A Dangerous Game of Power


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Still in a vengeful mood over the results of the 2016 presidential election, House Democrats have started their legislative campaign against the Trump administration with the introduction of HR1, more commonly known as the ‘For the People Act of 2019.’ Using the American moniker ‘For the People,’ the radicalism of the Democrats is revealed in full force as they attack both citizen’s and state’s rights all in the name of the greater good.


The bill, which is split up into three parts each dealing with separate issues, begins by tackling the primary issue that brought on Hillary Clinton’s defeat: voter turnout. HR1 proposes that the federal government be granted the authority to pull existing information from all local and state government databases, including signatures, of all citizens over the age of 16 and automatically registering to vote all who are eligible.


Not only can the federal government withhold funding from states that do not agree to share information, the public is shielded from the identities of which agencies choose shared data. These agencies can be any entity that receives federal funding, including institutions of higher learning. The only way to opt-out would be through written denial of consent which must be renewed before every election. Once a citizen is registered, there is no option to opt-out.


The bill simultaneously weakens the legal penalties of voter fraud, requiring specific intent for any prosecution (a written statement of willful denial is enough to subvert legal action), allows for same day registration and vote, and does nothing to force states to cross-check each other’s systems for multiple votes. States would also be forced to enact broad early voting practices, which are already ripe with abuse.


Worse of all, states will be unable to purge voter rolls for the simple common occurrences of deaths, convictions, and change of addresses, and will also be unable to remove voters who are not legally registered, not responsive to notices, nor voters who take no actions.


Hitting a few more issues that seem to plague our voting system with elements of corruption, this bill would also restore to convicted persons the ability to vote. If the any election vote comes down to a recount, HR1 would force the use of hand counts by prohibiting electronic counts.


Another facet of Trump’s electoral victory was the phenomenon of social media. The ‘For the People Act’ attacks ‘voting trolls,’ or anybody who misrepresents voting information online, with fines up to $100,000 and 5 years in prison. The term cyberattack is also legally redefined to include ‘any act to erode public trust in the government,’ and any such actions may be considered a terrorist activity.


Squeezed into a section laden heavily with social justice language of anti-racist and anti-bigotry overtones is also a proposal to grant Washington D.C. statehood and to mandate redistricting of all representative districts by an independent commission of three D.C. judges.


Initially when I read through the first part of the 571 page bill, I was in partial shock to the mind-numbingly obvious power grab by the Democrats. Capitalizing on corruption plays, they seek to implement a system that would amplify all pre-existing problems of voter fraud and abuse. Little did I know that the rest of the ‘For the People Act’ got a whole lot worse.


The second section of the ‘For the People Act of 2019’ deals with tackling big money in politics and reversing the Supreme Court’s decision of the Citizens United vs. the FEC case. It seems to also be aimed at attacking President Trump and future candidates with shady histories of campaign finance.


Even the language of the bill itself is radical: ‘In order to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral process and to ensure political equality for all, the Constitution should be amended so that Congress and the States may regulate and set limits on the raising and spending of money to influence elections and may distinguish between natural persons and artificial entities, like corporations, that are created by law, including by prohibiting such artificial entities from spending money to influence elections.’ This phrasing essentially gives Congress unlimited power over state and local elections, creating a centralized power over all elections.


Broadening the definition of campaign expenditure, this bill would make it possible to for future litigations to attack candidates on even the most vague expenditures, muddying the water on an already particularly obscure issue. Ironically, this bill would also expand appropriate campaign expenditures to include healthcare, senior care, child care, and any expenditure relating to ‘professional development.’


Conversely, to fight big money in electoral politics, the House Democrats want to arm each and every citizen with the ability to line any candidate’s pockets with a sort of self-funding mechanism that is not only easily exploitable, but when paired with the first section of this bill, fiscally corrupt on an unprecedented scale.


The proposal is that each citizen, here defined as not even registered to vote but of voting age and resident of the state, receive $25 in vouchers. Citizens may donate to any candidate in $5 increments, which will count as a ‘small dollar contribution.’ These will also include any donation between $1 and $200. Congress will then reimburse each candidate for 600% of the cumulative sum of all small dollar contributions.


Unsurprisingly, the democrats are also calling for governmental control over social media under the guise of social equality, aiming to prevent platforms from using private information to target any categorical groups. In fact, HR1 replaces the wording of existing campaign expenditure in regards to targeted advertisements with the phrase ‘any public communications,’ broadening the definition to allow even a simple twitter post.


Further weaponizing currently bipartisan matters, under this proposal the Federal Elections Commission, which currently is comprised of two republicans, two democrats, and two independents, would be changed to a 5 seat commission, forcing a partisan makeup to ensure political control of a single party. This would eliminate political gridlock of hasty proposals and ensure partisan litigations against nonprofits and even ordinary citizens that support opposing parties.


While the second part of this bill is aimed at ‘fighting big money in politics,’ what can only be extrapolated is a guaranteed paycheck for political candidates, broadened and centralized powers of the federal government over both elections and social media, and further weaponization of existing bipartisan political entities.


To cap off a laughably unconstitutional bill which is riddled with severability clauses (which states that if a portion of a bill is deemed unconstitutional, only that portion is struck down), the House Democrats have chosen to attack President Trump on the subject of ethics.


As if Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh hasn’t received enough abuse, this bill would create a practice that would not only give Congress the ability to hold Justice Kavanaugh in contempt of an ethical code of conduct, but it would allow the standard to be applied selectively and to attack and punish judges as Congress sees fit.


An ethical standard would also be applied to all members of executive transition teams as well, including periods before members become involved in the incoming administrations.


It would also not only force recusal of high ranking governmental individuals from investigations in which the President is not the target of but merely associated with, it would bar the President from appointing a replacement, instead requiring a career politician of the agency to be an interim leader.


Making matters even more unbalanced and keeping with the theme of control, this bill would also feature the revival and strengthening of the Office of Government Ethics, giving it total subpoena power over all documentation transiting through the White House.


To add a healthy dose of pettiness to the mix, it would also not only force the President and Vice President to put all ‘conflicting’ assets into a blind trust, it would require both offices to disclose all income tax returns to Congress.


The only piece of this entire legislation that limits Congress itself is that it would force members to reimburse the treasury for amounts paid as settlement and awards in all cases of employment discrimination.


There really is only one thing this bill can be interpreted as: a power grab by House Democrats over the Executive and Judicial branches, all state and local governments, and even the entire citizenry of the United States of America. It seeks to expand control over elections, social media, and political speech. To name it the ‘For the People Act’ is a democratic political tactic that is disgusting, to say the very least. Implying to fight for the greater good and using patriotic messages for selfish political game is not only increasingly narcissistic and corrupt, but pure toxin and antithetical to the American ideal.


The only good news coming out of this bill is that it is already doomed to fail. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself has said so, correctly calling it what it is, the ‘Democrat Politician Protection Act’, and promising to shoot it down. However, it is troubling that House Democrats are so bold to even put their true, unmasked intentions into writing, for all the world to see.

Patrick is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. When not enjoying time with his family, Pat can often be found on Twitter, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, or cooking.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Patrick Sullivan

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Patrick is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. When not enjoying time with his family, Pat can often be found on Twitter, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, or cooking.

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