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…
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.