Head-Counting – The Democrat Way

One thing we can always be certain of is that Democrats are the ultimate pragmatists.  If they were a football team and they couldn’t beat my Philadelphia Eagles with eleven men on the field, they’d find a way to get thirteen or fourteen players on their side of the football, and it wouldn’t matter much what the NFL rule book or the game officials had to say about it.  It’s just the way they play the game.

For example, during the mid-1930s, FDR complained that far too many of his New Deal social and economic initiatives were being thwarted by the Supreme Court.  These included decisions on Social Security, federal taxes, and monetary policy, among others.  Thus, in a March 9, 1937 radio address to the nation, he had this to say:  

“Last Thursday I described the American form of government as a three-horse team provided by the Constitution to the American people so that their field might be plowed.  The three horses are, of course, the three branches of government – the Congress, the executive, and the courts.  Two of the horses, the Congress and the executive, are pulling in unison today; the third is not. Those who have intimated that the president of the United States is trying to drive that team, overlook the simple fact that the presidents, as chief executive, is himself one of the three horses. It is the American people themselves who are in the driver s seat.  It is the American people themselves who want the furrow plowed.  It is the American people themselves who expect the third horse to fall in unison with the other two… 

“What is my proposal?  It is simply this: whenever a judge or justice of any federal court has reached the age of seventy and does not avail himself of the opportunity to retire on a pension, a new member shall be appointed by the president then in office, with the approval, as required by the Constitution, of the Senate of the United States… The number of judges to be appointed would depend wholly on the decision of present judges now over seventy, or those who would subsequently reach the age of seventy.

“If, for instance, any one of the six justices of the Supreme Court now over the age of seventy should retire as provided under the plan, no additional place would be created.  Consequently, although there never can be more than fifteen, there may be only fourteen, or thirteen, or twelve. And there may be only nine.”

In other words, if Roosevelt’s radical social and economic proposals couldn’t pass muster before the Supreme Court, he’d gradually increase the size of the court from six justices to as many as fifteen by adding one additional justice each time a sitting justice reached the age of seventy but chose not to retire.  It was his way of getting that third horse to pull the way he wanted.

But Roosevelt’s “court packing” plan was nothing new to Republicans, then or now.  In a February 7, 1894 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator George F. Hoar (R-MA) said the following:

“Wherever there is a crevice in our protection of the freedom of the ballot, there you will find the Democratic Party trying to break through.  Wherever we have left open an opportunity to get possession of an office, contrary to the true and constitutional will of the majority, there you will find that party pressing; there you will find that party exercising an ingenuity before which even the great inventive genius of the American People, exerted in other directions, fails and is insignificant in the comparison.”

Senator Hoar and other Republicans were fully aware of the lengths to which Democrats would go in order to win and hold power.  They were fully aware that, in 1787, Democrats exercised their considerable political ingenuity to win major concessions in the U.S. Constitution.  As delegates to the Constitutional Convention struggled to complete their work in Philadelphia during the long hot summer of 1787, the delegates from the southern states schemed to win a greater number of seats in the Congress than they would otherwise have been entitled to.

The result of their treachery was language added to Article I, Section 2, which reads as follows: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

While the language adopted was skillfully obtuse, their intent left nothing to the imagination.  In other words, in addition to the numbers of free persons and bond servants enumerated by census in each state, the slave states could increase their representation in the U.S. Congress by counting each slave as three-fifths of a person.  Although the slaves were viewed as “property,” without citizenship and voting rights, Democrats saw no moral contradiction in counting each of them as three-fifths of a person when the census-taker arrived at their door. 

The significance of the three-fifths rule was such that, by 1793, five years after the Constitution was ratified, slaveholding states had 47 congressmen, 14 more than the 33 they would have been entitled to in the absence of the three-fifths rule.  As might be expected, in the 74 years between the ratification of the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation, the three-fifths rule had a significant impact on the presidency, the leadership of the House of Representatives, and the ideological makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democrats of today are much the same as they were 125 years ago when Senator Hoar subjected them to a well-deserved public beat-down.  They continue to specialize in the practice of identity politics, playing the poor against the rich, blacks against the whites, the uneducated against the educated, the young against the old, and women against men.  In other words, wherever they can find a “crevice” in our society, some appearance of division, they find creative ways to exploit it and to sow the seeds of discord and victimhood.  Without the ability to convince large numbers of people that they have been victimized, pointing the finger of blame at alleged victimizers… most often conservatives and Republicans… the Democratic Party could not exist.  

