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Assault on America, Day 457: No rewind possible for 2020 election or Congress’s fiscal insanity

Be Kind Rewind
"Be kind, rewind."

In these times when just about everything seems new and untried it’s often helpful to look to yesteryear for guidance on how to approach the constantly evolving COVID-19 coronavirus situation today. With cable and satellite TV providing non-stop coverage of the United States’ and world governments’ responses to the outbreak, we no longer need to search long and hard for information and entertainment sources like we used to.

Remember when everyone had to trek to a video store to rent a movie (which invariably came with a “Be kind, rewind” label)? Now most people probably don’t even own a VHS player (it’s so 20th century, isn’t it?) anymore. Video tapes have gone the way of Joe Biden’s “record player.” Practically everything we’d ever want -- as far as news or movies or music or distractions -- is available at the push of a few buttons. Odd times, indeed.

But there are other ways a “rewind” is being considered now. With certain governors (like here in the Old Dominion where Gov. Ralph “Blackface” Northam’s instituted mandatory isolation until June 10th) ordering increasingly lengthy periods of home confinement it’s become obvious that this year’s campaign and election cycle will be severely impacted. Whereas it’s been amusing to poke fun at would-be Democrat nominee Joe Biden’s unfortunate situation (where he can’t leave his basement “bunker” studio to actually beg for votes in person), there’s no doubting 2020’s will be the most atypical of all presidential elections.

Who would’ve ever guessed there’d be a presidential campaign waged electronically with no phone banks, conference rooms filled with volunteers stuffing envelopes, mass rallies and door-to-door canvassing? Heck, even the UPS man rings the doorbell and runs back to his truck these days. It’s like living in a weird dystopian society where no one touches each other or congregates in the same room.

Our bizarre reality’s left some insinuating we should consider a postponement -- and a possible rewind -- of the whole extravaganza. No joke. After suggesting this year’s voting might be put off for a year (like Japan’s summer Olympics), the always thoughtful Roger L. Simon wrote at The Epoch Times, “Democrats and their media allies love to accuse Trump of wanting to be a dictator or even of being one. And, yes, this would clearly give him a fifth year in his first term. But one year would be subtracted from his second. And no matter how he, or others, joke about it, he’s not going to get a third.

“Moreover, the Democrats may have more to gain from a postponement than the Republicans. Now the Dems are endlessly complaining that Trump is monopolizing the airwaves with his daily press conferences on the virus that appear to have raised his approval ratings. These conferences—I think we can assume—would be in the rear view mirror.

“The Dems also would have an opportunity—don’t tell me they don’t want it—to reconsider their nominating process that appears to be yielding a candidate no longer really capable of holding office and unlikely to run a successful campaign. They might not even have to resort to the back room to maneuver this man into a graceful retirement and bring forth a new and better standard bearer.”

Simon concluded his piece with an admission that the proposal likely wouldn’t happen. Every sane person would agree, primarily because postponing the election would require amending the Constitution to grant the current president a five-year term and then to limit the next one to three years. Such a result could be achieved through the usual two-thirds vote (both House and Senate) in Congress and then ratification by three-quarters (38) of the states.

Best of luck to anyone who figures Democrats would agree en masse to granting Trump another year with the hope of defeating the coronavirus and then limiting him to three more years after that -- or beating him in the 2021 election (feels weird to say it). Let’s not forget it was just two months ago that Democrats argued Trump shouldn’t be permitted to finish his first term, which had only eleven months left in it at that point. COVID-19 is frightening and dangerous to a lot of folks, but so far as I know it doesn’t force suspension of brain function while treatment is administered -- and Democrats would have to lose their grip on reality (if they haven’t already) to let Trump stay longer.

If Democrats had their way they’d kick Trump out of office today and use any old excuse to accomplish it -- the 25th Amendment (removal for incapacity) or even another trumped-up shot at hasty impeachment -- though it would be awfully difficult to see it through considering neither the House nor Senate is meeting these days. Would Adam Schiff throw together additional articles of impeachment from his home computer and Nancy Pelosi push them through via voice vote and unanimous consent? (No way! Thank you, Thomas Massie!)

And trying to expedite state ratifications would be nearly impossible as well, especially since no state legislature is in session either. Not that the idea might be greeted with favor in some Republican controlled states (speculating here), but there just isn’t time and an ability to get everyone situated in their chairs (six feet apart?) to consider and vote on such an idea.

In the alternative, an Article V Constitutional Convention could be called for by two-thirds of state legislatures (which again, ain’t gonna happen while everyone is on home sequester). A number of scholars have recommended this type of convention to address the ongoing constitutional crises created by our current political class and to try and restore some semblance of connection to what the Founding Fathers had in mind for the federal government’s role, budgeting, etc. The scheme certainly has merit, though it’s doubtful such a powerful change agent could be organized quickly enough with agreement among states to institute it.

