WORLD’s cover story in the Nov. 12, 2016 issue: Our National Editor Jamie Dean’s personal account of the worst presidential campaign in American history, which she has covered for more than a year. From the primaries through the present, the 2015-2016 campaign has brought us not only egomania and low blows but civil war in many households and organizations: brother against brother, child against parent, friend against friend.
Two key questions for many conservative evangelicals: If we don’t support Donald Trump, are we empowering Hillary Clinton? My friend Bill Newton thinks so -- see “Less unfit for power.” And, if Clinton wins, is “the country’s chance to have a Supreme Court that values the Constitution ... gone. Not for four years, or eight, but forever”? That was the contention of my friend Eric Metaxas in an Oct. 12 “Wall Street Journal” column.
Lots of people, including some of WORLD’s subscribers, agree with Bill and Eric. WORLD’s editors do not. We value our editorial independence and hope readers do also. But I do want to clear up one matter and then look to the future.
The matter: When we proposed on Oct. 11 that Trump step aside, we did not expect some subscribers to think we like Clinton. (See our Sept. 17 Grim Reaper “I’m with her” cover.) We said Clinton also is unfit, and for years we’ve provided evidence of that: See wng.org/clinton_coverage for some recent articles. We would have relished her stepping aside, but we knew that would not happen. We hoped more pressure on Trump might force his hand, and explained on our website how the Electoral College’s role made a substitution possible: See wng.org/not_too_late.
The future: As we go to press, this worst campaign is almost over. Unless Trump pulls millions of rabbits out of hats, all of us need to discern how to oppose the new attacks on unborn children, religious liberty, and much besides that will soon come. If we have a Clinton administration, we’ll examine in future issues three possible political ways to keep it and the Supreme Court from ruining America forever.
First, the president nominates judges, but the Senate says yea or nay. We don’t know who will control the Senate after this election, but in 2018 only eight currently GOP-held Senate seats will be at stake, compared with 25 now in the Democratic caucus. Given the revulsion a Clinton presidency will produce, it should be hard to get radical judges approved if conservatives dominate the Senate. The window of opportunity for court-packing may be small.
Second, Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations, as the Congress shall make.” An angry conservative Congress could make “exceptions.” How far Congress could go in limiting Supreme power is not clear, but Abraham Lincoln defied judicial supremacy and said elected officials had a constitutional responsibility to resist court decisions that harmed the nation.
Third, one big proposal that will probably get more traction is the idea of a convention of the states, as allowed by Article V, Section 2 of the Constitution -- not a constitutional convention, because we can’t do better than Madison and Co. did in 1787, but a way to let state legislatures promote specific changes. Eight states have already called for such a convention, and many more are likely to do so once activists turn their attention from the presidential drama to next steps.
Other political options also exist. And, as more Christians see the limitations of politics, we might see a new focus on cultural change. Example: While the Supreme Court hasn’t budged in the 43 years since its tragic “Roe v. Wade” decision, Christians have saved millions of lives through the provision of compassionate alternatives to abortion. Some worry about the politics of millennials, but Americans in their 20s are more pro-life than Americans in their 50s. It’s time to go further to create a culture of life.
Two more even bigger questions: Upstream from both politics and culture lies theology. How do we strengthen the teaching in our churches? As this worst campaign ends, will Christ be first in our hearts?