Since the Emancipation Proclamation and the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, Democrats have been forced to reevaluate their approach toward African-Americans.  Whereas they were happy to consider blacks as three-fifths of a person for some 75 years, the fact that blacks had been granted citizenship and voting rights called for a totally new approach.  And while the period between 1865 and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court can best be described as the “KKK era,” in which Democratic “night-riders” murdered thousands of blacks and white Republicans, the party’s relationship with black Americans quickly evolved into a smothering paternalism as white Democrats came to the realization that they could no longer oppress blacks as second-class citizens through violence and intimidation.  They quickly found creative ways to purchase the loyalty of blacks through taxpayer-supported social welfare schemes, and the descendants of slaves were quickly transformed into the most reliable voting bloc of the Democratic Party.

The “three-fifths of a person” strategy of 1787 produced exceptional results for southern Democrats in terms of congressional representation.  What better way to repeat that success in the early 21st century than to inflate the populations of the states containing the greatest numbers of illegal aliens by including them in the national census.  It is the one and only reason why Democrats now oppose having a citizenship question on the 2020 census form.   

As the U.S. Census Bureau prepares to print questionnaires for the 2020 national census, they are also locating and identifying every residence in every city, town, village, and rural area in the nation.  In 2020, census enumerators will be visiting every household, gathering data from individuals who failed to voluntarily complete and return the census forms that will be mailed to each household.

The Trump administration sees the 2020 census as an opportunity to learn a great deal about who is living in our country, legally or illegally, and to correct population-related anomalies created in previous census years.  In other words, how many current U.S. residents are citizens, how many are legal resident aliens, how many are illegal aliens, and how do 2020 census figures compare to 2010 figures when the Obama administration saw no value in asking census respondents whether they were citizens or non-citizens.  

Democrats across the country are understandably concerned over the makeup of the Congress and the reallocation of federal funds if the citizenship question is placed on the 2020 census form… with a stern warning that to answer any question falsely is to invite federal criminal prosecution.  And although Democrats have threatened to fight the decision in the federal courts, the president appears resolved that the question will appear on the 2020 census form… one way or another.    

However, if the citizenship question is not on the 2020 census form and Republicans find it more and more difficult to win majorities in the lower House of Congress, they will be understandably haunted by the suspicion that they and their family members are no longer counted as whole persons by our federal  government.  Instead, Democrats will have been successful, once again, in causing a major segment of the U.S. population to count as just three-fifths of persons.
 

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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The Reparations Boondoggle

According to recent news reports, at least nine of the twenty-five announced candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have called for some sort of “reparations” for African Americans. The intended beneficiaries are the ethnic descendants of those who were enslaved in the United States between 1619, when the first slave ship arrived from Africa, and January 1, 1863, when Republican president Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

So, exactly what do the proponents of “reparations” have in mind? If we were to pose that question to all nine of the Democratic candidates, we would likely get at least nine different answers. However, an organization called The Movement for Black Lives has provided an outline of what they have in mind when they demand reparations for slavery and for 160 years of discrimination and race-based oppression.

They tell us: “We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations, and other institutions that have profited off the harm they have inflicted on black people – from colonialism to slavery, through food and housing, redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance – must repair the harm done.” This includes (paraphrasing):

  1. Reparations for the systematic denial of high-quality educational opportunities. Free access to community colleges and universities, as well as technical and skilled trades training and retroactive forgiveness of student loans.
  2. Reparations for the continued discrimination toward and exploitation of minority communities in the form of a guaranteed livable minimum wage.
  3. Reparations for the wealth extracted from minority communities through racism, slavery, food apartheid, and housing discrimination, with focus on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma.
  4. Reparations in the form of mandated public school curricula that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery.
  5. Funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
  6. Federal/state legislation requiring the government to acknowledge the lasting impact of slavery. Implement a plan to address those impacts, including passage of the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.”

Although a great many blacks have “sugar plums dancing in their heads” as they visualize the postman delivering a healthy government check to their front door every month, there is little likelihood that the reparations dream will ever become a reality. However, just for the sake of argument, if Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Bernie Sanders, or Cory Booker should ever come to power in our country, bringing with them all of their nightmarish Utopian socialist dreams… including the reparations boondoggle… who would be required to ante into the reparations kitty?

