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Ex-GOP chair Michael Steele on the politics and power of Trump

REUTERS/Sean Gardner
Michael Steele: “We are where we are because this is where we want to be.”

Why is Donald Trump president of the United States?

In a Minneapolis luncheon speech Tuesday, Michael Steele, a one-time chair of the Republican National Committee who still calls himself a Republican but has little praise for the current incumbent, said, as a refrain with variations: “We are where we are because this is where we want to be.”

Personally, I disagree. We are where we are because, of the pitiful 56 percent of eligible voters who participated in the 2016 presidential election, 46 percent voted for Donald Trump, and the antiquated Electoral College system did the rest. More of us are unhappy about that than happy (judging by the president’s approval ratings). I would say that a great many of us are not where we want to be. But, of course, this is loser logic, or perhaps a desire to exclude myself from the “we” who want to be where we are, president-wise.

But I get Steele’s point: Under our jury-rigged system for choosing a president, Trump won the job, perhaps with some illicit foreign help. 62.98 million U.S. citizens voted for him and, at the moment, it seems likely that he will serve out at least one four-year term.

Steele, by the way, predicts that Trump will probably win a second term. Why? Steele gave a few stabs at offering a “because.”

Because Trump is a “master manipulator.” Because Trump “is able to have this conversation with a group that felt forgotten.” Because the news media has lost its role in deciding its own agenda, which means that you can have a political show all set up to discuss one thing, and, as Steele said, “Trump will issue a tweet that completely takes over the agenda.”

Because, as Steele also put it in a paraphrase of his where-we-want-to-be argument, “the space we’re in is one of our own choosing and making,” although he also called it a “dangerous space for our country to be in.”

“What has happened,“ Steele said, “only happens if we cede over, to that person or people, power that they should not have.”

If you’re confused, so was I. But I stayed to the end of the Q and A, as Steele addressed the 29th annual Corporate Counsel Symposium put on by the Minneapolis-based Dorsey law firm.

So I’ll just try to elucidate my best understanding of why Steele argues that the place where we are must be where we want to be. Here’s an example, drawn from Steele’s remarks.

“This morning, many of us woke up to a tweet – how sad is that – of the president talking about ending birthright citizenship.” The 14th Amendment says pretty clearly that anyone born here is a U.S. citizen. Trump claims he can change that, without a constitutional amendment, or even the support of Congress, but by executive order, with no power other than his own.

Me, I would say executive power doesn’t extend to unilaterally changing the Constitution. But, if Trump goes through with such an executive order, someone will have to stop him. Or, if no one stops him, he will get away with it. And if we, the whole collective “we” let him get away with it, that will be evidence that, in some messed up collective sense: “We are where we are because this is where we want to be.”

And, on the other hand, if, collectively, we stand up and say “this is a line that’s too far” for Trump to stretch executive power, and say it in a way that causes the other branches of the government to act on that message, that will be evidence that where Trump tried to take us is a place that we are not willing to be taken, Steele said.

Donald Trump (Steele reminded us) was caught on tape saying that if you are sufficiently rich and famous, you are allowed to grab women by the pussy. At the time, many of those who claim to know such things said that that would finish him politically. But, Steele said, Trump carried the “white, female, educated vote” with 53 percent, over the first woman major party nominee ever.

“We have to understand what that means,” Steele said. “Politics abhors a vacuum. When there’s a vacuum, someone or something will fill it. Donald Trump filled the vacuum.”

Steele, by the way, now appears as a regular commenter, from a conservative perspective, on MSNBC. In addition to his RNC gig, he served as lieutenant governor of Maryland, the first African-American to win statewide office in that state. He was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Maryland in 2006, but lost to Democrat Ben Cardin.

