If one takes seriously the proposals of the Democrats running against Donald Trump — the Green New Deal (which would require a tremendous expansion of the power of the federal government), Medicare for All (which would also involve an unprecedented increase in the federal budget), reparations for slavery and compensation for displaced native Americans, free college tuition, punitive taxation on billionaires and millionaires, and in general, a redistribution of wealth and resources — one ought to understand the election in 2020 to be a referendum on our constitutional system itself.
Democrats are the party of class envy and, as their name implies, the party of direct democracy. They have been quite forthcoming in suggesting that they favor the abolition of the Electoral College. That key constitutional provision promotes state sovereignty and provides for indirect election of the president, and Democrats favor, instead, selection of a president by the national popular vote.
At least one of the Democratic candidates for the presidency, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., has always been an avowed socialist, and, as such, should be understood as skeptical about the Foundation of the protection of private property which undergirds our Constitution.
It is remarkable that Alexander Hamilton’s words in 1788, in Federalist 85, aimed at the opponents of the proposed Constitution, still have resonance when applied to today’s Democrats:
"The charge of a conspiracy against the liberties of the people, which has been indiscriminately brought against the advocates of the [proposed Constitution], has something in it too wanton and too malignant, not to excite the indignation of every man who feels in his own bosom a refutation of the calumny. The perpetual changes which have been rung upon the wealthy, the well-born, and the great, have been such as to inspire the disgust of all sensible men.
"And the unwarrantable concealments and misrepresentations which have been in various ways practiced to keep the truth from the public eye, have been of a nature to demand the reprobation of all honest men."
Hamilton went on to warn that Americans should "beware of an obstinate adherence to party," lest we forget the interests of the whole community.
Hamilton’s blast against "unwarrantable concealments and misrepresentations which have been in various ways practiced to keep the truth from the public eye" might be taken as a description of the Obama administration’s holdovers’ effort to obscure the machinations of the attempt to smear our current president with "Russia Collusion."
Equally presciently, with his remarks about attacks on the wealthy, Hamilton might have been talking about today’s Democrats, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In the recent Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ms. Warren lamented that "Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire [Michael Bloomberg] for another [Donald Trump]."
Sen. Warren may have had a point about Michael Bloomberg’s arrogance, however.
She was referring to a quote from a curious pamphlet compiled in 1990, called"The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit & Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg," in which Bloomberg had apparently disparaged Britain’s "Royal family — what a bunch of misfits — a gay, an architect, that horsey faced lesbian, and a kid who gave up Koo Stark for some fat broad."
Springing her carefully rehearsed and actually misleading characterization, Warren received cheers for her opening salvo that she and her fellow Democrat candidates were "running against a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and, no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump."
A Bloomberg campaign spokesman claimed that their candidate "simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift," but as a piece in The New Yorker by Amy Davidson Sorkin revealed, the pamphlet’s introduction "indicates otherwise," and further The Washington Post "assembled a wealth of reporting to back up many of the claims."
Ms. Sorkin quite accurately summed up the Democrats’ Nevada debate as "the mockery of all against all."
In 2020, the Democrats are essentially running a "wanton" and "malignant" campaign of mockery, envy, and hate, occasionally involving a circular firing squad, as we saw in Nevada, but more generally and most vitriolically directed at President Trump.
Democrats love to paint the president as a charlatan, but their fabrications, their calumny, and their wildly unrealistic promises seem more like the demagoguery Hamilton warned against than Mr. Trump’s offer to "Keep America Great."
For all their hatred of billionaires in general (even their own) and the president in particular, Democrats seem incapable of understanding that an appeal to love of country, to our Judeo-Christian traditions, and to our shared Constitutional heritage — the real secret to Donald Trump’s attractiveness — is what will win the next election.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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