In his first term, former president Donald Trump came close to fixing the immigration problem by fulfilling his promise of a southern border wall.
But by time he—or the surrogate of his choice—is able to oust the corrupt Joe Biden administration, it may be US citizens clamoring for refuge and asylum from the socialist prison north of the wall.
Many are already coming to realize how urgently and desperately a reform agenda may be needed.
Meanwhile, conservative legislatures and activist groups must take the lead now in stemming the damage—if they hope to retain any trace of the values they represent.
But afterward, they will have to do some serious soul searching as to whether it is the GOP that best represents those values.
In fact, Trump’s new office already has had to disavow one effort to launch a new party, referred to as the MAGA Patriot Party.
Wow. The MAGA Patriot Party is now a thing….is this the beginning of the fracturing of the Republican Party? pic.twitter.com/4aIg4EaBFz
— Jon Sopel (@BBCJonSopel) January 25, 2021
Whatever emerges from the political chaos, it will be up to the emerging anti-Establishment movement to draw enough freedom-loving patriots from both sides of partisan divide the overcome the bureaucratic juggernaut so firmly set on retrenching its own power.
But the ideas below could appeal to crossover voters who remain true to the underlying values that have defined America throughout the course of its history.
- Civil Liberties/Free Speech
We must reaffirm that those lawfully exercising their right to freely assemble, speak or petition the government cannot be restrained from doing so on public property. The marketplace of ideas is now more important than ever in the age of information overload.
This is the cornerstone of our democracy, and attempting to qualify it with special exceptions and exemptions serves just as it would to chip away at the cornerstone of a building.
Simply put, is illegal for the US government to filter the free flow of ideas, no matter how unpalatable some may find them.
Moreover, any private entities (e.g. social media publishers) that have the power to censor must be strongly disincentivized.
In order to continue enjoying the benefits of being public platforms, they should be subject to a public grievance and accountability process, rooted in ensuring that they are not able to act as their own thought-police when it is in their underlying corporate interest to manipulate public sentiment.
- Press Accountability
It is likewise illegal for government to attempt to impose injunctive restrictions on the media. Nonetheless, it is clear that the media has become a major source of America’s polarization problem.
With that in mind we should seek to establish some sort of nonpartisan consumer-protection agency, modeled after the Better Business Bureau, which is more arbitrator than regulator.
For once and for all, Americans should cast aside the myth of media objectivity and allow participating media—in return for their special access to policymakers—to register with the new bureau according to their espoused institutional values and objectives.
The media will be evaluated according to the objectives that they have outlined for themselves. Conservative media and liberal media cannot be expected to follow the same rubrics, but it should be obvious to the viewing public what their underlying assumptions are when delivering coverage from a particular perspective.
If some media claim to be nonpartisan or purely objective—and they seek that designation accordingly—then the burden will be on them to demonstrate those principles by offering equal weight to opposing viewpoints instead of appointing themselves referees as to what should and should not be the public “norm.”
With media openly acknowledging its biases, there must, in turn, be greater protection against the cancel-culture activism that would threaten to blacklist someone for giving voice to an unpopular viewpoint.
Thus, any business, trade organization, academic institution or other professional group that engages in predatory, anti-competitive practices by waging politically motivated attacks, pressure campaigns or boycotts should face the prospect of losing its own license.
- Foreign/Corporate Influence
We must strengthen the Constitution’s emoluments clause and have it apply not only to the top executive-in-chief, but to all elected federal representatives, friends, patrons and family members who could potentially create conflicts of interest.
Both sides seem to agree that there is a national security threat in having public officials who harbor foreign loyalties that run counter to the business of governing America. The only way to keep it in check, however, is by reassuring that no party gets an unfair advantage.
Deals and arrangements made prior to running office may fall outside the realm of regulation only if the public servant divests from the conflict before assuming office or turns the assets over to a blind trust.
- Campaign Finance
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision was the right one made for the wrong reasons.
The ruling determined that the plaintiff, a conservative watchdog group, had a right under the First Amendment to produce and promote a political film that was critical of Hillary Clinton.
The case seems like a cut-and-dry example of press freedom, but alas Scotus’s 5-4 ruling extended its reach much farther by OKing the direct financial contributions of all private corporations, unions and other entities, designating them as protected political speech .
As a result, a limitless number of groups may now incorporate under one activist super-PAC umbrella, rendering moot the prior efforts to set individual spending caps.
The solution should be a constitutional amendment that defines the boundaries of corporate speech and links corporate donations to the individual whose signature is on the checks.
- Election Reform/Voter ID
While Democrats’ proposals to eliminate the Electoral College may seem disturbingly dangerous for any who value election integrity, they have a point, of sorts, about the arbitrariness of state boundaries that give some states proportionally more pull than others.
Paired with stringent safeguards on voting practices, such as ensuring that only eligible registered voters are able to cast their ballots a single time, there may be a bipartisan compromise that would put more weight on the popular vote without entirely scrapping the current system..
For example, rather than relying on its overall population (a controversial move that has politicized the decennial census) a state’s allotment of electors might be determined by its election turnout, incentivizing civic involvement even more.
If the Selective Service, Social Security, IRS and other agencies are able to maintain extensive, accurate databases on civic duties, there is no reason not to have a national voter database responsible for vetting eligibility and issuing voter identification cards.
There should, in turn, be an auditable paper trail allowing citizens to verify their own votes, but with security tighter than Fort Knox and the nuclear arsenal, underscoring the sanctity of the voting process.
- Term Limits/Leadership Restrictions
Although the idea of term limits has some populist appeal, in reality it functions as a sort of disfranchisement.
Elections, when administered effectively, should be the deciding factor; but as with anti-trust legislation, there should be policies put in place for preventing political monopolies.
Like the free market, leadership should be about ensuring that the best ideas prevail. With that in mind, there should be limits on leadership roles in Congress just as there are for the executive branch.
Six years as House speaker or Senate majority leader should be more than enough before turning it over to a fresh perspective, even from within one’s own party.
In fact, given the role some positions play in the succession of the presidency, allowing members of Congress to determine their leadership could result in a constitutional crisis.
While there are restrictions as to who is be eligible to be president, those criteria do not apply to congressional leadership. Thus, if the two top slots were, by some horrible mishap, to be vacated, there is no guarantee that the next people in line—starting with the speaker of the House—would meet the eligibility requirements.
The determinations for speaker and Senate president pro tempore should, at the very least impose the same constitutional requirements as the presidency. But better yet, why not make them elected positions that answer to the public at large?
Turning the legislative process into a glorified shell game, as happened on several multi-trillion-dollar spending measures last year— serves the interest of none.
Moving forward, there should be no riders attached to budgetary appropriations for issues that are not germane to the bill’s underlying purpose. Moreover, a greater premium should be placed both on brevity and transparency to ensure that American citizens know what is in these packages.