Tag: Midterm

Bad Legal Precedent Used to Challenge Maine Election Result

Jack Shields | United States

According to NPR, the incumbent Representative for Maine’s Second Congressional District, Bruce Poliquin (R), is attempting to claim victory through the courts in an election he clearly lost. Maine uses ranked choice voting for their U.S. House of Representatives elections. This means that instead of picking just one candidate, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If the first round is completed and no candidate has above 50% of the vote, the candidate with the least amount of votes is eliminated and those who voted for him have their votes go to their next ranked, non-eliminated choice. When the first round results were tallied, Poliquin was in first place with 46.2% of the vote, while his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden, trailed with 45.5% of the vote, and two independents; Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar carried 5.8% and 2.4% respectively.

In the second round, Bond and Hoar were eliminated and their votes were transferred to the voters’ second choices. The second round concluded with Golden earning a razor-thin victory over Poliquin: 50.53% to 49.47%. However, Poliquin is arguing that ranked choice voting is an unconstitutional violation of the ‘one person, one vote’ doctrine established in Baker v. Carr (1962). Even with the Carr ruling as precedent, Poliquin has no real chance or logic behind his Hail Mary lawsuit. However, the real issue is Carr in and of itself is an unconstitutional overreach by an activist court into the legislative and political domain, and should be overturned.

The issue in Carr was a requirement in Tennessee’s constitution requiring the reapportionment of seats in their state senate and general assembly every ten years starting in 1871. But when Charles W. Baker brought his suit to court, it had been over five decades since 1901 yet the state was still using the 1901 reapportionment law, despite population increases, thus severely over-representing rural districts.  Baker argued this made some people’s vote count more than others and was therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment. The Supreme Court agreed, declaring that the 14th amendment guarantees the ‘one person, one vote’ right where each vote should hold as much weight as any other vote. This precedent is unfortunately still in force today.

Even under the Carr precedent, Poliquin has no real case. The Court ruled that each vote ought to carry equal weight. The Court did not rule that votes cannot be transferred. Just because the vote was now for Golden rather than Bond or Hoar, doesn’t mean it was somehow magically more or less important. One vote equals one vote regardless of whom the vote was for. The only serious way he could argue the votes in the first round were weighed differently than votes in the second round is the fact that according to Ballotpedia, there were 284,455 votes in the first round and 275,557 votes in the second round. This may be because some people didn’t put a second choice when they voted, and therefore their vote was not transferred into the second round. While mathematically this means a vote in the second round held roughly 3.2% more weight of the total vote than in the first round, this is not actually evidence that it was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. No voter was prohibited from selecting a second choice, which would deny them equal protection under the law. Those who did not select a second choice candidate chose not to on their own accord. In some cases, not voting is just as much as a vote as actually voting in terms of the effects it has on the election. This does not mean that it unconstitutionally swings the election. There is no legitimate legal argument for Poliquin. Golden is the new representative for the people of Maine’s Second District.

When examining the actual Carr decision, it is clear the Court overstepped its boundaries. The lower courts determined that because this was an issue of a state constitution, a state reapportionment law, and a state legislature, this was not an issue which the federal courts had any jurisdiction. But because the Supreme Court determined there was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution, the federal courts had jurisdiction. This would be true if there was a violation of the Federal Constitution, but it is clear there is no violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The 14th amendment was ratified in 1868 and was specifically designed to protect the rights of newly freed slaves. The point of the Equal Protection Clause was so, for example, a state could not demand that a black man pay $100 in taxes while a white man only had to pay $50 in taxes. Laws now had to be equally applied without race-based, and later sex-based discrimination. However, this has nothing to do with elections and the weight of a vote. Both then and now, the President is elected through the Electoral College, which goes completely against the idea of ‘one man, one vote.’ As reported by the Huffington Post, in the 2016 election a vote in Wyoming held 3.6 times more weight than a vote in California. The 14th amendment did not repeal the Electoral College. In fact, it had so little to do with voting that the 15th amendment had to be passed in order to let the black men the 14th amendment was attempting to protect get to vote. The Equal Protection Clause had nothing to do with voting, meaning it is in no way an adequate excuse for federal overreach into a state issue; making this is an unconstitutional precedent that ought to be overturned at the next available opportunity.


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LIVE: Libertarian Midterm Results

The following live blog is dedicated solely to the coverage of Libertarian Candidates in the 2018 Midterm Election. Enjoy!

Everyone Should Vote

Josh Hughes | United States

Opponents claim that voting is an act of aggression, and thus violates the NAP, or non-aggression principle, that libertarians abide by. They argue that because the state’s existence is made possible through coercion and violence, voting simply legitimizes it. Simply getting a choice on who your leader is, some claim, does not make you freer. A slave that picks his master is still a slave nonetheless, after all. In our Republic, it only takes a simple majority for a leader to be elected. Is it fair that just because 50.001% of voters feel one way that the other 49.999% shouldn’t get a say? These are just a few of many, many totally valid arguments against the institution of voting. However, does being an idealist in this sense truly accomplish anything?

To some, the answer is clear. Abstaining from aggression in every way possible is of utmost importance. However, the other side of the token needs to be examined. Voting in a libertarian candidate, even if he or she is imperfect and not totally in line with your principles, is important for the sake of advancing the cause of liberty.

The system favors a two-party process, meaning that the overwhelming majority of people will align with either a Republican or a Democrat, and their views will match those of their respective party for the most part. In fact, there are many who are unaware of other options such as the Libertarian Party. If enough people show up on election day, many libertarians nationwide have legitimate chances to win their elections. The best way to get voters informed about the LP is for it to grow. The “lesser of the evils” argument is a strong one, but in the world of politics, idealists rarely get anywhere.