Comments (65)

  1. Submitted by Greg Smith on 10/31/2018 - 11:41 am.

    To answer your question in one word, Hillary.
    Qualifications aside, HRC as wildly unpopular with a large swath of the country. Both parties nominees are wildly unpopular.
    HE’s legacy is The Contract With America/Newt Gingrich, and the Trump presidency.
    I suspect Trump’s legacy will be something analogous.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 10/31/2018 - 11:55 am.

    Trump has a chance at winning again because he puts America 1st. Not that difficult to understand. Minnesotans wants a person in charge that declares we want manufacturing jobs back, not those jobs are gone, forget about them. We want a GDP north of 2%. I know I value a mining job in Chisholm more than a mining job in China. I like a President looking at 30 – 40 year old Trade Agreements, making them current, more fair and better for American workers. With Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama we’ve seen Globalism, we are ready for America 1st.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/31/2018 - 12:47 pm.

      Sadly, those manufacturing jobs won’t come back because Mr. Trump says they should. The primary result, for people like you and me, of protectionist tariff policy, is that both the foreign-produced and the domestically-produced product will cost more. That doesn’t sound like “greatness” to me.

      The President has little or nothing to do with GDP growth, and it’s my understanding that businesses grow, or not, largely because of decisions by executives (that’s how they justify their salaries) and the productivity of the employees. We already know that American workers are among the most productive on the planet, which puts most of the onus for success or failure squarely in the lap of those executives. Mr. Trump has had minimal impact on GDP, and that seems likely to continue. There are economic forces at work over which Mr. Trump has no control whatsoever.

      Mining jobs last, at most, a generation. The environmental degradation they inevitably bring lasts multiple generations, and sometimes – from the human perspective – forever. If sulfide mining ruins the Boundary Waters for 10,000 years, it’s technically not “forever,” but none of the humans with whom I’m currently acquainted, including my grandchildren, will be around when the water is, once again, safe.

      So far, I’ve not seen anything in print that suggests American workers are better off after renegotiation of trade agreements. Your local soybean farmer might argue that he’s worse off.

      You may not have noticed, but “America First” might have worked in the 19th century, at least for a while, but this is not that century. Business deals can be arranged in, literally, a minute. Products can be manufactured in a fraction of the time it used to take, and those products – if the business is to grow, as we’d like it to do – have to be sold around the world. When you call other countries uncomplimentary names, they might respond by NOT buying your products, especially if you make their own products artificially expensive through tariffs, or unavailable at all.

      Globalism, as any corporate executive worth her/his salt would tell you, is not only essential to growth of their company and that GDP, it’s also an acknowledgment of the current reality. You may not like it, but not liking something doesn’t make it less a fact.

      And what an awful legacy to leave to one’s grandchildren: a specious “contract with America,” an arrogant and poisonous Newt Gingrich, and a bigoted, badly-educated, spoiled child of privilege as a President. If Trump’s legacy is, in fact, analogous, we’ll all be the poorer as a result.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/01/2018 - 09:53 am.

        When you don’t have a job, having a President fighting for you, gets your vote. GDP is important because for every .1% , 200 Billion new dollars have been created in the USA (not China). Yes, America First rings true to those who love America, just like Germany looks out for themselves first, USA should do the same. Policies matter, Trump introduced policies to stimulate the economy, Obama and Dems had 8 years to do so….. Nothing happened besides Cash for Clunkers and 1.8% GDP growth. That influences voters.
        Only die hard Left Dems don’t see the impact of a growing economy on regular folks. Why that is, I have no idea.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/31/2018 - 02:41 pm.

      United States manufacturers now face the highest steel prices in the world. How does that increase manufacturing employment? The American steel manufactures responded to the new taxes (tariffs are taxes, make no mistake) not by selling more steel but by raising prices. It’s easier to increase profits that way, as opposed to selling more steel or investing in new technology. At least it works until the manufacturers move more production over seas in search of cheaper materials.

      While Don Trump has lied about US Steel opening new mills, none have opened, and there are none in the pipe line.

