State Action vs. The Federal Monster

Brion McClanahan
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Posted: Mar 17, 2016 1:13 PM
State Action vs. The Federal Monster

Both Democrat and Republican exit polls during this primary season have been clear on one issue: people are angry.

They are angry because they don’t think Washington represents them.

They are angry because they think their vote doesn’t count.

They are angry because they don’t believe the establishment will change course.

And they are angry because the political class in both parties is out of touch with the average American voter.

And they are right, but voting better won’t make a difference.

On March 14, Senator David Perdue of Georgia published an op-ed in the Daily Signal, “Why Washington’s Political Class Is Losing Control,” where he correctly opined that “This dangerous power vacuum has fueled frustration and created an entirely new breed of disenfranchised voters who are fed up with the status quo. These are real people, their anger is palpable, and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

Perdue said that he ran for the United States Senate because he wanted to be the outsider who made a difference in Washington. I heard his campaign ads dozens of times in the lead-up to the election. That was his pitch. But his position suffers from the very cancer he is trying to excise from the American political system, namely the belief that Washington and the “national” government can offer any real solution to what ails America.

Washington is the cancer, and for the last 100 years the tumor has been the executive branch and the lack of representation in Congress for the people of the States.

Donald Trump cannot “make America great” by himself. As I have written in a recent op-ed, he is the best remaining option, but by no means is he a panacea for our diseased government.

The best-kept secret in Washington is that both the Congress and the states have the power to arrest the federal Leviathan. But we can’t count on Congress to do it. We are not represented there, and our voice would be better heard in the Grand Canyon.

Why? Because our representative ratio is out of whack and our United States senators, like Perdue, are no longer beholden to the state legislatures.

On the final day of the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, George Washington recommended that the representative ratio of people to the House of Representatives should be reduced. It was too high for real representative government, he said. What was this outrageous ratio? 40,000:1. The Convention reduced it to 30,000:1 and still some states complained that the people could not be represented in such large congressional districts.

Our representative ratio today in the House of Representatives is 735,000:1. Disfranchised? You bet. No one in Congress listens to their constituents because they have no real contact with the average American. If you have money to contribute, sure, but Joe the plumber? Good luck.

There is a real solution staring the American people in the face. Your state and local government need you.

Real politics happens at the state and local level, and according to the original Constitution, the states had virtually unlimited powers while the general government had seventeen delegated powers, found in Article I, Section 8. The states were designed to handle all domestic concerns—marriage, education, police, religion, etc.—while the general government worried about commerce and defense. That is no longer the case. We want our overlords in Washington D.C. to pass legislation that effects every aspect of our lives, right down to whether a large puddle in your yard is considered a “wetland.” The general government was never designed for such nonsense, and that is why the people are angry.

We don’t need legislation from the office of David Perdue, and we don’t need his ear. We need the states, where we have real representation, to take a stand.

Where are the people of Alabama better represented, in Alabama with a representative ratio of 45,000:1 or in Washington with its 735,000:1 ratio? The answer should be clear. How about minorities? Tim Scott and Cory Booker are the only African-American members of the United States Senate, and the Congressional Black Caucus represents less than ten percent of the seats in the House of Representatives, both numbers being far lower than the real black population of America.

But in Alabama, with an African-American population of around twenty percent, blacks make up about twenty percent of the State legislature. No disfranchisement there.

The worst state in this regard is California—go figure—but even its 488,000:1 representative ratio is better than Washington’s.

If we truly want representative government in America, we have it at the state and local level. Our justified anger at the American political system would be better vented there. After all, that pesky little Tenth Amendment can serve as a very effective gadfly on their prodigious rump.

It’s time to sting. Trump is a start, but a chorus of state action in opposition to the federal monster would make a much more melodious song of liberty.