Patterico's Pontifications

5/5/2016

Ben Sasse: Our Founders Didn’t Want Entrenched Political Parties. So Why Should We Accept This Terrible Choice?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:36 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Ben Sasse wrote an open letter yesterday to the American voters which dovetails nicely with our host’s latest posts that basically consider the possible next step for those no longer interested in being a part of the Republican Party as it currently stands, and do not support the presumptive nominee. Sasse, who doesn’t support either Trump or Clinton, questions why we have to accept such a lousy choice in the first place:

1.
Washington isn’t fooling anyone — Neither political party works… They resort to character attacks as step one because they think voters are too dumb for a real debate. They very often prioritize the agendas of lobbyists (for whom many of them will eventually work) over the urgent needs of Main Street America. I signed up for the Party of Abraham Lincoln — and I will work to reform and restore the GOP — but let’s tell the plain truth that right now both parties lack vision.

2.
As a result, normal Americans don’t like either party. If you ask Americans if they identify as Democrat or Republican, almost half of the nation interrupts to say: “Neither.”

3.
Young people despise the two parties even more than the general electorate. And why shouldn’t they? The main thing that unites most Democrats is being anti-Republican; the main thing that unites most Republicans is being anti-Democrat. No one knows what either party is for — but almost everyone knows neither party has any solutions for our problems. “Unproductive” doesn’t begin to summarize how messed up this is.

4.
Our problems are huge right now, but one of the most obvious is that we’ve not passed along the meaning of America to the next generation. If we don’t get them to re-engage — thinking about how we defend a free society in the face of global jihadis, or how we balance our budgets after baby boomers have dishonestly over-promised for decades, or how we protect First Amendment values in the face of the safe-space movement – then all will indeed have been lost…

5.
These two national political parties are enough of a mess that I believe they will come apart. It might not happen fully in 2016 – and I’ll continue fighting to revive the GOP with ideas — but when people’s needs aren’t being met, they ultimately find other solutions.

6.
In the history of polling, we’ve basically never had a candidate viewed negatively by half of the electorate. This year, we have two…

7.
With Clinton and Trump, the fix is in. Heads, they win; tails, you lose. Why are we confined to these two terrible options? This is America. If both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. That’s what we do.

8.
Remember: our Founders didn’t want entrenched political parties. So why should we accept this terrible choice?

9.
So…let’s have a thought experiment for a few weeks: Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years? You know…an adult?

**Although I’m one of the most conservative members of the Senate, I’m not interested in an ideological purity test, because even a genuine consensus candidate would almost certainly be more conservative than either of the two dishonest liberals now leading the two national parties.)

10.
Imagine if we had a candidate:
…who hadn’t spent his/her life in politics either buying politicians or being bought
…who didn’t want to stitch together a coalition based on anger but wanted to take a whole nation forward
…who pledged to serve for only one term, as a care-taker problem-solver for this messy moment
…who knew that Washington isn’t competent to micromanage the lives of free people, but instead wanted to SERVE by focusing on 3 or 4 big national problems…

Back in February, Sasse reminded voters the place and function of political parties:

Now, let’s talk about political parties: parties are just tools to enact the things that we believe. Political parties are not families; they are not religions; they are not nations – they are often not even on the level of sports loyalties. They are just tools. I was not born Republican. I chose this party, for as long as it is useful.

If our Party is no longer working for the things we believe in – like defending the sanctity of life, stopping ObamaCare, protecting the Second Amendment, etc. – then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed.

Amen.

Sasse concludes:

I believe that most Americans can still be for limited government again — if they were given a winsome candidate who wanted Washington to focus on a small number of really important, urgent things — in a way that tried to bring people together instead of driving us apart.

Unfortunately though, as Trump’s ascendancy confirms that voters, specifically *the voters who voted for Trump in the Republican primaries, don’t really care about character, Conservatism, limited government, or entitlement spending, let alone the Constitution. Not anymore. Further, why would they see the current Republican Party as problematic when it gave them the candidate for whom they clamored? When 17 candidates vie for the nomination, and the party chooses an egocentric, lying, non-Conservative, Big Government charlatan to throw their support behind, all I can say is, Reince Preibus, you’re but a speck in my rear view mirror. Tell someone who cares that it’s time to get in line and get behind Trump .

I love that Sasse has continued faith in the American people. I love that he hasn’t caved to the party demands, but is looking for other options. As are a lot of us.

[*modified per Beldar’s suggestion]

–Dana

24 Responses to “Ben Sasse: Our Founders Didn’t Want Entrenched Political Parties. So Why Should We Accept This Terrible Choice?”