      The wealthy got tax cuts, the rest of us got tax increases. Because tariffs are taxes. Don Trump has increased taxes, even if Democrats are too dumb to say so.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/31/2018 - 05:14 pm.

        US Steel planning to add more than 800 jobs this year

        “We’ve been in a trade war for 30 years,” says U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt.
        He credits Trump’s proposed tariffs for correcting what he said were unfair trading practices and allowing his company to reopen a plant that has been idle since December 2015. (CNBC)

        Technically, you’re right. It’s not new, but does that really matter? And how many steel plants re-opened under the previous administration?

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/01/2018 - 03:26 pm.

          “US Steel just announced that they are building six new steel mills.”
          Don Trump, July 31, 2018

          So, we call that a lie, flat out.

          But tell me, how do increased prices for steel create jobs in the overall economy, when steel users are paying more for steel? Sounds like big gubmint picking winners and losers to me.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/31/2018 - 03:27 pm.

      We all have yet to feel the full effect of the chaos that Trump is sowing in the economy.

      There is great uncertainty of the actual effect of the tax cuts in relation to the year end tax burdens on the majority of individuals and businesses..

      The full effect of the 10 to 25% price increases due to Trump tariffs will come into play after the depletion of excess stock bought in anticipation of tariffs late in this year.

      Trumps tariffs have already had an effect on the economy–decreasing potential GDP by almost 1.8 percent in the 3rd quarter.

      The stock market indexes are down for the entire year with performance worsening due to trade disputes and a disappointing “boost” from reducing business taxes.

      Deficits and debt are rising exposing the lie in the “tax cuts pay for themselves” slogan.

      Sue doesn’t sound like economic magic.

  3. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/31/2018 - 01:06 pm.

    Two prongs to my response.

    1. Leftists who are still whining about the Electoral College fail to realize that it was a system that was created to get states with small populations on board with the whole federal government thing. There is, quite literally no United States without the EC; then or now.

    2. The correct way to describe the reality of the situation is “Trump cannot void birthright citizenship without a SCOTUS opinion confirming his right to do so.

    “Birthright citizenship” relating to illegal immigrants sneaking in to give birth to a US citizen that then gets the whole family in, became a thing after the 1965 Immigration act; it’s only 53 years old.

    Personally, I hope Trump follows through with it, because I think it needs to be clarified once and for all. And obviously, I think it would be a clear “yes he can”.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/31/2018 - 02:43 pm.

      I owuldn’t get your hopes up. It’s just red meat for the base. It will be forgotten about after next Tuesday. Just like Mexico paying for the wall.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/31/2018 - 04:40 pm.

        I dunno bout that. T is already thinking ahead to 2020. Besides, I think he’d welcome a court fight he has a pretty darned good shot of winning; especially if it straightened out a mess we’ve been dealing with for 53 years.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2018 - 08:56 am.

          Please explain why you think he has a “pretty darned good shot of winning” this particular court fight.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/01/2018 - 11:30 am.

            Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito…..

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/01/2018 - 01:15 pm.

            I’ve read the history of the legislation. The statements of the authors, the speeches and the debates in the Senate. They clearly meant to exclude the kind of shenanigans that are happening today.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2018 - 02:36 pm.

              Have you read the actual language of the 14th Amendment? Because that’s what governs, no matter what was said in Congress at the time.

              There is a lot of revisionist and dishonest rubbish floating around out there about what Congress “intended”when it passed the 14th Amendment. Let’s just keep it simple: when the 14th amendment was ratified, there was no law excluding anyone from immigrating to the United States. The first law restricting immigration, the Page Act, would not be passed for another seven years. To accept your idea that the 14th Amendment was meant to “exclude the kind of shenanigans that are happening today” is to say that Congress anticipated a law that would not be passed for several years.

              Congressional prescience cannot override the clear language of a constitutional amendment, I’m afraid.

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/01/2018 - 04:39 pm.

