What’s More Democratic Than An Election?

By John Hood

RALEIGH — Do the ends justify the means? This familiar question produces strong feelings precisely because its answer is necessarily complicated. Just about all of us admit to a scenario, such as the proverbial ticking time-bomb, in which we would countenance unsavory means if required to save lives. In general, however, most religious and ethical traditions teach that we are not permitted to use injurious or unethical means to accomplish even noble ends.

Constitutional republics, in particular, are based on precisely the opposite formulation: the means justify the ends. Whatever our personal interest in a given governmental outcome may be, citizens of a republic are required to accept unwelcome ends as long as the means by which they were achieved are proper. A guilty person may go free if a police officer or prosecutor acts illegally or unethically. The other side may win a legislative argument. The other party may win an election.

In recent years, Democrats have complained loudly that Republicans have breached the social contract regarding means and ends. Although I am politically conservative, I have agreed with some of those Democratic complaints, regarding such matters as legislative encroachment on executive power and the irresponsible rhetoric that preceded January 6.

My hate mail switches from Republican to Democratic, however, when I point out that our political history extends far past 2010. That many of the same Democrats who criticize Republican gerrymandering, for example, were once enthusiastic practitioners of Democratic gerrymandering, including Gov. Roy Cooper. That before there were Republican Birthers questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship there were Democratic Truthers who thought the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. “He started it!” is no more an excuse for political heavy-handedness than it is an excuse for one of your children to attack the other in a backseat rumble while you’re trying to keep your eyes on the road.

At the moment, it happens to be the Democrats throwing the punches. In Washington, Joe Biden has exceeded any reasonable definition of presidential power by ordering vaccine mandates on private businesses. In Raleigh, a local judge is threatening to fine Republican legislators unless they enact an education program concocted by progressive policy wonks and Democratic politicians.

Here’s another example, involving two amendments North Carolinians added to their state constitution in 2018. One requires that a voter show a photo ID before casting a ballot. The other sets North Carolina’s maximum tax rate on personal income at 7%. Both were popular ballot measures, gaining 55% and 57% of the vote, respectively, in the 2018 election. But progressives dislike them. So they filed a lawsuit claiming that the referenda were illegally held because the legislature that placed the measures of the ballot was illegally constituted by gerrymandered districts.

I’ve advocated redistricting reform for decades. For most of that time, the gerrymanderers were Democrats. I never thought to argue that the state budgets they enacted, the laws they passed, or the constitutional amendments they placed on the ballot were illegal acts of an illegal legislature.

That’s because the argument is ridiculous and dangerous, especially when applied to constitutional amendments. What more democratic process is there than allowing voters to decide an issue by referendum?

It gets still worse. Now that the matter is before the North Carolina Supreme Court, the plaintiffs are attempting to force two Republican members from the case. They argue that Justice Phil Berger Jr. can’t participate because his father is president pro tem of the Senate, and that Justice Tamara Barringer can’t participate because she served in the Senate when the amendments were submitted to the voters in 2018.

Berger and Barringer were themselves elected by voters in 2020 to preside over constitutional questions on the Court. Are Democratic activists, cheered on by Democratic leaders, truly willing to undermine popular sovereignty in this way? Yes, it seems. Can they not foresee how Republicans will respond?

“He started it” is no way to end it.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Here is the world in which we now live in. A nine month pregnant Democrat woman jumps off of the top of a 110 story building to end her and her unborn babies life. On the way down at the seventy seventh floor a Republican license gun owner cleaning his gun accidentally discharged the gun in which he was about to clean killing the mother and child as they past his window heading for certain death. The Democrat women and unborn child is labeled as both being an innocent victims of gun violence and more gun control has to be enacted on legal license gun owners. The Republican license gun owner who accidentally shot the suicidal pregnant mother on the way to her certain death is charged and convicted of two counts of first degree murder never to be free again.

    Now, let’s rewind this analogy of the world we now live in. The nine month pregnant Democrat woman on the 110th floor that is pregnant by the Republican license gun owner on the seventy seventh floor is leaving on her due date and heading to Planned Parent Hood to legally abort her unborn child, as she passes the Republican license gun owner father she ignores his pleads to save his unborn child. When the procedure is over the Democrat woman is raised up and praised by this new society in which we all now live in.

    Yes, I think John Hood got it right on this one.

  2. The USA elections are destroyed and have lost all credibility. I am neither democrat or republican. I am for country first, citizens first. Both parties has shown criminality and corruption.

    • You are absolutely correct they are all corrupt! We need to take our towns, counties, and school boards back! We need to remind them that they work for us.

Leave a Reply