Should We Consider a Third Party Candidate?

As important as I think learning more about our Constitution is, I feel compelled to interrupt the series to discuss another subject. Unlike the 1980 election, when people swept Jimmy Carter out of the White House in their exuberance over a Ronald Reagan Presidency, this year, very few people seem really excited about either major party candidate.

For those who don’t know me well, let me put myself in that camp. I was excited about the prospect of electing a man of the stature of Rick Perry or Ben Carson, but those hopes were dashed early in the campaign. Now the choice has come down to either a pompous windbag who can’t keep from putting his foot in his mouth or a serial murderer (remember all the mysterious deaths and disappearances among Clinton associates in the 90’s) and pathological liar who casually disregards protecting secret, sensitive information from our enemies.

Not at all an ideal situation, but there is still a clear choice. Far better to have the windbag than the crook, the man who has proven himself a success under our free enterprise system than the woman who would further destroy that system.

As more and more people grumble about the nominees of the two parties, there seems to be a groundswell leaning toward splintering the election with a third party candidate. I don’t know anything about Gary Johnson. He may be a good man and might even make a great President, but he can’t be elected. The best he can hope to do is muddy the waters.

It’s not like he’s the first person to try this. Other, much better known politicians have run as third party candidates in the past, and their presence has ALWAYS allowed the person they most wanted to keep out of the White House to win the election, with one exception, which we’ll get to.

In 1948 Strom Thurmond ran for President as a Dixiecrat. He had name recognition far beyond that of Gary Johnson, and was highly respected in his section of the country. However, his candidacy, launched to keep Harry Truman from winning reelection, did just the opposite. The nation went to bed on election night believing that Thomas Dewey had won, but the next day it turned out Thurmond had siphoned enough votes away from Dewey to tip the election to Truman.

In 1968 George Wallace ran for President as a third party candidate. His candidacy is the sole exception to throwing the election in the wrong direction. Lyndon Johnson was so unpopular—and, as his Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey shared that unpopularity—no one could stop Richard Nixon from being elected. Even so, Wallace didn’t garner enough votes to have any serious chance of being elected.

In 1992, George Bush ran for reelection against an almost unknown governor of Arkansas, and probably would have been a shoo-in, had it not been for the third-party candidacy of Ross Perot. Perot had no government experience and no popular backing, but he had enough money to buy his way into the campaign. He couldn’t win, but he deprived Bush of reelection, ushering in the Clinton Administration.

Now, along comes Gary Johnson with his third party campaign. He’s neither as well-known, nor as well-financed, as others who have tried this. There is no possibility he could win the election. All he can do is affect which major party candidate does win.

Since almost every vote he receives in the general election will be taken away Donald Trump, if Johnson can stir up enough interest, he can throw the election to the Democrat Party and their candidate, Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if there’s ever been a person of lower moral standard than Hillary, and I don’t think even Barack Obama is as far left as she is. Her election would be the greatest travesty that ever descended on our nation.

Do you really want to help bring that about by voting for a third party candidate who has no chance whatsoever of winning the election?

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Twelfth Amendment

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first eleven amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twelfth Amendment.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XII.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;—The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;—The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.14—The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

This amendment was proposed by Congress on December 9, 1803, and ratified on June 15, 1804. It provides a completely different method of selecting the President and Vice-President from that put forth in Article II of the Constitution. It had only been sixteen years since the original provision was passed, but our leaders already recognized the need to change it.

For perspective, let’s re-examine Section 1 of Article II. To paraphrase, it said the person with the most votes became President, while the one with the second most became Vice-President. Politics making strange bedfellows, as they say, this was not an ideal situation. In 2000, this would have made Al Gore Bush’s Vice-President. How well do you think they would have gotten along.

While our first elections did not necessarily make the occupants of these two most powerful offices enemies, it didn’t produce a cohesive team, either. This amendment was proposed and ratified to insure that the President and Vice-President represent at least similar interests. The goal was to provide a degree of cohesiveness in the administration.

This Twelfth Amendment is necessarily wordy, because it’s dealing with a lot of contingent possibilities. The purpose of a lot of the wording is “if this doesn’t work, and that doesn’t work either, then we’ll do this.” Rather than spend pages dealing with all the possible contingencies, let’s take a look at what is supposed to happen.

Referring back to earlier posts about constitutional provisions, we can recall that the major conflict in national politics at the time was between the big states and small states. The big states wanted all power to be apportioned according to population. The small states, afraid of being trampled by the big states, wanted power to be apportioned equally among the states.

Our bicameral Congress was the result of compromise between the two factions. The House allots power according to population, while the Senate gives each state equal representation. This amendment uses the same principle for voting for President and Vice-President. Simply stated, each state has a number of electors equal to the combined number of Congressmen and Senators allotted that state. The popular vote, cast by the people, determines which slate of electors get to choose, then the electors make the actual choice.

Every election year, people start whining about the Electoral College, which is the name we’ve give to the gathering of these electors. “Why have this complicated system? Why not just go by the popular vote?”

We’ve lived with this compromise between large and small states in Congress for some 229 years now, so why do we fuss about using the same principle for electing our President? We accept the compromise every two years for Congressional elections, but we raise cane about it every four years for Presidential elections. How does that make sense.

