Friends Don’t Let Stupid Friends Vote. Here’s How.

Know how Ted Cruz won Utah with 69% of the vote? And won most of the caucuses handily? And most of the Republican-only primaries? 

Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz has offered a brilliant, near-term, totally doable solution to the problem of a “Dancing With the Stars” electorate, and it doesn’t involve any odious “literacy tests”… except it sort of does.

He offers what we may one day call “The Utah Solution” to stupid people voting and fouling up our Republic. He makes who votes bottom-up+self-selecting rather than top-down+we-know-what’s-best-selecting. He envisions a system 100% open to anyone who cares to participate yet by its very nature, separates the wheat from the chaff.

I offer a few salient paragraphs below, as it’s a long read, but when you have fresh coffee, take some time with it and read the whole thing. It’s great.


By: Daniel Horowitz | June 02, 2016
…Until 1912, most states still used the convention method during presidential elections, but that changed with the emergence of Teddy Roosevelt as the progressive leader. As Professor Sidney Milkis, a noted scholar on the progressive era, observed, Roosevelt’s “crusade made universal use of the direct primary, a cause célèbre.” Roosevelt went on to win most of the primaries, but conservative Howard Taft won the states that still had conventions and therefore won the party’s nomination at the national convention. However, Roosevelt’s views lived on through the election of Woodrow Wilson. It’s no coincidence that progressives succeeded at changing the nominating process precisely as the “newly emergent mass media” became dominant in our political culture, as Milkis puts it.

Sound familiar to our time? Mass media and campaign advertisements determining the nominee among “the people?” As one groups of political scientists declared in a 2004 study on the effects of direct primaries, “the direct primary stands as one of the most significant and distinctive political reforms of the Progressive era in America.” While the 17th Amendment is what allowed progressives to ensure half the country would elect senators in line with the views the elites use to manipulate the masses, the institution of direct primaries ensured that even in conservative states only progressive Republicans would be able to survive the money/media/name recognition juggernaut. 100 years later, with a progressive oligarchy in Washington, they can declare mission accomplished.

But Aren’t Conventions Smoked Filled Rooms?

Progressive proponents of direct popular vote primaries complain that conventions allow the party hacks to choose the nominees behind the doors of “smoke filled rooms” without the input of the people. And undoubtedly in some states in the 1800s that is exactly what happened. But the convention model we are speaking of – “the Utah style convention” – achieves the perfect middle ground between the tyranny at both ends of the spectrum from oligarchy to pure democracy.

In Utah, every neighborhood holds a caucus meeting where people who are familiar with each other debate and discuss the races at hand. They select a delegate to represent the precinct at the convention. In the Beehive State, there are 4,000 delegates – all selected by the people in a process that tends to attract high information voters. This is true representative democracy our Founders envisioned, one which would foster an informed patriotism.

The benefits of representative conventions to choose party nominees include the following:

In most states the selection process would be dominated by grassroots activists.
Money and media would play a relatively minimal role in choosing the nominee.
Conservatives could put numerous Senate seats and dozens of House seats in play per cycle in the 25 more conservative states. The threat of numerous senators and House members in the South and Great Plains knowing that a Mike Lee-style conservative could down them at a convention the same way Senator Bob Bennett was defeated in Utah could instantly change their behavior. At present, primary challenges are so unsuccessful they rarely serve as a deterrent in the long-run.

The prospect of winning with a grassroots ground game, without the need for a massive money and media campaign, would attract better conservative talent to run for office.
The requirement to show up for precinct caucuses would automatically end the odious practice of “early voting” in primaries, which not only has a disruptive effect in fluid presidential primaries, but hurts insurgent congressional candidates who tend to surge during the final week – after “voting” has already begun.

Selecting state government officials through conventions would help build up a cadre of state governments that push back against federal tyranny. At present, Republicans control the trifecta of state government in 23 states, yet conservatives cannot count on a single state to consistently fight for conservative values because either the governor or state legislative leaders are part of the GOP establishment black hole.

Our Founders left us a republic – one which was divided between the rights of the individual and the powers of the states and federal government. The federal government itself was divided into three branches, which were supposed to serve as checks and balances against each other. That system has gradually been replaced with a political party system. Conservatives can’t even rely on a conservative party to save us, even as the federalist system has collapsed. …

(The entire article, well worth your time, is here.)


17th Amendment Repeal? "Morons!"

Tea Party Patriots are regularly mocked as intellectual rubes for wanting a return to First Principles; a favorite target of sneering derision is our longing for the checks & balances so exquisitely enshrined in the Constitution as it stood prior to the 17th Amendment, which was added (unsurprisingly) during The Progressive Era, to allow direct election of Senators.  It sounded like a good idea, “Power to the people,” right?  It’s absurd that we shouldn’t elect our 2 Senators per state, right?


If you’ve ever wished you had a ready argument for why the 17th Amendment qualifies as yet another bumper-sticker-idea-with-bad-unintended-consequences, in a long line of Progressive bumper-sticker-ideas-with-bad-unintended-consequences, here you go. From “Hamilton’s Curse” a book I heartily recommend:

In Federalist no. 10 James Madison remarked that the whole purpose of the Constitution was to control “the violence of faction,” by which he meant special-interest politics. The appointment of senators by state legislatures was one of the constitutional constructs that was intended to assist in this goal. It did so by limiting senators’ ability to sell their votes to special-interest groups nationwide. After all, senators who went to Washington and voted against the interests of their home-state constituents could and would be replaced on short notice by their state legislatures; the founders well understood that it is easier to manipulate the public than to fool professional politicians who follow the issues intently.”

It was genius the way it was intended. Everyone had a seat at the table:  the people‘s interests were represented, quite literally, by their Representatives, in the form of the House, then, moving up a level, each individual states‘ interests as a whole, were (intended to be) protected & nurtured by the members of the Senate, and then finally, all the way to the top, the country‘s interests were protected by the President in the Executive.

Then the Progressives removed one seat.

What hubris!  I mean, good God, the more I read about our Founders, and how they thought, and arrived at their conclusions, and crafted that “glorious liberty document” as Frederick Douglass called it, I am as convinced in the hand of God upon us as I was when I was snorkeling in Bonaire and saw the magnificent underwater world.  There was no way to swim under the Caribbean Sea and not see a Supreme, Organizing Hand.  There are things in this world that are just so magnificent, so exquisitely crafted & balanced, that you have to just pause, and realize how small you are to the giants among us, human, and Divine.

And I’m okay with that, you know?  I don’t bristle knowing there are people way, way, way smarter than me. Quite the opposite!  I thank God for them!  And am daily inspired by them!