Jimmy Sengenberger

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Battlefield CO: Pre-Election Roundup

November 3, 2014 2014 Elections, Campaigns, Issues, Public Policy, Seng Center Blog 2014 elections, Colorado, Cory Gardner, House of Representatives, Mark Udall, Marv Treiger, Republican Congress, Saul Alinsky

Beauprez-GardnerIt is the day before the election.  This morning the Democratic PPP poll has Gardner 48% over Udall 45% for a +3%.  The “gold standard” Des Moines Register poll has Ernst at 51% to Braley at 44% for a +7 edge.  Quinnipiac has Ernst and Braley tied.  This means that 2 of the 3 Democratic “firewall states” (the third being North Carolina where Tillis trails by -3) are likely to go Republican thus shifting the Senate.

Being the day before the election, it is the final push to attend to Undecideds, Independents and lazy or ambivalent Republicans.  Every person reading this needs to do something because nothing is in the bag.  Personally, on Tuesday my day begins escorting a Polish-American father and husband, working-class citizen to the polls.

My friend has never registered to vote and has challenges with English.  Yet he knows with his sweet smile that he is a Republican.  If he doesn’t show for our rendezvous at 10:00AM, I’ll find him and wring his neck.  He knows that too.  🙂

With others, I recommend articulating the 70% rule.  If you agree with 70% of what a candidate offers, then believe you have a dog in the fight and vote for that person.  If you agree with your candidate 100%, then I will have to reactivate my psychotherapy license and take you as a client!

There are always surprises in every election cycle.  One such surprise was actually revealed in a recent Harvard poll: among likely Millennial voters (aged 18-29) Republicans out-polled Democrats 51% to 47%.  I have no doubt that Millennials still support Democrats but their numbers are declining and they are less inclined to be likely voters.  Even Silicon Valley’s tech center industries have contributed more to Republicans this year (52%.)

I’m predicting (wishful thinking?) that African-American turnout will not rise to the Democrat’s expectations and that the last minute race-baiting will partially backfire.  Turnout will be way down from 2012 and – even if somewhat up from 2010 – the percent voting Democrat will drop into the 80-90% range from the high of 95% in 2012.

This powerful video has emerged from Chicago slums: from the outfit “Rebel Pundit.”  it suggests something is stirring at the grass roots even among the poorest communities.

I sense this shift because every economic index is pointing downward in African-American communities.  Obama has been a huge disappointment.  He has also become an increasing embarrassment.  If 2012 was about reaffirming loyalty to the first black president and staying the course, than this election may be about incompetence in achieving his goals.

The last minute race-baiting by Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and by Kay Hagan of North Carolina carry the inauthentic ring of desperation.  Yet early results are showing a higher black turnout than 2010.

What is new are growing cross-currents of rebellion against the lock-step consensus and we will have to see how they play out.  In Colorado, organizers like Derrick Wilburn of “American Conservatives of Color,” and grassroots candidates like Jeffery Washington are making a difference.  Star Parker’s work with Black Pastors has been crucial.

Powerful political ads coming from Elbert Guillery, the African-American state senator from Louisiana and are being run in his own state and in North Carolina.  He even made a direct reply to Landrieu the day before yesterday:

Yet I must agree with Peggy Noonan in one of her best “Declarations” (Wall Street Journal 11/1/14) as she reflected upon the electorate as a whole in regard to Ebola and other issues: “It is hard to believe you can patronize people, and play them, and they will not, first chance they get, sharply rebuke you.”

However the African-American vote pans out, other signs point to a growing wave for Republicans this election.  The last 7-10 days have shown a movement towards Republicans and a slight movement away from Democrats.  Waves are not made of double-digit blowouts, but rather, out of accumulations of small and decisive advances over a broad field and usually take place in the final days of the campaigns.

The Republicans took 6 seats in the 2010 wave.  They will almost certainly take 6 this time around.  I would call that a wave.

The Stakes in the Election

Udall-GardnerThe Obama Agenda is nothing less than an effort to strengthen the executive and bureaucracy over the legislature.  If achieved, this would undermine the separation and balance of powers essential to a free republic.  Progressives have long argued that America needs a “living Constitution.”  They suggest that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are historically outmoded.  Society has grown more complex and the reigning ideas of our times demand an overhaul and an update of our founding documents.

It is true that the American Republic has accreted unto itself a vast and expansive bureaucracy.  “Rights” have likewise been expanded.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg even suggested that new nations might model themselves more on the South African Constitution than on our own.  It is hard to imagine that a Supreme Court Justice would not know that South Africa’s Constitution was modeled after the Soviet Union’s (Stalin’s) 1936 Constitution.  Stalin’s document contained new “rights” that deprive others of their rights and virtually no protections.

Many, even among conservatives, have forgotten our origins in English common law and the centuries old struggle against absolutism.  It is ironic that next year the U.K. will be celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta as the achievements of centuries are threatened.

Absolutism had origins in the “divine right of kings” and was gradually curtailed and replaced by common law and Parliamentary law.  Administrative law, otherwise known as administrative power, nevertheless prevailed for centuries through kingly prerogative and judicial courts set up to uphold or accommodate these absolute powers.

These powers are established through proclamations and administered by bureaucracies unresponsive to citizens’ input.  Whenever the bureaucratic adjunct of an executive branch becomes quasi-autonomous, vast, self-funds itself (automatic entitlements, i.e. are now 2/3 of actual budgets), and has independent police powers (IRS) – it necessarily becomes unaccountable, unresponsive and increasingly arrogant.  We have seen these features grow in department after department.  You end up saddled with the rise of creeping absolutism.