In a crisis like we have now -- both with worldwide health concerns and governmental authority excesses -- does anyone believe states would agree to limit the federal government’s power? Invariably there would also be challenges to amendment language and interpretation, which the federal courts would be tasked with resolving. But oh yeah, the judiciary’s not meeting right now either (or at least it’s a scaled-back operation).  

It’s hard enough getting half the people or states to assent to anything, much less two-thirds or three-fourths. For better or worse, the system is incredibly arduous to alter, even in an emergency. We’ve worked our way into quite a pickle and it won’t be corrected quickly or easily. America’s post coronavirus society will need to address these issues and we pray there’s enough accumulated wisdom to make something work. Sad to admit, I’m not optimistic.

Further, amending the constitution isn’t the only “rewind” that would need to take place in such a do-over scenario. Even if it were possible to postpone Election Day by a calendar year, the parties would certainly need to fashion a redo in their nominating procedures as well. I’m not an election law lawyer, but assuming this year’s primary elections votes would count only for the 2020 election -- not one 365 days later -- the process would need to be replicated. So therefore, Republicans and Democrats would be required to hold entirely new nomination balloting next year, possibly with a completely new set of candidates.

That’s right. Ready for another crack at the Iowa caucuses? Could Hawkeye State Democrats get their act together with more time to refine their system? How about New Hampshire? And Nevada and South Carolina? Would Jim Clyburn play the establishment’s “savior” role again? What about a 2021 version of Super Tuesday? A dozen more Democrat debates for its 30 or so candidates?

Sound complicated? Think about it. Grampa Joe Biden is already looking decrepit and feeble at age 77. Next year he’d be 78 and it’s highly unlikely he’d be any better at convincing people he’s up to the job with additional exposure. Sure, a good many of this year’s cast of characters (including Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg) might immediately re-declare their intentions to run, but there’d also be possible newcomers like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and/or California Gov. Gavin Newsom in the mix.

And how about Hillary Clinton? Think she’d pass up a final chance to get in the scrum to “save the nation” from a Trump (three-year) second term?

Citizens are already at odds with trying to combat the coronavirus and the enormous piles of debt we’re racking up by the hour while paying people not to work so they won’t come out of their homes and mingle with each other. The last thing America needs is to worry about re-nominating political candidates and going through mundane campaigning again. Simon’s was an interesting thought, it just wouldn’t work either constitutionally or practically.

With the future so uncertain, it’s conceivable even Republicans would revisit their own slate of leaders. GOPers and conservatives remain solidly behind President Trump, and by most measurements he's doing a stellar job of managing the coronavirus conundrum -- but still, a lot of folks are worried about unchecked and out-of-control federal spending. And Trump’s proposal the other day to toss out another couple trillion towards infrastructure wasn’t his best move.

If conservatives were to lose enthusiasm for Trump it would be due to his lack of emphasis on fiscal responsibility. He would be wise to reconsider another major expenditure until after the election -- and then only if the package incorporated tight controls on future federal discretionary outlays (again, Sen. Rand Paul’s penny plan?).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t help with the budget concerns -- she just wants to pamper her fat-cat blue state liberal donors. The Editors at the Wall Street Journal wrote, “...Mrs. Pelosi told the New York Times she wanted Congress to ‘retroactively undo SALT.’ In the 2017 tax reform, Republicans limited the state and local tax deduction to $10,000. That raised federal tax revenue mostly from high-tax parts of states like California, New York and New Jersey and helped pay for the rate cuts on corporate, small business and individual incomes. According to the Tax Foundation, the cap raised almost $33 billion in 2018 from those earning more than $1 million per year and had little impact for those earning less than $100,000...

“Mrs. Pelosi’s remarks underscore the potential for further political mischief and long-term damage as the government intervenes to stimulate the economy. When Democrats next complain that Republicans want to cut taxes ‘for the rich,’ remember that Mrs. Pelosi wants to cut them too—but mainly for the progressive rich in Democratic states.”

There’s no clearer example of how Democrats intend to use these mega relief bills to pass things they couldn’t hope to realize through “normal” means. Be it crushing and destructive and unhelpful environmental laws, measures to aid voter fraud and election stealing or in this case, peppering their wealthy liberal backers, Pelosi and crew will stop at nothing to slip provisions into the legislation that will make a huge difference down the road… in a bad way.

They’ve got no shame. Where’s the media? What if Republicans added a provision to a gargantuan bill that codified every pro-life proposal from conservative groups. Journalists and pundits would be all over it. And so would Alyssa Milano!

Or if Republicans suggested eliminating taxes for the top 1 percent? Think it would squeak by?

You know we’re in strange times when people seriously ponder postponing this year’s election or doing a “rewind” on the political nominating process. Now more than ever it’s prudent to take a step back and consider everything we’re doing -- and proceed cautiously. Let’s not make a bad situation worse.

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