Most people very strongly prefer freedom and show this with their actions.
As customers, people shop for themselves and consider all kinds of choices. As producers, people work where they choose, and as they work they take what initiatives they choose. As citizens, people vote for the candidates they choose.
While shopping and working offer countless choices, voting does not.
Governments, by their nature, narrow people’s choices to candidates who, in effect, are each a very large bundle of policy decisions—take it or leave it.
Parties since 1894 have further narrowed choices down to two overlapping bundles. There’s very little difference between how Republican majorities and Democratic majorities prefer to mess up our healthcare, impose COVID restrictions, actually enforce voting requirements in most states, and spend.
But this Progressive uniparty monopoly is growing increasingly vulnerable to innovators. To see this, consider why and how parties form.
Why Past Parties Formed
All parties, like the absolute monarchies of old, are formed (and later transmogrify) to advance specific interests of their most powerful officers.
The Federalists and the current Republicans advanced the interests of bankers and merchants. The anti-Federalists never ran candidates for office, but they, Jefferson’s Republicans, and the initial Democrats all advanced the interests of farmers. The Democrats also initially advanced the interests of slaveholders.
Even so, past major parties were able to form and become major because they also advanced freedom in some way.
The Federalists supported freedom from England. The anti-Federalists supported freedom from England and freedom from a large national government. Their successors, Jefferson’s Republicans, and the early Democrats supported freedom from a large national government. The current Republicans supported freedom from slavery and the slavery interest.
How Parties Form
Major parties are started by activists and media, then joined by politicians.
As noted, each major party formed and grew by increasing freedom. In general, advances in freedom have been led by movements that followed substantial buildups in supporting actions.
The American Revolution began 15 decades after people first settled in Massachusetts to gain freedom of religion, four decades after the first activism of the First Great Awakening, and two decades after the first media publication of Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” woodcut promoting unity against England.
The Emancipation Proclamation was signed eight decades after the Declaration of Independence, seven decades after the first activism of the Second Great Awakening, three decades after the first media publication of William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator newspaper, and one decade after the formation of the Republican Party.
These timescales reflect that movements and parties, at their base, are networks of human interactions. Building up a movement or a party requires building up multiple human interactions, each of which requires people to do all their usual labor and activities and on top of that action also make extra time available for this additional work.
Historically, people build up enough of such extra contact time only after considerable calendar time has passed. Nowadays people can provide for their needs and wants with much less labor, so it’s conceivable that people could build up enough of such extra contact time in less calendar time.
Freedom Requires the Use of Offsetting Powers
Freedom from the absolute power of a king was big. Freedom from slavery was big. Freedom from abortion will be big, and is coming, probably locally and then regionally at first.
But people are now starting to support something that’s even broader and more fundamental, that encompasses how to bring freedom from abortion and how to bring a whole lot more freedom.
People are really starting to get that to limit government, government people must use their constitutional powers to limit others in government.
Such pushback is building now.
Activists keep making it clear that they oppose deprivations of life through abortion, infringements of the right to keep and bear arms, and deprivations of liberty and property through COVID tyrannies.
Media are now solidly in place that have, for example, prioritized pushing back against COVID tyrannies. And politicians are lately gaining support by pushing back against other government people.
Government officers have declared sanctuaries for the unborn and are developing safe cities and counties for life. Government officers have declared sanctuaries for the Second Amendment in 37 percent of all counties. Government officers have declared sanctuaries from COVID restrictions, framed as sanctuaries for the First Amendment, for business, from COVID restrictions, from health mandates, and from vaccine mandates.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis pushed back against national government-recommended COVID restrictions and against local government COVID restrictions and enforcement. Lately, DeSantis is pushing back against national government nonenforcement of Section 230 against social media companies, and against the national government’s menacing election bill.
Constitutionalists are Rising
Using the Republican Party for ballot access, and working against substantial headwinds, constitutionalists who earn Conservative Review Liberty Scores of at least 80 percent have established beachheads of 33 representatives and six senators.
Theoretically, both houses of Congress could be turned over in 2 to 6 years. But in practice, this would take much more time.
Progressive incumbents, progressive-favoring party rules, and progressive-crony funding stand in the way.
The most formidable obstacles, though, are constitutionalists’ own too-small networks. The voters are ready, but the activists and media are not. Neither constitutionalist activists nor constitutionalist media have built up to levels that would ensure that enough constitutionalist candidates will run for all offices on all ballots.
Turnover of the House or Senate to constitutionalists very likely won’t ever be accomplished by staying only in this one lane of using the Republican Party for ballot access.
The constitutionalist minorities in the House and Senate will not shift to majorities in 2022 or 2024.
But certain inroads are much more feasible even now.
The first big advance in the national government would be to elect as president either Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Senator Rand Paul (R.-Ky.), or Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis in 2024.
A constitutionalist president would face no more blowback than Trump faced; and given a more disarming personality, might well be harmed less, as it was with Reagan. And in exchange, a constitutionalist president would take far more constitutional action to limit the national government, would explain why, and would deliver positive benefits, for the duration of his terms in office.
More lasting inroads can be made more quickly in local and state governments, where the networks that must form are manageable and small, while the disconnect between voters and politicians is larger.
Currently there are nominal Republican majorities in 31 state legislatures; but state Republicans are more progressive than national Republicans. The latest available constitutionalist rating of the state legislators in my red state of Missouri, (using a measure like the Liberty Score, the Locke and Smith Foundation scorecard) showed that ratings of 80 percent or more were not earned by any Missouri state legislators. None.
When activists and media start drawing attention to local and state governments (as will be needed to secure election processes), it will be possible to encourage more good candidates to run, win primaries, and get elected.
What a Good Party Would Learn From the Constitution
The Constitution advanced freedom.
Because of this, the Constitution ended up including the best ideas for limiting government, from two opposing parties.
To ratify the Constitution, the anti-Federalists required a gentleman’s agreement to add the Bill of Rights, which contributed to limiting the national government by enacting the most elemental, freedom-defining rules. To even have a chance of selling the Constitution in the first place, the Federalists needed to separate powers and create offsetting powers, which contributed to limiting the national government by enacting complementary sanctions.
No past parties have been limited in the ways that the national government is designed to be limited under the Constitution. Past party officers may have not considered this, or may have not considered this necessary, or may have not considered this to be in their own self-interest.
But future party grassroots and officers have a vastly more extensive practical history to learn from. All it takes is one set of such grassroots and officers, like the one set that forged the Constitution, to design at least one party with more effective internal limits.
We now have the Constitution’s large-scale design to limit a national government, and centuries of operating experience. We can readily scale this design down to limit a party government in the same ways that the Constitution is designed to limit the government—using separated, offsetting powers.
All Steps Matter
When the time is right for an innovation, often multiple individuals start down fruitful paths independently at the same time. This is happening now.
Activists are continuing to build support for constitutionalist initiatives, and increasingly they’re not taking “Yes, but …” for an answer. Media voices, some of them long established, are now taking good advantage of the Internet and are speaking out strongly to large audiences. Politicians are starting to respond with more powerful actions.
Throughout, people have long recognized that talk is cheap, but people lately are coming to realize the only way the Constitution works: to limit government, government people must use their constitutional powers to limit others in government.
All steps in this direction are good. All are starting to reconstitute freedom.