresponsible idea. Citing what she termed the wondrous things immigrants bring to America, she said: “And we want them, when they come here, to be fully part of our system. And that means not suppressing the vote of our newcomers to America.” She left unaddressed the question of whether they are here legally or illegally.

Given the Democrats consistent obstruction of Trump’s efforts to halt the entry of thousands of illegal aliens across the southern border, it appears that she not only prefers no restriction on who comes into America, but also thinks that once here they should be able to vote in elections.

It is incomprehensible that so many actually think this idea is sensible. Many or perhaps most of those wanting to enter America are good people looking for a better life. But not all are. They need to prove they deserve to be admitted, before they come in, and not receive any benefits until they do.

Though not a part of H.R. 1, the Electoral College is a target of the Left. Many of them, still feeling the sting of defeat more than two years after the election, think it denied Clinton the presidency after she collected more of the popular vote than did Trump.

The Electoral College is an original element in the Founders’ design of the government, being addressed in Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the way presidential elections are conducted. It was a brilliant element of our government’s structure.

In reality, Clinton lost because she ran a bad campaign, choosing not to campaign in some states that ended up voting red. This helps explain precisely why the Electoral College is necessary: because Americans who do not live on the coasts and in other population centers – who live in what is called “flyover country” – deserve something to balance their desires and electoral preferences against those of the population centers.

Ask yourself: Do we really want presidential candidates focusing only on New York, California and a few other highly populated places during campaigns, telling them what it takes to get their votes, and ignoring the rest of us? 

The Electoral College helps balance the electoral power of large states and large cities with the tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise be at their mercy. It must be protected from the power seekers.

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