  1. Sasse’s letter actually made me feel better, made me feel hopeful in light of events this week.

    Dana (0ee61a)

  2. When I read this:

    …if they were given a winsome candidate…

    My first thought was that if you’re gonna winsome, you’re also gonna losesome, but that would still be better than the current loseall Republicans we’ve all come to know and loathe.

    I’m sorry. :)

    arik (02de93)

  3. Lets see how Nebraska votes. Sasse will be one and done.

    mg (31009b)

  4. option clinton. check

    mg (31009b)

  5. Perhaps open borders activist ryan is in bed with sassy.

    mg (31009b)

  6. I mentioned this earlier:

    It’s a two party system

    I always thought this was part of the problem. One of the most important aspects of free markets is that new competitors can always emerge if existing providers become complacent or corrupt; I think it’d be good to expose our political candidate providers to some competition as well.
    The only argument against it I can recall is that most European Parliaments don’t use two-party systems, and have degenerated into socialism even faster than American legislatures. However, there’s more differences between European parliamentary voting and American voting than just the USA’s two-party limit.
    Of course, actually moving to a system that supports an arbitrary number of parties from our existing two-party system is a significant task; both main parties have passed enough regulations that hobble smaller parties that we’d need significant reform in order to reach the point where we can make significant reform.

    I confess I’m ignorant about electoral law, so I can’t really back up my assertion that we need significant reform, but I gather that most places make it quite difficult for new parties to get on the ballot. Similarly, any regulations on public financing of campaigns will be biased towards existing parties; the fact that loosening these restrictions will cost tax dollars is one of the reasons I don’t support public financing.

    CayleyGraph (353727)

  7. [A]s Trump’s ascendancy confirms, voters, specifically Republican voters, don’t really care about character, Conservatism, limited government, or entitlement spending, let alone the Constitution. Not anymore.

    If you modified this sentence to read “the voters who voted for Trump in the Republican primaries” instead of “Republican voters,” I wouldn’t quibble with it. As written, though, it’s substantially overbroad.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  8. The republican party never once stood up for the constitution during this presidents rape session.
    Blame Trump.

    mg (31009b)

  9. Caley,

    The two-party system is inherent in the way the government is set up. You can from time to time have three strong parties, but the moment one weakens it gets gobbled up.

    The simplest change I can think of that allows more parties are districts which elect several representatives, but individuals only get one vote. If the top 3 from a district go to the statehouse, and people have to decide on only one vote, then perhaps you get three from one party, or maybe 2 and 1, or maybe 1-1-1. An ethnic minority can all group behind one candidate if that’s what they want, so you don’t even need to vote by party.

    Sadly, most N-winner districts today allow people N votes, so this kind of focusing doesn’t work, But it could.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  10. Beldar,

    I can agree with your assessment. But given I’m still nursing a bitter drink of disappointment right now, you’ll have to cut me some slack.

    Dana (0ee61a)

  11. When did Paul Ryan become the voice of conservatism, and or how did he slip past the rino democrat bipartisans to become Speaker?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  12. “WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Sasse Advocates Single-Term Third Choice to Clean Up ‘This Messy Moment.’ ”

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/233155/

    Colonel Haiku (feb2a4)

  13. Single term choice smells like Newt Gingrich. The only person to truly beat Bill Clinton. You gotta say he positioned himself perfectly in terms of how soon he nodded the Trump Train.

    urbanleftbehind (756a52)

  14. But the party isn’t, mostly, to blame for Trump. It’s the people who voted for him who are.

    What could the party, institutionally, have done to prevent this? Ban Trump from running?

    It is so obviously clear that Trump is not qualified to be president. If the people who vote in the primaries think otherwise then what is one to do?

    We’ve said we need to distinguish between Trump and his supporters and understand their grievances and complaints. Okay but at some point they have to be held accountable. No one forced them to vote for Trump; it’s been obvious for months he’s not qualified. If they want to ignore all of this evidence then how is the party to blame?

    At some point the people who voted for the man have to be held accountable.

    SteveMG (b6be89)

  15. How much prescience was needed for Reince Priebus to know that the way the debates were set up was the perfect way for a demagogue to impress the LIVs and to drive out the party’s best candidates?

    nk (dbc370)

  16. not much, but raising the deflector, (closing the primaries), and vetting the moderators, is something a party should consider among it’s duties,

    narciso (732bc0)

  17. Ummmm. “Why should we accept this choice?”

    Pretty sure The Founders, despite their dislike of them, wound up in them, because thats how Democracy works in a Republic.

