Trump's Big Lie Is An Outgrowth Of The GOP War On Democracy
After the Republicans were thrashed on the abortion issue Tuesday, some Republicans started talking about how to moderate their party’s policy on an issue that has been destroying them. Some, but not all. For example, hours after the Democrats retook the House of Delegates— picking up 5 seats— and thwarted Youngkin’s trifecta plans by hiding the state Senate, Virginia extremist maniac, Bob Good, went on a Neo-fascist radio show to reject the voters’ judgment. “We need to be unflinchingly, unapologetically pro-life,” he ranted. “I think when you have moderation, you have tepid, vanilla, benign statements on the issue of life— if you’re trying to talk about 15-week bans that only effect less than 10 percent of abortions— I think what that does is that demotivates our base. It’s not inspirational. It suppresses turnout in red states, and it leads to us losing elections. We need to be bold and aggressive and paint with bright red colors on this issue.”
Good is worried because he’s being primaried from the right by Delegate John McGuire, a J-6 insurrectionist who claims he never entered the Capitol. Annie Karni and Katie Edmondson reported that GOP congressional leaders— safe on their gerrymandered red districts— haven’t gotten the message. They’re still using serious bills to slip in unserious national abortion restrictions. More mainstream conservatives in competitive districts put their collective foot down and said they won’t vote for bills with that kind of junk in them. “Tuesday’s election results drove home to some Republicans in Congress what they already know and fear— that their party has alienated critical blocs of voters with its policies and message, particularly on abortion. And the results stiffened their resolve to resist such measures, even if it means breaking with the party at a critical time in a high-stakes fight over federal spending… In the House, however, gerrymandering has made most Republican seats so safe that lawmakers routinely cater to the far-right wing of their party, and a slim majority has given hard-right lawmakers outsized influence. The result has been that House Republicans continue to draft legislation that is out of step with a vast majority of voters, including some of their own constituents, on social issues.”
But Good isn’t the only Republican who wants to double down on abortion extremism. In fact, Republican state legislators have already gotten to work trying to undermine the 2,186,962 (56.6%) to 1,675,728 (43.4%) win for the pro-Choice forces. Because the state constitution now protects a woman’s right to an abortion, attorneys for pro-choice groups will soon be in courts to overturn all the anti-choice laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. But 4 reactionaries, Jennifer Gross, of West Chester (Butler Co.), Bill Dean of Xenia (Clark, Greene and Madison counties), Melanie Miller of Ashland (Ashland and Mediana counties) and Beth Lear of Galena (Delaware Co.) will now try to prevent that from happening. Gross said in a press release that the 4 of them will attempt to get legislation passed to “withdraw jurisdiction from the courts so that they cannot misapply Issue 1 for the benefit of the abortion industry.” She and the others claim the legislature will decide if any existing laws need to be changed. Problem with that of course, is that the illegitimate heavily gerrymandered legislature has firmly demonstrate that it will do anything to prevent women from opting for an abortion. The state House has 67 Republicans to 32 Democrats and the state Senate has 26 Republicans to just 7 Democrats.
I don’t have the breakdown of the pro-Choice and anti-Choice votes in their legislative districts, but these are how the pro-Choice position fared in their counties:
Butler County- 50.6%
Clark County- 50.5%
Greene County- 49.1%
Madison County- 48.7%
Ashland County- 41.8%
Medina County- 55.2%
Delaware County- 59.2%
Paul Pfeifer, executive director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, former justice and Republican lawmaker, pushed back against the proposal: “The Supreme Court of Ohio is the final arbiter of constitutional issues. Period. There’s no getting around that, so legislation that attempts to circumvent the constitution eventually isn’t going to go anywhere.”
On Wednesday, more than two dozen House Republicans— including former crazy Congresswoman Mean Jean Schmidt— vowed to oppose the new constitutional amendment. Obviously the 4 lunatics from the other statement are part of this one as well. This is their statement— and another nice GOP “Fuck You” to the voters:
Disrespect for the Constitution? How is that possible? Well, let’s start by asking MAGA Mike, who’s neck deep into a far right movement that exists only to gut the constitution. Laura Jedeed reported that “For the last 10 years, the ‘Convention of States’ movement has sought to remake the Constitution and force a tea party vision of the framers’ intent upon America. This group wants to wholesale rewrite wide swaths of the U.S. Constitution in one fell swoop. In the process, they hope to do away with regulatory agencies like the FDA and the CDC, virtually eliminate the federal government’s ability to borrow money, and empower state legislatures to override federal law.” And, yep— MAGA Mike is part of it.
Before October 25th, the bespectacled and mild-mannered Johnson’s tiny public persona centered mostly around his key role in drafting and promoting a last-ditch constitutional challenge of Trump’s election loss in 2020. But the Louisiana representative has not sat idle in the years that followed. Six weeks ago, when the House speaker saga was just a gleam in Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s eye, Johnson convened the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government for a hearing on constitutional amendments.