Politics in America are becoming increasingly polarizing, and the future seems destined to either take a turn for radical neo-conservatism or liberal socialism. Both futures are ugly ones for those who support personal and economic liberty. However, this will become the reality. While a libertarian leader is still a person with power over individuals that will engage in aggression, it will be a stepping stone towards a society absent of authority.

The Democrats are increasingly advocating for higher taxes and more economic intervention on the part of the government, which are ultimately a threat to American finances. The Republicans are advocating for an expansion of the military and police state, a threat to the social tradition of America. While imperfect, the principles of the Libertarian Party are by far the least aggressive and would lead to less government interference across the board.

This November 6, if you are able, get out and vote for your local libertarian candidate. If there isn’t one, find other ways to support the party or a candidate of your choice.  If a vote was hypothetically going to come down to a democratic-socialist, a neo-conservative, or a moderate libertarian, who would you choose?

Ideals are important to individuals. It is imperative to not sacrifice your principles and remain consistent with what you believe. However, the current system America has left little room for true ideals. The best way to advance the liberty movement is to deal with voting pragmatically and vote for your libertarian candidate.


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Beto O’Rourke Cannot Defeat Ted Cruz, and Here’s Why

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz are finally set to debate Friday night in Dallas. In the critical midterm, the race appears to be one of the closer ones. Though Texas is heavily Republican, O’Rouke is nonetheless gaining steam. As a result, Democrats are investing a lot of time and energy trying to flip Texas blue. However, this appears to be a near impossibility.

Admittedly, O’Rourke is fairly moderate, compared with other Democrats. But in the state of Texas, he still leans too far to the American left to gain enough acceptance. A Texas Tribune poll stated that immigration and border security are the most important issues to Texas voters. As a majority are also Republicans, they generally are strict on both matters. O’Rourke simply does not have the policy record to satisfy these voters.

O’Rourke vs. Cruz on the Issues

Cruz has expressed a firm stance on the border. But on the other hand, O’Rourke has voiced a desire to provide healthcare and lawyers for illegal immigrants. The statement, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, is available here. O’Rourke has also voted against body armor for border patrol officers, arguing that the border has “never been safer”. He even has discussed abolishing ICE, an unpopular idea among Republicans. Thus, O’Rourke will be at odds with the desires of the many conservative Texans who favor increased border security.

O’Rourke also does not have a very strong record protecting gun rights. The National Rifle Association recently gave O’Rourke an F rating on the issue. He then tweeted about the ranking, remarking he has never taken a dollar from them. Cruz was able to retweet him, saying in an interview, “How many times do you get to retweet your opponent?” The incumbent received an A+ from the NRA.

Texas comes in at #18 in the states with the most registered guns per capita, weighing in at 588,969. However, recent data suggests there are more guns than people in the United States. So, the figure in Texas is probably a very strong underestimate. The fact, then, that O’Rourke favors fun control will likely scare some Texans into voting for Cruz.

One of the biggest issues with O’Rourke’s campaign is his desire to “eventually achieve universal healthcare.” Cruz, on the contrary, has repeatedly made his stance clear, saying that healthcare isn’t a right, and is best left up to the private sector. Texas has some of the lowest taxes in the country, and O’Rourke has implied his opposition to raising federal income taxes. But in order for universal healthcare to exist, it is very likely that other senators would propose tax hikes. As a result, O’Rourke may be forced to choose between these two beliefs. In either situation, he would not become a popular figure for a large portion of his fanbase.

Limited Momentum

While O’Rourke seems to be gaining momentum, he has yet to win a single poll against Cruz. And a few years ago, Wendy Davis showed some of these same numbers and momentum against Governor Abbott, whom she lost to in a landslide. So, it appears that Beto O’Rourke does not have much of a path to victory, and Texas will remain under Republican senatorial control.


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The Democratic Party Doesn’t Care about America’s Youth

By John Keller | United States

In the current day, a critical midterm election is rapidly approaching. With this, a segment of the Democratic Party is claiming that only they care about the nation’s youth. This segment of the party is campaigning with their alleged care for the youth. But their promises of free college, free healthcare, and more only prove how little they really care.

Promises of billions, even trillions, in new spending for the youth beg a simple question. Just where will all of this money come from? Currently, the United States Treasury is bankrupt, with a debt of over $21 trillion. “Free” education and healthcare is only remotely possible in a stable economy, and holding a debt greater than our GDP is a guarantee at an economy that is too weak and too unstable for such programs.

Furthermore, the money for “free” programs must come from somewhere, meaning it comes from government revenue. Ultimately, this is a fancy term for the taxpayer’s back pocket. Currently, the United States has some of the highest tax rates in the world when factoring in city, county, state, and federal taxes.

In order for the Democratic Party’s “free” programs to work, the current entitlements, such as Medicare and Medicaid, require major revisions. As they hurtle towards bankruptcy, there is not much more room to tax people to fund them. In order to avoid this, it is necessary for the government to look at its wasted spending. Several members of Congress, such as Senator Rand Paul, have spoken out against it. In order to improve the United States Treasury and make any of the Democratic Party’s policies attainable, ending waste is a must.

However, the Democratic Party has no plan to lower the debt or rework spending in order to make their promises possible. Thus, any tangible Blue Wave will only put America’s treasury deeper in the red. A bigger debt with consistent votes for more spending simply pushes the issues down the road. This, of course, deepens the severity of issues that America’s youth must tackle. As taxes increase and services decay, America’s youth will take on the responsibility of this nation’s debt. But the cycle can end, in fact quite simply, by stopping this fall’s Blue Wave.


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