In addition to balancing the big and small states, the Electoral College also gives a balance among different geographical areas of the country. To give an exaggerated example, suppose a candidate is able to make 92% of the people in one section of the country believe that he or she best represents their interests, while 52% or even 60% of those in the rest of the nation see that the other candidate is really best, should that small section of the country be able to elect a candidate abhorrent to the rest of the nation?

What are your thoughts about trashing this important part of our Constitution?

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Eleventh Amendment

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Today, we’ll consider the Eleventh Amendment.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XI.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

This amendment is so short and simple I thought about combining it with the 12th Amendment, but it is much longer and wouldn’t have combined well. We’ll take a look at that one in our next post.

This 11th Amendment hardly even requires any explanation at all. It protects the states against lawsuits filed by people who are not citizens of that state. If a citizen of Delaware wants to sue the state of Texas, for instance, he must file that suit in a Texas state court and not in a federal court.

Likewise, a citizen of Germany or Japan or any other foreign nation who wants to file suit against one of our states must do so in a state court of that state and not in a federal court. This is designed to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the various states.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Tenth Amendment

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first nine amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Tenth Amendment.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE X.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This amendment is very short and concise, but it’s one of the most important statements in the entire Constitution. It’s also one that has been increasingly ignored throughout our history.

To put this amendment into perspective, we need to remember the roots of the Constitution itself. It was an agreement—a treaty, if you will—among sovereign states. The signers of our Constitution were not appointed by some king, nor were they elected in some national referendum. They were appointed by the legislatures of the states which were party to this treaty.

In coming together to form a nation, the states gave up part of their sovereignty. The experiment of the Articles of Confederation had shown the folly of trying to form a national government without giving it the power to govern, but none of the delegates wanted to cede too much power to the federal government either. They were concerned about loosing some sort of monster central government that would run rampant over the very states that created it.

Much of the basic document concerned itself with limiting the power of each branch and setting each branch as a check against the powers of the other two. In this amendment, they clearly limited the powers of the federal government to those that were specifically delineated, reserving ALL other powers to the states or the people.

In the 1860’s, we totally ignored this amendment, with the federal government declaring war on a number of its constituent states. No such power was given to the federal government—it was usurped in order to pursue a political agenda.

Under the guise of freeing slaves—which was never the main issue—the U. S. Army was deployed to invade the southern states. The rights of these states and their citizens were completely ignored and trampled.

This abrogation of the Constitution continued after the war when the southern states, which the northerners maintained couldn’t secede, were forced to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments as a condition of being readmitted to the union. These states could not secede, which implies they were always part of the union, yet they had to be readmitted? Huh?

More recently, the state of Arizona has been told it could not protect its own citizens against an onslaught of illegal aliens. The federal government has inflicted itself so much on our local school systems, voters have almost no say in what goes on. How can this be justified in light of the Tenth Amendment?

I won’t take my research time or your reading time dredging up other instances of violation of this amendment by the federal government, but there have been many. It’s too bad federal judges, Supreme Court justices and elected federal officials don’t know how to read the Constitution.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Eighth and Ninth Amendments

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first seven amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Eighth and Ninth Amendments. Both are very brief, so we’ll consider them together.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE VIII.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

It was not uncommon in the monarchies of the day for people to be held in prison unreasonably by the use of impossibly large fines or bail, and the use of cruel and unusual punishment was fairly routine. The forefathers wanted to be sure our citizens were protected against such abuses of power.

When I read about particularly horrendous murders or perverts raping young children, I sometimes wish we could have cruel and unusual punishment to fit their crimes, but that’s not a serious desire. I’m glad we have these protections.

ARTICLE IX.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This statement seems obvious, but it was necessary to be sure our rights as citizens were not limited.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Seventh Amendment

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first five amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Seventh Amendment.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE VII.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This is a very simple, straightforward and non-controversial amendment regarding the right to a trial by jury in civil cases. Although the figure $20 may seem to be ridiculously low these days, it represented most of a month’s pay for the average person back in the day when it was written.

It is interesting to note the provision that no fact so tried can be re-examined by any other court. While any civil case may be appealed by either party, only the application of the relevant law is appealable. Appellate courts cannot change rulings on facts—only on law.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Sixth Amendment

We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first five amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Sixth Amendment.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE VI.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

This is an tremendously important amendment that the lawyers have made a complete mockery of. Do you ever watch Western movies? When someone was arrested, he was tried the next day. The witnesses were all still around, and their memories of what happened were fresh. This is what the Sixth Amendment calls for.

Nowadays, however, defense lawyers start filing all sorts of motions to delay the trial, and it can be years before the accused actually faces a courtroom. The memories of the witnesses may begin to dim. If the accused is part of an organized gang, his fellow gang members have plenty of time to try to intimidate the witnesses. He may post bail and continue enjoying the fruits of his crimes for many years before he has to face the verdict of a jury.

We have become so overwrought with our efforts to protect criminals we’ve forgotten about protecting honest citizens from those criminals. It’s time we begin to honor this wonderful Constitution of ours and operate our government according to its provisions.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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