                When you read the debate, and the speeches of the authors, the meaning of the words “under the jurisdiction” become clear. As does the fact that those words were added to satisfy Senators who did indeed foresee the shenanigans we see today.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2018 - 05:06 pm.

                  I’ve read the debate. I’ve also read the so-called excerpts from the debate that purportedly support your argument. To be blunt, they are wrong. You are being lied to, my good man.

                  “The citizenship-denial lobby has focused on the words subject to the jurisdiction. Its members argue that citizens of foreign countries, even if they live in the U.S., are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and thus their children are not covered by the clause. To test this idea, ask yourself: If a foreign citizen rear-ends your car on your drive home today, will you, or the police, allow him to drive away on the grounds that a foreign citizen cannot be arrested, ticketed, or sued?

                  For those scoring at home, the answer is no.

                  Foreign citizens are “subject to the jurisdiction” of our police and courts when they are in the U.S., whether as tourists, legal residents, or undocumented immigrants. Only one group is not “subject to the jurisdiction”—accredited foreign diplomats and their families, who can be expelled by the federal government but not arrested or tried.

                  That’s who the framers of the clause were discussing in Section 1—along with one other group. In 1866, when the amendment was framed, Indians living under tribal rule were not U.S. citizens. Under the law as it was then, American police could not arrest them, and American citizens could not sue them. Relations with Indian tribes were handled government to government, like relations with foreign nations: If Native people left the reservation and harmed American citizens, those citizens had to apply to the U.S. government, which would officially protest and seek compensation from the tribal government. In that respect, Indians living under tribal government were as protected as foreign diplomats are today.

                  But over and over in the Fourteenth Amendment debates, the framers of the amendment made clear that there would be no other exclusions from the clause. Children of immigrants? They were citizens. Even children of Chinese immigrants, who themselves weren’t eligible to naturalize? Yes, them too. Mysterious foreign “Gypsies,” who supposedly spoke an unknown language and worshipped strange gods and observed no American laws? Yes, the sponsors explained, it covered them too.”


            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/01/2018 - 03:19 pm.

              But the guys on the Court now don’t care about that. Scalia got them in “plain language” camp. Just read the text, and that’s all.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2018 - 04:14 pm.

      And the low population states among the original colonies were the Southern states. The Electoral College was a way to keep them in the Union despite slavery detested by a majority of the population of the Union.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/31/2018 - 04:33 pm.

        Actually, Virginia had the largest population at that time but hey, I’ll give you another mulligan.

        The real problem your response has is, which states needed the reassurance doesn’t matter a whit. The Congress decided, as a body they wanted those states in, and the EC was the only way that was going to happen.

        To make matters worse for morose leftists, the number of states that would lose any effective clout in the absence of the EC has grown since then. California, Pennsylvania, NY, Texas and Illinois would have to convince everyone else that what they want is best for everyone.

        Barring that, y’all are gonna have to convince all those deplorables in flyover country that what the Democrat party wants is best for them.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2018 - 05:34 pm.

          Virginia had (marginally) the largest population IF you count blacks, who were not regarded as human, much less citizens.
          However, the Founding Fathers were disproportionately Virginian, starting with Washington and Jefferson.
          Finally, you’re still overlooking the fact that all of the citizens of the United States have an equal right to vote, whether they live in California or Alabama.

        • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/31/2018 - 07:18 pm.

          Hmmm… I don’t have a copy of The Federalist Papers handy, or some other lengthy tome about the 18th-century constitutional debate, but I think you’re – at best – only partly correct. Yes, the Electoral College gave disproportionate weight to the small states, and the Constitution continues to do so with the ongoing silliness of the U.S. Senate being based on a pair of senators for each state, so that California carries as much weight in the Senate as does Wyoming. More important to those small states, however, and it quickly became a southern raison d’etre, was slavery, which dovetails nicely with another proposal, the loathsome (at present) idea of the 3/5ths Compromise.