In other words, if only citizens who are direct descendants of former slaves are to be recipients of reparations payments… black Americans such as Barack Obama, who has no slave blood in his veins, would be excluded… is it not reasonable to suggest that those required to contribute to the reparations jackpot should be limited to those who are direct descendants of former slave owners and oppressors? Assuming that some attempt would be made to establish degrees of personal and family culpability by evaluating “the sins of the fathers,” let’s look at the record.

The Democratic Party was founded in 1792 as the Democratic-Republican Party by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and others. Dominated by pro-slavery members, the party won its first major victory during the 1787 Constitutional Convention when delegates agreed to allow the slave states to count each slave as “three-fifths of a person.” And although slaves would not be allowed to vote, their numbers would serve to increase the number of pro-slavery Democrats in Congress, In 1828, the party dropped the “Republican” portion of its name and has been officially the Democratic Party ever since.

So, if my next door neighbor has a long family history of Democratic Party activism, while my family has a flawless record of Republican Party affiliation, including a great-grandfather who served as a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army during the war to end slavery, should my neighbor and I be required to contribute equally to the reparations boondoggle?

On July 6, 1854, the Republican Party was founded out of opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a federal statute that allowed the people of Kansas and Nebraska to decide whether they would be slave states or free states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had prohibited slavery in all states north of the 36°30′ parallel, except for the State of Missouri. At their first national convention in 1856, Republicans adopted a definitive platform which contained the assertion, “Congress did not have the right to recognize slavery, but should have an obligation and a right to abolish it.”  

Prior to the Civil War, the State of Missouri had just two pockets of strong anti-slavery sentiment… a two or three county rural enclave in east-central Missouri, populated largely by German immigrants, and a similar enclave in the Kansas City area of northwestern Missouri.

My great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather settled in east-central Missouri in 1834, where they later became dedicated Republicans. In the years following the Civil War my great-grandfather served for many years as the Presiding Judge of the St. Charles County Court in east-central Missouri, running as a Republican. With that family history as a predicate, on what basis could I be required to contribute to the reparations kitty?

On January 11, 1864, Republican Senator John B. Henderson, of Missouri, submitted a joint resolution for a 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the purpose of which was to “free all slaves and abolish slavery in the United States and its territories.” The underlying arguments presented by anti-slavery Republicans and pro-slavery Democrats drew a clear distinction between the parties… a distinction that has changed little in the intervening 155 years.

During floor debate on March 19, 1864, one of the principal spokesmen for the Democrats was Congressman Fernando Wood of New York, who argued: “The proposed Amendment to abolish slavery in the states of the Union is unjust, a breach of good faith and utterly irreconcilable… It involves the extermination of all white men of the southern States and the forfeiture of all the land and other property belonging to them. Negroes and military colonists will take the place of the race blotted out of existence.”

Speaking in favor of the joint resolution was Republican James Wilson, of Iowa. In his remarks, he said, “… As immutable as the laws of God stands the declaration, ‘slavery is incompatible with a free government….’ No religion which recognizes God’s eternal attribute of justice and breathes that spirit of love which applies to all men the sublime commandments, ‘whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them’ can ever be allowed free exercise where slavery curses men and defies God.”

It was left to Republicans to correct a constitutional oversight that had allowed slavery to flourish in the United States for nearly 250 years. Their efforts were opposed by Democrats at every turn. So, who were the friends of slavery and who were its enemies? And should the descendants of those who fought and died to end slavery now be required to pay reparations to the descendants of those who were its victims more than 150 years ago?

Beginning in 1865, southern Democrats continued their relentless efforts to re-enslave African Americans by legislating Black Codes. Along with other restrictions, the Codes established where African Americans could live, for whom they could work, the type of work they could perform, which hotels and restaurants they could patronize, where they could sit in theaters and on buses and trains, and which restrooms and drinking fountains they could use.

The Black Codes virtually re-enslaved African Americans until they were ultimately repealed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a statute that is nearly identical, word-for-word, to the Republican-sponsored Civil Rights Act of 1875. The 1875 statute was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1883 when Democrats regained a sympathetic majority on the high court.

