Then none was for a party,
Then all were for the state;
Then the rich man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great;
Then lands were fairly portioned,
Then spoils were fairly sold;
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.
Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe;
And the Tribunes beard the high
and the fathers grind the low;
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold;
And men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, Horatius
Rob Goodman in an article at Politico outlines plans by which Democrats may stage what amounts to a coup to seize political power for generations:
For the opposite course, we could look to a left that is already building the case for court-packing, envisioning a Democratic president and Congress exercising their legal power to add two or more new justices to the Supreme Court. Or we could watch an activist base that is pushing the Democratic Caucus in Congress, however haltingly, toward procedural confrontations over immigration and court nominations. But the most detailed case against the Return to Normalcy—let’s call it the Normal Is Over side of the debate—is advanced by the political scientist David Faris in his new book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics.
Faris’ response to the Normalcy program is that there is no value in conserving a burning house. The endangered state of American liberal democracy, he argues, calls for emergency steps from Democrats and the left. They should take advantage of legal and constitutional silences to “transform American politics in a lasting progressive direction,” Faris writes. “Doing so will require party leaders to pursue policy changes that will be ridiculed by their opponents as outrageous affronts to democratic decency and received by their own voters with puzzlement or even shock. They need to do it anyway.”
The list of those changes is dizzying. Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate. Expand the Supreme Court and the federal courts, packing them with liberal judges. Move to multi-member House districts to roll back the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Pass a new Voting Rights Act, including nationwide automatic voter registration, felon enfranchisement and an end to voter ID laws. Grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a host of new Democratic-leaning voters: “Republicans have always feared that immigration would change the character of American society. Democrats should reward them with their very worst nightmare.”
All of these steps, Faris points out, could be achieved without amending the Constitution. They would rely on new legislation, but more important, on Democrats abandoning any lingering commitment to a norm about power: That legislation cannot have the explicit goal of securing a lasting partisan advantage.
Go here to read the rest. The idea that Democrats have been playing the political game cleanly up to now is so risible that only the most hardened Democrat partisan could entertain it without laughter. That this scheme is being bruited about while the Republicans control the Federal government and the majority of the states is a sign of the rising madness afflicting the port side of our politics. If all this is to be taken seriously, and perhaps it should be, I would have a few modest suggestions for the Republicans:
- End the filibuster rule in the Senate. When the Democrats eventually retake the Senate it is a dead certainty that the filibuster rule will be one with Nineveh and Tyre, so the Republicans will be merely taking a preemptive move that is coming anyway.
- Double the number of District and Circuit Court Federal judges and pack them with young Republican judges. The Supreme Court should be expanded to 59 seats. If it is going to behave like a super legislature, it might as well have the size of a legislative chamber.
- The joint resolution admitting Texas to the Union allows Texas to be divided up into four states. That should be immediately implemented.
- Red States, controlled by Republicans, wishing to do so, should pass legislation petitioning Congress to have those states divided into two or more states. The Republican controlled Congress should swiftly grant such requests for Red States to divide and multiply.
- Pass legislation doubling the time for immigrants to apply for naturalization.
- Pass legislation banning felons from voting in Federal elections.
- Pass legislation establishing national voter ID in Federal elections.
- Pass civil rights legislation making ideology a protected civil rights category.
- Pass legislation granting independence to Puerto Rico.
- Pass legislation retrocessing the District of Columbia back to Maryland except for the areas surrounding the White House and the Capitol. Such retrocessing of a portion of DC back to Virginia in 1846 occurred, so there is precedent for this.
- The executive agencies should be withdrawn from DC and parceled out to red states. The State Department in Indianapolis would be a nice start.
Add your additional proposals in the comboxes. That such naked partisan moves would be a disaster for the country I have no doubt. Our politics are becoming a cold civil war. I fear the civil war will not remain cold.