Over a generation ago, conservative think tanks, financially backed by corporate interests like the Koch Brothers taught the Republicans an important lesson that they have followed to this very day. Namely, no elected office is unimportant. Over the years Republicans have ran for school boards, corporation commissions, Justices of the Peace, city council, mayors, county boards, and all down-ballot offices in all jurisdictions while Democrats have only focused on National offices and a few Governorships. In fact, under former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz they haven’t even ran for all Senate & House seats that were within reach. As a result, by running the table up and down the ballot, Republicans have today an almost intractable grip on most every city council, school board, county board and State Legislature across the country. This represents the greatest danger to our democracy, even more so than having Donald Trump as president.
Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
Most who understand basic Civics already know what’s needed to “amend” the constitution. What few understand is that under Article V, if two thirds of the several States (34 States) Legislatures call for it, our nation, (separate from interference of Congress or the Executive Branch) can call for a new Constitutional Convention and if three fourths of the several States (38 States) ratify what the convention comes up with, we have a new nation. As of this year, 32 State Legislatures are completely controlled by the Republicans.
A simple search of right-wing blogs and sites reveal that they want those two more States to call for that Constitutional Convention. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the corporate sponsors of the Republican Party would push under a new Constitution. They would push to remove the Commerce Clause, used by the Executive Branch and Congress to keep individual states from imposing discriminatory laws, abiding by national standards for clean air, water, food, pharmaceuticals, etc. And that would just be the start.
Each election year I’m amazed of the lack of Democratic candidates for not only congressional districts in Arizona, few even try to run for our State legislature. I suspect that much like most “Red States” local Democratic parties won’t spend time and effort running candidates for these down ballot races. However, despite Arizona being a Red State, there is a very noticeable Democratic influence. We have elected in the recent past Democratic Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General, Senators. This past year in “conservative Republican” Maricopa County we elected a Democrat (Paul Penzone) to replace Joe Arpaio. I do not believe Arizona is unique among Red States. In fact, more people across the country are becoming more aware of the broken promises and pro corporate, Wall Street, 1% agenda of Republicans and would give an alternative serious consideration.
Article V should scare everyone in this nation, liberal, moderate and conservative. If we allow the GOP to take two more State legislatures, there most likely will be a Koch Brothers-ALEC call for that convention and all could be lost for ordinary Americans who struggle to work and survive in this nation. The sad thing is that currently (from what I observe) the DNC is still doing little to focus on individual State legislatures and other down ballot races across the country, focusing instead on the Senate, House and Executive Branch. Keep in mind, if there’s a new convention, those three branches could be changed along with the Supreme Court. The Republicans, on the other hand continue to fund all these down ballot races across the country.
Thom Hartmann points out the success of the “Tea Party” (sponsored by the Koch Brothers mind you) to infiltrate and take over the Republican Party to do their bidding. He says the best way to counter is for liberals and I hope moderates to infiltrate and take over the Democratic Party in much the same way. Now would be a good time to start. In addition to telling Tom Perez and Keith Ellison to divert resources to down ballot races, we individually should take the bold state to run for those offices ourselves.
I have hinted in my Twitter timeline my ongoing consideration of formally registering as a Democrat and running for our State House. I’m not there yet, but I suspect I’ll be making my formal announcement before year’s end. For me, there are several personal and financial considerations to deal with, not the least of which being would I have Arizona Democratic Party support for such a run? If not, can I pull it off myself? However the dangers to my State and Nation are certainly pushing me in the direction to run for office. My hope is that nationwide, in the Red States around the nation there are others like me willing to make the same sacrifice.
More to follow.