These are ancient threats not new solutions.  The penchant for absolutism is as old as human society.  The American Revolution defeated its threat and ushered in a new epoch in human history.

The Progressive movement obscures this history in order to slip the ancient scourge of absolutism back in through a side door.  In the 1880’s, German Universities promoted the ideas of “social engineering” through a powerful, administrative bureaucracy separate from and above the vagaries of the popular opinion.

Thousands of American students studied abroad in those years and brought these reactionary utopian ideas back.  They founded the Progressive Movement and got their first really big boost in the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

Today we can see the fruit of these ideas in the European Union.  Seated in Brussels, this body has all but substituted bureaucratic prerogatives for democratic deliberation over basic issues in member countries.

The other absolutist stream feeding this current arises from Marxism-Leninism.  Communist theory (see Lenin) posits the replacement of the “state” (defined as violent rule by one class over another) with the “the administration of things” in a highly, productive classless society.  Administrative law is wrongly treated as benign once classes are gone.

The road to this utopia – and here is the rub – must pass through a period of an absolutist “dictatorship of the proletariat” eventually established on a world scale.  Lord Acton’s famous dictum that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies in full.  These experiences invariably end with the revolutionaries eventually eating one another until the whole project comes crashing down.  Administrative power is coin of the realm in all dictatorships.

The survivors of the carnage and some hypnotized bystanders in other countries either claim the true revolution was betrayed or had sadly never really been tried.  For these unfortunate folks there is no “falsifying principle” which is a hallmark of the scientific method.  Neither failure, nor defeat, nor even destruction can ever invalidate the theory.  It is truly a case of never having to say you’re sorry.

In our times, these two currents (Progressivism and the remnants of revolutionary Marxism) have more or less merged in practice by forming united fronts when necessary against Conservatives.  Culturally, you are permitted to be anywhere on the liberal spectrum and are welcomed in social circles so long as you are not a Republican.  You may even have been an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayres and be honored among your academic peers.  Hillary Clinton’s infatuation with Saul Alinsky’s thought and methods are a case in point.

The mainstream of the modern Democratic Party has become home to these currents.  They are not your daddy’s Democratic Party nor can they be properly referred to as the “loyal opposition,” i.e. the form of opposition in a healthy Republic.  They seek to replace the Constitutional framework through laws, executive orders, judicial rule and bureaucratic dictates (EPA, etc.) until that framework is a hollow construct.

The New Congress

A Republican Congress must become the occasion for the re-education and restoration of a viable Republic.  It is likely that the Republican House will expand and come close to the 245 seats held in 1947.  If this takes place, Speaker Boehner will be able to operate far more effectively with greater possibilities of forming successful coalitions.

A Republican Senate means that gridlock in Congress will be broken.  The House has passed 360 Bills that have died in the Senate due to Harry Reid’s refusal to take them up or by sabotaging the amendment process.  Many of these Bills were killed to save Democratic colleagues the embarrassment of having to vote for them.

I have no doubt that the reputation of Congress will rise from its current low of 8%.  That low figure always counted on a compliant media tending to blame the Tea Party and conservatives for the gridlock while letting Harry Reid – the dictator of the Senate – off the hook.

Obama may be forced into isolation through excessive and pernicious use of his veto.  Another alternative is that he will have to compromise to save his “legacy” and the Democratic Party.  This is a far less likely prospect than it was for Clinton.  Congressional investigations with teeth in them could rein in the bureaucracy and set the stage for new legislation while educating the public.

Above all, the Republicans can tee up a policy platform for 2016 and begin the battle for its implementation.  The first act should be authorizing the Keystone Pipeline.  This should be part of a general policy deregulating energy.

Next, measures to get the economy going in a way that expands opportunities for more and more of the population.  Principal among these would be corporate tax reform putting American policies in line with the rest of the industrialized world.

The negative impact on National Security of the forced cuts in the sequester budget must be reversed.  We need to expand the navy so that freedom of the seas is again guaranteed.  We need to rethink missile defense in an era when nuclear weapons may be acquired by Iran and when states, like Pakistan, may increase in instability and when old adversaries like Russian may become more threatening.  We need to be assure that our armed forces and their supplies are adequate to the tasks before us.

We need to send a message to our enemies that a force in America is re-awakening and to our friends that the time will may not be far off when we will once again have their backs.

Comprehensive immigration reform should be initiated in the form of a series of bills originating in the House and beginning with border security.  We should not begin here because of Republican disagreements but we must establish a clear path to legal residency and then a path to citizenship.

We cannot wait long on proposing these reforms.  We are facing an immigration that includes the chaos of children entering en masse, of the return of deported criminals violating again, of the dangers of illnesses such as Tuberculosis and Ebola being introduced, and of Jihadist terrorists gaining easy entry to carry out attacks.

We need a system that is humane, fair and verifiable and includes a guest worker program.  We owe this to those wishing to come here and we owe it to those already here.  We must never forget the culpability for this mess lies primarily with ourselves – Democrat and Republican alike – and we need a bi-partisan solution.

Many of these policies will not actually be implemented immediately due to Obama’s obstructionism but they can lay the basis for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Whatever we do on whatever front, its impact on restoring a balanced Republic rooted in our founding values must be the overriding idea.

May we wake up Wednesday to news of victory in the key battle for Colorado, for the Senate, for America and for the world.

My experience here in Colorado has humbled me and I’m so proud to have taken part in whatever small way I could.