The DNC, the Democratic National Committee which controls the Democratic Party, has announced that there will be no debates between the presidential candidates for the 2024 election. This tactic undermines democracy in America and should cause great concern among all Americans regardless of political leanings. Considering the other side, though, the RNC, the controlling entity of the Republican Party, is no better. We have witnessed public manipulation of candidates and unknown private dealings, undermining former President Trump candidates at local levels in our counties.
The Federalist Papers, a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, were published in the late 1780s to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. While the Federalist Papers primarily focused on various aspects of the proposed Constitution, they touched on the topic of political parties to some extent.
In particular, James Madison discussed the issue of factions in Federalist No. 10, which is often referenced in discussions about political parties. In this essay, Madison acknowledged that factions, or groups of citizens with shared interests, are inherent in human nature and can arise from various causes, such as differences in political opinions, religious beliefs, or economic interests.
Madison argued that political parties, or factions, could benefit and harm a democratic society. On the positive side, he contended that parties could provide a means for citizens to engage in political discourse and express their opinions. They can help represent different perspectives, bring diverse ideas to the table, and prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a single group.
However, Madison also expressed concerns about the potential dangers of factions. He warned that factions driven by narrow self-interests could undermine the common good and threaten the stability of the government. He advocated for a large and diverse republic to mitigate factions' influence, as a broader range of interests would make it more difficult for any single faction to gain excessive control.
It is important to note that while the Federalist Papers touched on political parties and their potential influence, the term "political parties," as we understand it today, was not explicitly discussed in the same context. The development of modern political parties in the United States took place after the ratification of the Constitution, and the Founders had varying views on the role and significance of political parties in the political system.
Political parties in American politics have different methods of selecting their candidates. For major parties like the Democrats and Republicans, the process typically involves holding primary elections in each state. During these primaries, registered party members vote for the candidate they want to represent their party in the general election. The candidate with the most votes in the primary becomes the party's official nominee. Other parties, such as third-party or independent candidates, often have different candidate selection methods. Some may hold conventions or caucuses to determine their nominees, while others may simply appoint a candidate to represent their party.
My personal experience with political parties in the state of Florida references the fact that non-party affiliated voters, or NPA's, are registered voters that have not registered with either the Democrat or Republican Party and are not allowed to vote in the primaries. This Florida Statute essentially disenfranchises voters in this status. Therefore, a critical portion of candidate selection is taken from those not registered with political parties.
The U.S. Constitution addresses voting rights in several amendments, but the primary Amendment that specifically addresses this issue is the Fifteenth Amendment. The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." In simple terms, this Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from denying or limiting the right to vote based on an individual's race, color, or previous enslavement.
It is important to note that while the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits racial discrimination in voting, subsequent amendments, and legislation have been necessary to expand voting rights and address other forms of discrimination, such as the Nineteenth Amendment (granting women the right to vote) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (prohibiting discriminatory voting practices based on race).
The issue of whether Florida's statute that prevents independent voters from participating in primary elections is constitutional under the U.S. Constitution is a matter of legal interpretation. The courts have not definitively resolved it. The Constitution does not explicitly address the issue of primary elections or party affiliation.
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the authority of states to establish their own rules and regulations regarding primary elections as long as they do not infringe upon fundamental rights or discriminate in a manner that violates the Constitution. States have broad discretion to determine the eligibility requirements for primary elections, including whether independent voters can participate.
It's worth noting that in some cases, courts have struck down state laws that excluded certain groups of voters from primary elections if they found that the exclusion violated constitutional provisions, such as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, no universally applicable precedent directly addresses whether excluding independent voters from primary elections is unconstitutional.
I contend that the disenfranchisement penalty experienced by Independent voters violates the 14th Amendment visa vie the equal protection under the law. I would also offer that this Florida Statute is a violation of the 15th Amendment which protects the rights of all citizens to vote.
In the 2020 election, we witnessed the DNC utilizing the COVID lockdown to shut down the primary process and essentially crowned and selected Vice President Biden as their nominee. His candidacy was run from his basement using all forms of media and social media. The RNC similarly maintains strict control over its membership, not allowing dissent and penalizing those who do not follow the party line. This control is reminiscent of a Leninist political regime. The recent effort to remove Mitt Romney's niece, Ronna McDaniel, as 4th term head of the DNC shows clearly the backroom dealings accompanying political parties. Does anyone believe that the niece of an enemy of President Trump should stay in place after the horrendous outcomes of the 2020 and 2022 elections? Particularly when an excellent replacement existed in Harmeet Dhillon, an America First advocate and avid Trump supporter.
President Madison argued for a diverse political landscape with many parties to represent all the various elements of a democratic society. Today the only two parties we have seem to be in league together. They join in efforts solely to maintain themselves in power. There are no other opposition parties with clout at the national level and very few at the state and local level. Healthy debate and independent candidates no longer exist in America. At a recent Miami-Dade county Republican meeting, I witnessed how votes were manipulated for candidates by state Committeewoman Liliana Ros, who I witnessed telling people who to vote for and how to vote. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his book on the 1830s democracy in America, talks about how essential politics at the local level is, making it clear America is in jeopardy.
In his book "Democracy in America," Alexis de Tocqueville discusses the significance of local government as a vital element of American democracy. He emphasizes the importance of local communities and their capacity for self-governance, highlighting their role in fostering individual participation and engagement in public affairs.
However, de Tocqueville also recognized the potential negative influence of political parties on local government and the impact they could have on individual participation. He observed that political parties could undermine the autonomy and independence of local governments by exerting control and promoting partisan interests.
Here are a few ways in which de Tocqueville argued that political parties could limit and overrun the individual in local government:
Party Loyalty Over Individual Judgment: De Tocqueville warned that political parties tend to demand loyalty from their members, often expecting elected officials to prioritize party interests over the concerns and needs of their local constituents. This emphasis on party loyalty can lead to elected representatives disregarding the interests and desires of individual citizens.
Centralization of Power: Political parties, especially in their quest for influence and control, may centralize power at higher levels of government. This centralization can diminish the authority and decision-making power of local governments and undermine the ability of individuals at the local level to shape policies that directly impact their communities.
Patronage and Nepotism: De Tocqueville observed that political parties could foster a system of patronage and favoritism, where party leaders and officials distribute political appointments and benefits based on party affiliation rather than individual merit. This practice can undermine the principles of fairness, equality, and competence in local government.
Polarization and Divisiveness: Political parties can contribute to heightened partisanship and ideological divisions within local governments. This polarization can hinder productive discourse and compromise, potentially leading to gridlock and the exclusion of dissenting voices.
De Tocqueville's concerns about the influence of political parties on local government highlight the need for individuals to remain engaged, vigilant, and active participants in their local communities. He believed that a strong and engaged citizenry was crucial for countering political parties' potential negative effects and ensuring local self-governance's vitality. Today we are fighting this battle in the trenches of Miami-Dade County. The movement to put America first also means to put Americans first. Every citizen deserves their vote and equality under the law. Madison and de Tocqueville could see this coming centuries ago and they warned us. Now is the time for patriotic citizens to step up and be heard, step up and claim your equality under the Constitution.