UPDATE: I found this essay on The Left’s plan to keep Trump out of office. It has multiple scenarios for that effort, depending on the situation on the ground (Funny how these military phrases seem to keep cropping up when discussing Trump, isn’t it? And, by that, I DON’T mean that Trump or his allies are planning an “insurrection” – The Left is the one that is set on militarizing their cause).
There’s a a bill – “The American Confidence in Elections Act” – ACE for short, that is promoted as a way to encode protections in the 2024 election to keep the Dems and other Leftists from repeating their 2020 election vote-manufacturing steal.
It has a lot of provisions – mandatory use of ID, keeping Zuckerbucks from skewing the registrations, and ending practices such as ballot harvesting (which makes it legal for activists to take MANY ballots to the outside boxes, stuffing them with votes), same-day registration (if the Left thinks they might be losing, they just send activists to the polls to “sign up” – generally with no ID needed), and automatically mailed ballots, which flood the system with authentically printed ballots, which can be filled out by someone claiming another’s name.
Now, most of those provisions would be dandy ideas to be enacted. But, they need to be enacted at the STATE level, not the national level. States need to take charge of cleaning up their own systems, and, if necessary, bring in STATE observers to monitor the process that a relatively few voting areas – mostly urban centers – are deliberately screwing up.
It’s the practice called Federalism, which really doesn’t mean what it sounds like. Federalism is the system that divides authority for governance between states and the federal government. In the beginning, when the Constitution was ratified, the balance of power was solidly in favor of the rights of state governments to handle their own affairs. Only a few powers were explicitly allocated to the federal government. That was the intent of the Framers, and was the status quo for many years.
The purpose of establishing some areas of undisputed authority for the federal government was to allow a central government to have the powers it needed to wage war, interact with foreign powers, and raise sufficient money to allow it to function independent of the states. Much of that ability to raise money came from tariffs imposed on goods imported into the United States (a practice that had the support of American industry). Taxes, at that time, were resented, and nearly overthrew the early government (see the Whiskey Rebellion).
And, it did work – for a time – reasonably well. The various Representatives and Senators had their say, the Executive Branch had their say on matters (damn few) that they controlled, and, until Marbury vs Madison, the Judiciary had little to do.
But, then came the Abolition Movement, one led initially by churches and civic organizations. When women prominent in their state level organizations were refused participation at a national conference, a few of them formed the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Eventually, women were able to participate in abolition activities without restriction.
In America, even without suffrage, women were active in local organizations. Women married to men of means were able to use their household help to free them for voluntary work in organizations. Single women were generally supported by relatives, and freed of the need to earn their living. Many were active in their church, in volunteer activities. Almost all of those women were, by the standards of their time, well educated, generally in sectarian schools and colleges. Which means that they graduated with an education that didn’t prepare them for any useful type of work, and some experience in campus leadership. Many of them joined the aboltion movement, or other organizations.
But, advocates for abolition of slavery became frustrated by the failure of their efforts. They identified the retained powers of the states (10th Amendment) as a major cause of their inability to persuade either the public in general, or the legislators in the Congress, to strike down the practice.
In short, they didn’t have the votes.
It wasn’t until the Civil War, when the federal government was no longer held in check by proponents of the Retained Rights of the States, that the center of power began to shift to the national government.
Taking that power was, during the war, a military necessity. If the North was going to win, they had to pretty much jettison the Constitution. And, by assuming federal powers he had no right to take, Lincoln changed the USA. After that point, the federal government encroached on state’s powers in ever-increasing power grabs.
And, the courts mostly let it happen.
After Reconstruction ended, the balance of power between those that favored the power of the national government to act unilaterally, and those that insisted that the states’ powers were supreme, started shifting. The so-called state’s rights proponents lose ground, little by little. In many of the fights, the state’s rights side couldn’t win, they could only delay (which is why the filibuster was so often used to slow down the process).
The pro-federal side used various means to win – they imported immigrants, and enabled them to vote as soon as they docked. They pushed for female suffrage. They used almost-bribery, lavishly expending money on building railroads and establishing the state college system (the Morrill Act took federally controlled land – often from Indian tribes – and offered it to state and local government for educational purposes).
At every crisis point, those fighting to increase federal power used that situation to ram permanent changes through that increased their control, installed their people, and funnelled money to their side.
It wasn’t solely the work of the GOP – the Dems got their greedy little hands on the largess when they held office. At every crisis point, those favoring stronger national government pushed the boundaries – heck, they trampled them to the ground in their rush for power (and money – there was a LOT of money spent that just HAPPENED to end up in the hands of those who were not the intended recipients).
The Left used the Civil Rights Acts to increase their power (it certainly wasn’t their deep love of non-White people). It was because it was a lot easier to buy a few people at the national level, than to do the same at the state level. It allowed bureaucrats to make decisions, overturn state laws, and keep the Left in power for all time. The first attempt to impose that agenda, in Reconstruction times, was only partly successful. Until the shift to an urban dominated nation, the states could not be pushed around. That Civil Rights Act is STILL being used to gain control of enough of the states, through their urban populations, for the Left to run things.
So, here we are. The federal government – the more or less permanent part that is sometimes called The Deep State – is in charge of just about every facet of your lives. And, a lot of that ability to keep power is based on federal control of the election process.
So, while I’m not completely against using the ACE Act to shore up elections, the fight needs to be at the state level. It’s there that those elected can be influenced most directly. They are largely part-time legislators, and, therefore, less easily corrupted. In elections, just a relatively few votes can change the composition of the government.
Voting Integrity. Two words that don’t belong in the same sentence.