For the second presidential election in a row, the two individuals representing the Democrat and Republican parties are equally reprehensible, leaving voters with little incentive to mail in their ballots or to show up at the polls next week to vote for president. But showing up is important because the real difference-maker after the election won’t be in the White House; they’ll be in state legislatures and local governments.
Those who know me know that I am #NeverTrump and #NeverGOP, and I’m certainly no fan of Joe Biden and the Democrat Party. .
My vote for the next occupant of the White House will be going to one of the nineteen other choices I have in the state where I live — so much for the “binary” election argument — but most importantly, I will vote down ballot.
The importance of voting down ballot cannot be overstated. Yes, voting for president matters, but how you vote locally matters much more.
When it comes Washington, all three branches of the federal government may interpret the Constitution, but they are supposed to serve as a check against usurpations of power by the other branches. And despite the warnings of the Founding Fathers, the president and Congress have abandoned their responsibility protect liberty and the Constitution — choosing to surrender that responsibility to the judiciary.
- As the courts are generally the last in making the decision, it results to them, by refusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character. This makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended, and can never be proper. — James Madison
- [T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. — Thomas Jefferson
- An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. — Thomas Jefferson
The Republican/Democrat duopoly and their acquiescence to the idea of an all-powerful judiciary makes voting for president meaningless. And with few exceptions, even our vote for Senate and/or the House — where laws are supposed to be made on our behalf — can be an exercise in futility.
Conversely, the states have authority to interpret the Constitution, enforce it, and protect the people from violations of it by the federal government.
- The State governments possess inherent advantages, which will ever give them an influence and ascendancy over the National Government, and will for ever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments. That their liberties, indeed, can be subverted by the federal head, is repugnant to every rule of political calculation. — Alexander Hamilton
- This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them. — Alexander Hamilton
- [W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another. — Thomas Jefferson
Washington’s game of binary politics has been successful in convincing us that the White House, Congress, and the judiciary hold all the cards concerning liberty, but that’s simply untrue. The Founding Fathers determined that the people, as sovereign, retained ultimate rights to interpret, enforce, amend, and abolish the Constitution. We are not bound by unconstitutional edicts from state or federal governments — a reality that has been ignored during coronavirus hysteria.
- The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. — George Washington
- If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33
- I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” — Thomas Jefferson
- Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. — Thomas Jefferson
Another reason your local vote is more important than your vote for Congress or the next president to occupy the White House is because local issues are decided on the state, county, and city levels. Some of the issues on the ballot where I live are:
- A law stating that “only a citizen” of the U.S. can vote
- A law to modify property tax rates (raise them)
- Adopt National Popular Vote compact to elect the president using the winner of the popular vote
- Prohibiting abortion after 22 weeks
- A state-level paid family medical leave program
I’m sure the ballot in the state where you live has a similar list of issues important to conservatives.
Regardless of who you vote — or don’t vote — for to be president next week, you simply must make sure to vote for candidates and issues on the rest of the ballot. It’s the most significant thing you can do this election.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.