by Dan Gelernter
As a few American Greatness writers, and many of its readers, have pointed out: If our votes don’t count, nothing else matters. Election fraud should be the top subject in our minds every single day.
Last week, a brilliant piece by Ted McCartney suggested we march on Washington, D.C.—peacefully, but in huge numbers—with just a single demand: A constitutional amendment that requires all voting to take place in-person, on Election Day, with voter ID, on paper ballots, and that the ballots be counted that same evening on live-streamed television under the watchful eyes of as many in-person observers as want to be there.
This is an excellent idea. But now we have to think about the other half of this problem: If election laws aren’t enforced, they are essentially nonexistent.
How many of us remember the way Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers in Michigan refused to certify the election results because the numbers didn’t add up—but then the cameras turned off for a few minutes, and, when they came back on, the Republicans announced they’d changed their minds and had decided to certify the results anyway?
In Georgia, drop boxes that had been receiving dozens or a hundred votes a day suddenly, over Columbus Day weekend, received thousands—but there is no camera footage of these particular drop box locations, so we can’t see what happened. Georgia law requires that all drop boxes have cameras. Any location with no camera footage—and there are several—broke the law. But the Georgia pols figured: Who cares? Who’s going to hold us to account? The Supreme Court?
We all remember the Supreme Court’s disgraceful and disgusting behavior following the 2020 elections. Before the election was certified, the justices didn’t want to interfere with an ongoing process. After the election was certified, they refused to hear the election fraud cases because they said it was now a moot point—the election was a fait accompli. This reasoning could have been parodied from the episode of “Yes, Prime Minister,” in which chief government bureaucrats explain the four stages of government intransigence:
1) We say nothing is going to happen
2) We say something might happen, but we should do nothing
3) We say maybe we should do something, but there’s nothing we can do
4) We say maybe we could have done something, but it’s too late now!
We live, or ought to be living, in a democratic republic in which the ultimate authority rests with the people. This should include ultimate authority over interpreting our own Constitution. Who, then, are the geniuses who decided that nine unelected bureaucrats get the ultimate say about whether any law we pass can actually be a law? Or whether any law actually gets enforced? The decision was made by those nine unelected bureaucrats themselves. The Constitution doesn’t grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review—they just grabbed it. They stole it. And we said, “OK, sure. How much damage could it do?”
Of course, not everyone said that—until the Civil War, states continued to assert the right of nullification. They claimed that it was up to the states, and not up to judicial bureaucrats in Washington, to decide which laws were unconstitutional. And this was a much better system.
Each state should interpret the Constitution itself. A state might, for example, decide that Patriot Act-style legislation is unconstitutional, and refuse to allow the NSA to snoop on its citizens. Or a state might decide that “shall not be infringed” in the Second Amendment actually means “shall not be infringed.” Another state, of course, might love surveillance and believe that a shotgun with a short barrel needs to be registered with the government. But instead of that system being imposed on all 50 states through federal power, each state would handle these laws themselves, and Americans would move to states that interpret the Constitution in the way they think it ought to be interpreted. To each, his own.
Currently, we have 50 percent of this system in place—the bad 50 percent: States are violating laws on election integrity and other things (like immigration) with impunity. Because the current government in Washington likes those laws to be broken, it will do nothing to stop this freestyling. The Supreme Court will do nothing. It is time for the more robust states in the union to assert their prerogatives of freedom and to show the federal government the flipside of this coin.
What we need, in other words, is massive civil disobedience—organized not by individuals, but by freedom-loving states.
The Biden Administration was not elected and is not legitimate. The government knows this—which is why they surround themselves with barbed wire and soldiers and send federal law enforcement to harass people. But this phony power is propped up by an institution that has always claimed to be impartial, an institution that managed to keep its black gowns all nice and starched and clean, even as its justices endorsed an election that broke the law simply because it came up with the result they preferred.
Don’t be fooled by the Supreme Court’s recent abortion decision into thinking they can be dependable in upholding the Constitution—they have simply positioned themselves in the public imagination as the indispensable, ultimate authority to whom we must all appeal.
But any system that rests on the ultimate authority of the unelected is tyrannical. It is time for states to end this tyranny by reasserting their own rights—rights the Constitution endorses. Otherwise, our elections will continue to be meaningless. Because no matter how good the election laws are—and they won’t be very good to begin with—the federal government does not intend to enforce them.
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Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Connecticut.
Photo “U.S. Supreme Court” by Marco A. P. CC BY-SA 2.0.