Like most congressional hearings, the meeting was quite dull. Johnson, the subcommittee chair responsible for final approval and scheduling for such hearings, used his opening statement to briefly explain the two processes for amending the Constitution. The first is the one you probably learned sometime in grade school: Two-thirds of Congress must approve a potential amendment, which then goes to the states for consideration. If three-fourths of the states approve it, the amendment is added into the Constitution.
But Article V of the Constitution provides a second path: If two-thirds of the states petition Congress, it must call a constitutional convention, where multiple amendments could be proposed at the same time. The Constitution does not specify how to select delegates from states to this convention, provides no limit on the scope of such a convention, and offers no guidance on how the convention would ratify these new amendments. Once the convention developed a method to pass amendments, the slate of amendments they selected would return to the states for consideration. In order to become law, three-fourths of states would need to approve the slate of amendments, either through their legislatures or through statewide conventions— at least in theory.
But the delegates to the Convention of 1784 were, in theory, only authorized to propose improvements to the Articles of Confederation. Instead, America’s framers altered the rules they were given and replaced the Articles with our current Constitution. Because Article V provides no restrictions on what a constitutional convention can consider or change, many legal scholars believe that adding such restrictions would be unconstitutional. “A convention likely cannot be limited at all by Congress or the states,” Russ Feingold— legal professor, former Wisconsin senator and current president of the American Constitution Society— wrote with Peter Prindiville in The Constitution in Jeopardy. “This clear, textual reading of Article V is supported by over a century of legal opinion from across the political spectrum.”
COSA insists that the language of their petition would prevent this “runaway convention” scenario. According to the mainstream legal opinion, however, an Article V convention could rewrite any part of the Constitution — including the part that requires the approval of three-fourths of the states to change it. A second Constitutional convention could therefore become a repeat of the first: One that completely restructures the U.S. government, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights according to rules they could make up as they go along.
Johnson has never directly endorsed COSA as a member of Congress… But the newly minted speaker had plenty to say about the movement when he was a Louisiana state representative. In 2016, while the state legislature debated whether to become the eighth state to petition Congress for an Article V convention, Johnson was a vocal proponent of the cause. “This is the measure of last resort,” Johnson told his fellow representatives. “Let’s agree that government is doing too much. I will tell you it’s doing way more than the founders intended or designed it to do.”
“I came to this conclusion myself reluctantly, but I’m there,” he said. “I think we have to do it.” The measure passed, 62 to 36.
“Whenever they needed help on a legislator who was on the fence related to the convention— the state’s resolution— they would call Mike Johnson,” Dale Clary, an activist who helped pass the Louisiana petition, said on the “COS Live” videocast a week after Johnson became speaker. Though he did not work with Johnson personally, COSA state director Bryce Barris told Clary about his outsized influence. “Mike Johnson was working behind the scenes, talking to people.”
…Johnson’s religious credentials may seem irrelevant for a movement that likes to talk about striking the commerce clause from the Constitution. But COSA does not see its cause as secular. Ferris, Meckler and other major supporters believe a Convention of States is the only way to save America from their foes in the godless left and restore the country to the form its deeply religious founders intended: A nation under God, evangelical, founded on biblical principles and enforcing Christian law.
This unusual interpretation of American history, which the movement embraces completely, comes from David Barton. Barton has spent the past three and a half decades publishing books that claim to prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious; that the bible directly inspired both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence; and that the separation of church and state is a pernicious and ahistorical myth. His book The Jefferson Lies, which portrayed Deist and slave owner Thomas Jefferson as a religious civil rights pioneer, caused such outcry from historians that the publisher pulled the book from shelves.
Johnson’s affiliation with this movement is no secret. He appeared on Barton’s “Wallbuilders” podcast last May to decry the “weaponization” of the FBI to go after pro-life protesters who block access to abortion clinics. In 2021, Johnson spoke at Barton’s ProFamily Legislator’s Conference, where he talked about the impact of Barton’s teachings on his life. “I was introduced to David and his ministry a quarter century ago, and it has had such a profound influence on me, and my work and my life, and everything I do,” Johnson told the crowd. “Thanks to all of you for being willing to serve in this critical time for the country.”
…Americans both inside and outside the Convention of States movement tend to treat the Constitution as scripture, one occasionally in need of interpretation by the high priests on the Supreme Court. In reality, the Constitution is a piece of paper that can be interpreted in many ways or simply set on fire. The real bedrock of American democracy is our unspoken, unquestioned agreement to abide by the document and play by the rules. Should COSA succeed in calling an Article V convention, the real question is not what the rules of our current Constitution allow or even what their new version would require, but whether the various institutions that run this country are willing to implement it. And now, one half of Congress is led by someone who has ties to the movement.
“It is alarming to have a speaker of the House who supports the extremist Convention of States movement, which is striving to radically rewrite the U.S. Constitution,” Feingold told me when I asked him about Johnson. “Any move by Congress in this direction risks catapulting this country into a constitutional crisis.”