But the greatest assault on African American freedom has been the Ku Klux Klan, a paramilitary force created by Democrats to murder and intimidate blacks and white Republicans. Although no official statistics on lynching were kept between 1865 and 1882, Tuskegee Institute records show that, between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 people were lynched by Democrat Klansmen. These included 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites… nearly all white Republicans.

Although Democrats can be expected to look only outside their “big tent” for those with deep enough pockets to finance the reparations boondoggle, there is ample evidence that, if blame is to be assessed only on the basis of racist lineage, they need only look inside their own tent.  That is where they will find the unbroken blood lines of racial bigotry, oppression, intimidation, and violence that have enslaved and oppressed black Americans for nearly 400 years.

In 2019, with black unemployment at an all-time low, Democrats are understandably concerned that their long hold on the black vote is slowly, but surely, slipping away. The political and economic plantation that Democrats have created for blacks since the 1950s and ‘60s is no longer an insurmountable barrier to political and economic freedom, and Democrats know it. If African Americans should suddenly begin to think for themselves and to shed the bonds of victimhood, the Democratic Party would simply cease to exist. It is the only reason why so many Democrat presidential hopefuls give lip service to the reparations boondoggle.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

 

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Katyal and Clement are Wrong

On March 11, 2015, Neal Katyal and Paul Clement, two of Washington’s most prominent attorneys, published a monograph in the Harvard Law Review, titled, “On the Meaning of ‘Natural Born Citizen.’ “ Given that a current high profile candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), is a US citizen, but not a “natural born” citizen, it is imperative that we now reestablish the definition of the term “natural born Citizen” as the Framers intended in Article II, Section 1, Clause V of the US Constitution.

In outlining the principal qualifications required of those who would seek to serve as president or vice president, the Constitution states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Since all those individuals who were US citizens, but not “natural born” citizens, on the day the Constitution was ratified have been deceased for well over 200 years, the current requirements for the offices of president and vice president are as follows: they must be natural born citizens, at least 35 years of age, who have been US residents for at least 14 years. The age and residency requirements are clear and unambiguous. However, the question of who is, and who is not, a “natural born” citizen has been widely debated since 2008 when Barack Hussein Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination.

Obama, a native Hawaiian, held dual US-British citizenship from August 4, 1961, his date of birth (see Part 2, Section 5(1) of the British Nationality Act of 1948), until December 12, 1963, the date upon which Kenya gained its independence from Great Britain (see Chapter VI, Section 87[3], Subsections 1 and 2, of the 1963 Kenyan Constitution). Obama’s Kenyan citizenship expired automatically under provisions of the 1963 Kenyan constitution on or about August 4, 1984 (see Chapter VI, Section 97[1] of the 1963 Kenyan Constitution). However, his dual US-Kenyan citizenship was restored under Chapter 3, Section 14 of a revised Kenyan Constitution adopted on August 5, 2010, making Obama a lifelong citizen of Kenya “by birth.”

The Katyal-Clement monograph was intended to be a definitive piece on the meaning of the term “natural born Citizen. However, their joint opinion on that subject is far from adequate, far from scholarly.

Katyal is a graduate of Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He subsequently served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States under Barack Obama from May 2010 until June 2011. Clement is a graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as Supreme Court Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He later served as Solicitor General of the United States in the George W. Bush administration from July 2004 until June 2008.

With credentials such as those, one would expect that their analysis of a principal qualification for the US presidency would be far more probative. For example, while Katyal and Clement express themselves adequately on the definition of the term “citizen,” they totally miss the mark in their stated purpose of defining the term “natural born Citizen.” Instead, like so many who believe the Constitution to be a “living” document, subject only to the political whims of the day, they conflate the terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen” as if they were synonymous, totally ignoring the fact that the Framers drew a clear distinction between the two terms, vis-à-vis “… natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”

In other words, they fail to examine why the Framers found it necessary to include what is, in effect, a “grandfather clause,” conferring presidential eligibility on those who were otherwise unable to meet the “natural born” standard at the time the Constitution was ratified in June 1788. And since the age and residency requirements were never at issue, it is abundantly clear that the Framers were concerned that there were no 35-year-old “natural born” citizens available to serve as president or vice president during the earliest years of our republic.

