Monday, July 30, 2018

How Mitch McConnell Stole the 2016 Congressional Elections - By Michael Bargo, Jr.

On November 8, 2016, the nation was gripped by the suspense of whether the outsider Donald J. Trump or the favorite Hillary Clinton would win the White House.  At the same time, voters chose their states' congressional representatives, while one third of the states also chose their two senators.
While the major television networks held Super Bowl-size coverage, showing maps of all the states, disputed congressional districts, and exit polls trying to narrow down who may win the White House, what the nation did not know, and still does not know, is that Mitch McConnell had his own scheme for running Congress. 
While everyone in Washington knew the plan McConnell had, and knew that it was standard procedure in Washington, few voters suspected that when they voted for their member of Congress and the Senate, their vote had no influence on the final result.  They did not know and did not suspect that Senator Mitch McConnell was soon to nullify the results of the 2016 national election.  He did not plan to influence vote-counting at the precinct level or use his influence to choose the Senate committee chairs.  His plan was far more comprehensive.
He did not plan to use the Russians to hack into election results computers in every state, or delay election results through lawsuits.  His plan was far more insidious: he would simply allow the election to take place, to have all the votes counted and counted equally, and if the Republicans kept the majority in the Senate, that was all he needed to put his plan to nullify the 2016 election into action and negate the results of every House and Senate election in America.
How he did this is simple.  In 2017, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell simply refused to have the Senate vote on 569  bills passed by Congress.  Since the Senate did not vote on a bill, those bills had no influence on congressional policy.  All the hopes and dreams American voters had to see programs of their choice realized through the House and Senate were quashed by one person. 
The reason McConnell's scheme worked is simple and is found in the very heart of the American representative form of government.  In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders of the U.S. stated that they would no longer allow one person, the king of Great Britain, to decide by himself what laws took effect in the colonies.  They declared on July 4, 1776 that government obtains its authority to govern only through the consent of the people. 
What followed was the U.S. Constitution, written by representatives in 1787 and ratified by a majority of the 13 states in 1791.  The Constitution carefully describes how the consent of the people will flow through the members of Congress, both the House and Senate, to the desk of the president, and then be signed into law.  This is how the U.S. government is supposed to work. 
But McConnell and those before him found a way to work around this: to allow everyone to vote on election day; pretend the votes are counted; allow the drama and excitement of the national election to play out on national TV; and then, by not allowing the Senate to vote on the complete spending bill passed by the House, to shut down the will of the people completely.  In this way, most of the House votes taken on November 8, 2016 were nullified.  The result is the same as if McConnell had his cronies visit every precinct in the U.S. and burned the ballots.
McConnell's scheme is clandestine, far more shrewd and effective.  His method was to allow everyone to vote, then cut off the input voters have on congressional bills at the Senate level.  If the House passes 768 bills and Senate Leader McConnell ties up 569 in the Senate, then 74% of those House bills may as well not exist.  And 74% of those who voted on election day may as well have stayed  home. 
Now came step two.  Senate leader McConnell, needing to pass a federal budget, met with the other members of Congress – House speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer – and wrote their own bill of appropriations, an "omnibus" bill.  Since the 569 bills passed by the House were never voted on by the Senate, they were not part of the omnibus bill.  The omnibus bill was written by the Washington oligarchy: the four leaders who practiced their two-step process of nullifying the House and Senate and writing their own bill.  Only when the four oligarchs had written the omnibus bill were the House and Senate allowed to have a vote.  Then, threatened with a government shutdown, the president gave in and signed it. 
When President Obama was in office, he had a more crude, direct way of ruling by oligarchy.  He blocked the Republicans from having any input on the budget process and installed 62 czars, bureaucrats, who decided how to appropriate federal budget funds.  President Obama's method, since it included historically high national deficits, was actually more unconstitutional.  This is because deficit spending not only deprives current voters of their opportunity to decide how their taxes are appropriated through congressional action, but forces future voters, by having to pay interest on the debt and pay down the debt, to have less influence on the national budget, since money that could go to policies of their choice is already spent on Obama's deficits. 
What McConnell did violates the constitution in the most direct way possible.  Since all spending every two years must be decided by the voters – this is why the entire House is elected every two years – for McConnell to deprive the voters a Senate vote on the House bills is identical to denying them their opportunity to express their will and consent. 
So while Alexander Tyler is reported to have studied democracies throughout history and conclude that a democracy will last only 200 years – after that amount of time, the electorate will vote themselves the treasury – he was half-wrong.  Today, it's the Congress, through the Senate actions of McConnell, who has taken over the treasury.  The voters under McConnell no longer have any say.  Their will and consent have been nullified.  The Democrat leaders, Pelosi and Schumer, are thrilled to go along with this.  Their main frustration is that they can't create 49% deficits, as they did in 2010 with Obama, and put a stranglehold on more future voters' will and consent.