    Accept it because otherwise your positions and ideas will be marginalized by someone who DOES accept them.

    ‘Nuff Said.

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses (1302a5)

  18. You need a thinker. Especially, you need a thinker. Who will probably be in a minority on a lot of issues – and on some things all by himself or herself – but well able to defend it.

    And he or she must be somewhat famous. Famous enough so that there’s plenty of material on or about him or her on the Internet. And by him. A writer. Who has covered the gamut of issues, not restricted to the economy, or defemse or anything. But also has held a position in the executive branch (of the federal government maybe) for not necessarily a very long period of time.

    Sammy Finkelman (643dcd)

  19. No one forced Trump voters to vote for Trump. I suppose you could call it a kind of coercion if nobody showed the voters a better choice, from their point of view. Cruz, for all his virtues (my choice) looks like doing things the usual way only, he says, better. Point is trying to convince the Trump supporters that doing things the usual way, only Better By Cruz, is going to make a freaking difference.
    I suspect Trump is going to find butting heads with the legislature is going to be different from overawing business rivals with bluster. I hope.
    And keep in mind that Trump is refreshing when he tells those who accuse him of one phobia or another (islamophobia, xenophobia) to stick it where the sun don’t shine. The discussion of such issues has been shut down by such censoring tactics for long enough that seeing somebody ignoring the reproaches and getting away with it is…cool, whatever you think of Trump otherwise.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  20. What could the party, institutionally, have done to prevent this? Ban Trump from running?

    It is so obviously clear that Trump is not qualified to be president. If the people who vote in the primaries think otherwise then what is one to do?

    We’ve said we need to distinguish between Trump and his supporters and understand their grievances and complaints. Okay but at some point they have to be held accountable. No one forced them to vote for Trump; it’s been obvious for months he’s not qualified. If they want to ignore all of this evidence then how is the party to blame?

    At some point the people who voted for the man have to be held accountable.

    SteveMG (b6be89) — 5/6/2016 @ 7:11 am

    The one specific thing that might be done for the future is switch primaries to Republican only – especially SC. It was South Carolina that really established Trump as the front runner and blew Cruz’s strategy out of the water. Maybe Trump would have won SC anyway, but maybe not. Course at this point it’s kind of like locking the barn after the horses ran out.

    Gerald A (945582)

  21. It would have been hard for Cruz to out Trump Trump and still tell the truth,
    On the other hand, the knock against Cruz early on was that “no one in DC liked him”.
    Early on had some like Halley and Sessions been willing to at least say Cruz had their respect for the unpopular (with DC) stands he had taken, h r might have won

    The GOPe wanted to retain power for themselves, then couldn’t decide who was worse, then mostly decided Cruz was worst and got Trump,
    I guess the Boehners of the world think people will come out to vote against Hillary no matter who they choose
    Just as long as it is not a real conservative

    If we do vote for Trump as the lesser devil,
    We need to one by one primary the Congesscritters with the kinfolk of Amash, Cruz, Sasse and the like.
    A wiser Tea Party -like.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  22. 3. mg (31009b) — 5/5/2016 @ 7:14 pm

    Lets see how Nebraska votes. Sasse will be one and done.

    The Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, whose family spent they say at least $5.5 million bankrolling the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC endorsed Trump.

    I don’t know that Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has recommended anything. There was a lot of early voting in Nebraska, and Sen Sasse and his wife announced they had voted for Cruz three weeks ago, before the New York primary.

    https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/04/senator-ben-sasse-announces-he-voted-for-ted-cruz

    There is nobody telling anyone there what to do if they want 1 No Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (643dcd)

  23. Kevin M (25bbee) — 5/5/2016 @ 8:04 pm

    The simplest change I can think of that allows more parties are districts which elect several representatives, but individuals only get one vote. If the top 3 from a district go to the statehouse, and people have to decide on only one vote, then perhaps you get three from one party, or maybe 2 and 1, or maybe 1-1-1.

    illinois used to have some kind of a system with 3 member districts that almost always returned two members from one party and one from the other. A person had 3 votes. They could give 1 vote to each of 3 candidates, 1 1/2 votes to each of two candidates or 3 votes for one candidate. This is called cumulative voting. It was in effect from 1872 to 1980.

    http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1815&context=etd_hon_theses

    New York City used to have At Large members of the City Council – two from each of the 5 boroughs. They were of unequal population, especially Staten Island. You could vote for only 1 and 2 were elected. This was always the Democratic and republican candidates, except from Manhattan where it wa sthe Democrat and the Liberal.

    Sammy Finkelman (643dcd)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3408 secs.