On June 21, 1788, the oldest “natural born” citizens in the United States were less than twelve years old, having been born in the 24-hour period following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, when their parents became American citizens. The first US president who was at least 35 years of age, who had been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years, and whose natural born status was clear and unencumbered, was Martin Van Buren, born on December 5, 1782, six years and five months after the Declaration of Independence, when both of his parents became US citizens.

Clearly, the one presidential eligibility factor that separates presidents who were “natural born” citizens from those who were merely “citizens,” made eligible under the grandfather clause .following the word “or” in Article II, Section 1, Clause V, is a question of parental citizenship.

In the entire 243-year history of the United States, 36 of our 45 presidents had parents, both of whom were US citizens when the future presidents were born, while nine… Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, Jackson, Arthur, and Obama… had parents, one or both of whom were non-US citizens when the future presidents were born. Of these, the first seven presidents were made eligible under the “grandfather clause” cited above, while presidents Arthur and Obama fall outside the required presidential eligibility standard.

When the Framers met in Philadelphia in September 1787 to approve the final draft of the U.S. Constitution, the physical scars of the War of Independence from Great Britain were still visible all around them and a deep-seated animosity toward all things British colored every aspect of their daily lives. So is it even remotely conceivable that, just five years and eleven months after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the Framers would have sent to the states for ratification a Constitution that would allow an individual with divided loyalties… e.g. an individual with dual US-British citizenshipto serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy? Not likely. It is a preposterous notion on its face. To believe that they would have done so requires a willing suspension of reason.

The Framers rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct and intellectual development. Accordingly, what the Framers feared most and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment or an ideology which might cause him to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

And while Barack Obama has proven to be a living example of what the Framers feared most, another example of “what might have been” is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Born in Canada, his father was a citizen of Cuba who, as a teenager, was a member of the Cuban resistance headed by Fidel Castro. He made his way to the United States in 1957, enrolled at the University of Texas, and graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1961. Later, after being transferred to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and acquiring Canadian citizenship, he and his American wife became parents of a son, Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz, the current junior senator from the State of Texas and a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

During that campaign, the American people were convinced that the Cruzes, father and son, were both solidly anti-Communist patriots. But that’s only what we were told. What if the exact opposite were true? What if the elder Cruz had been a dedicated Communist, a Fidelista in sheep’s clothing? And what if he had spent decades carefully indoctrinating his own son in all the benefits of life in a socialist Utopia? His son, a conservative firebrand in the US Senate, would have become the perfect “Manchurian Candidate.” It is the fear of that eventuality that caused the Framers to exclude all but the “natural born” from access to the US presidency.

But now, less than two years prior to the 2020 presidential election, we find yet another ineligible Democrat, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), as a credible candidate… most likely for the vice presidency. As they did in 2008, Democrats are once again sanctioning a candidate who is not eligible to serve as president or vice president, the only two jobs in the entire United States… public sector and private sector combined… that require the incumbents to be “natural born” US citizens..

Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, emigrated to the US from India in 1960 and her father, Donald Harris, emigrated to the US from Jamaica in 1961.  Under US law, an individual cannot apply for citizenship until they’ve held a “green card” for a minimum of five years.  Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964.  At best, her mother was a legal non-citizen resident of the US for just 4 years, 9 months, and 20 days when Sen. Harris was born. Her father was, at best, a legal non-citizen resident for just 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days when she was born. Neither parent could possibly have been a U.S. citizen when Kamala Harris was born.

Why is this important? The American people are understandably concerned that, in the early years of the 21st century, we are fast losing our grasp on the governing principles and institutions that have made us the greatest nation on Earth. We have seen the Democratic Party weaponize the Internal Revenue Service; we have seen Democrats provide arms and ammunition to human traffickers and drug smugglers south of the Mexican border; we have watched helplessly as Democrats at the federal state, and local level create sanctuary cities, so as to import illegal aliens who will become future Democratic voters; we have seen a thoroughly corrupt Democratic administration ignore the repeated violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 by a Democratic Secretary of State; and we have seen Democrats weaponize the entire legal system of the United States, destroying the integrity and the reputation of the world’s foremost law enforcement agency in the process. To date, no one has been called to accept responsibility for those crimes.

We cannot continue down this path; we must return to a time when constitutional principles are once again sacrosanct. But we cannot achieve that end when some of our best legal minds join with those who would degrade our precious Constitution for partisan political advantage. Katyal and Clement are wrong and they should admit their error.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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