          I’ll be happy to stand corrected, but my take, for what it’s worth, is that keeping slavery viable was already at least as important to southern states by the 1780s – especially since their white or non-slave population was generally quite small – as was the concept of an electoral college, and may well (I’ve not read about this in decades) have been closely tied to the Electoral College from the get-go.

          It was a nice trick – being able to count slaves for purposes of representation in the House, but at the same time counting them only as property when it came to things like voting and taking part in the government. Current Republican voting proposals are not far removed from that hypocritical position, either ideologically or tactically.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/01/2018 - 04:06 pm.

            “Yes, the Electoral College gave disproportionate weight to the small states…”

            No, the Electoral College gives *proportional* weight to smaller states. Disproportional would mean Rhode Island gets 20 ECV and California gets 10. See?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2018 - 04:46 pm.

      “’Birthright citizenship’ relating to illegal immigrants sneaking in to give birth to a US citizen that then gets the whole family in, became a thing after the 1965 Immigration act; it’s only 53 years old.”

      That’s pretty cute, but it doesn’t work that way. It has never worked that way.

      Birthright citizenship, which has existed since the dawn of the Republic, confers citizenship only on the person who was born in the United States. It does not confer any residency right or claim to citizenship on that person’s parents or other family members. Parents of minor children are routinely removed from the US, even though the child citizen has every right to remain here.

      The parents of a native-born citizen may be sponsored for a family unification visa when the child turns 21. The fact that the sponsor is a native-born citizen does not let them jump to the head of the line–they have to apply and wait their turn like anyone else. The parents are eligible only if they are living outside the US.

      Or–they can hope that their daughter becomes the third trophy wife of a crooked real estate developer. Then they can come in under a “genius” visa, to take care of their grandchild. It’s the American Way!

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/01/2018 - 04:15 pm.

        “Politifact agreed that “having a baby to secure citizenship for its parents is an extremely long-term, and uncertain, process.”

        “Yet, undeniably there are benefits such as having access to food and nutrition vouchers through Women-Infants-Children program, and potential relief from deportation.”

        This is a problem begging for a solution. Democrat politicians refuse to address immigration law, the refuse to secure our borders, and, as with so many leftist agendas, it’s the kids that pay the price for their fecklessness.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2018 - 04:43 pm.

          Did you read the title of the article you linked to? It was “Why Illegal Immigrant Anchor Babies Don’t Actually Work.” Illegal immigrants are denied access to welfare benefits, despite what you have doubtless heard on the radio (only citizens, lawfully admitted refugees, and legal permanent residents may claim nutritional benefits). The “potential” relief from removal (the term “deportation” is no longer used) is just that: potential. It could happen, but it seldom does.

          “Democrat politicians refuse to address immigration law the refuse to secure our borders . . .” Remind me: which party has been in control of both houses of Congress these last few years? And that weirdo in the White House–what party claims him as a member? “[A]nd, as with so many leftist agendas, it’s the kids that pay the price for their fecklessness.” So to help them out, the Trump administration is separating children from their parents and holding them in camps. I am touched by this display of humanity.

          Speaking of children, the Mexican Interior Ministry estimates that there could be 430,000 to 600,000 children who are U.S. citizens who have lived most of their lives in the United States now living in Mexico. That anchor baby idea is a real bust, it seems.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/01/2018 - 06:43 pm.

            “The “potential” relief from removal (the term “deportation” is no longer used) is just that: potential. It could happen, but it seldom does.”

            Right in the foot.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 12:04 pm.

              You’re raising the specter of something evil happening (Parents allowed to stay with their children? Oh, no!). It rarely happens.

              Pray, sir, how is that “right in the foot?”

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/02/2018 - 09:54 am.

          Oh my. “Democrat politicians”? MinnPost mods are again allowing that pejorative?

          Odd, given that much milder posts of mine have not made the cut.

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/31/2018 - 01:07 pm.

    Don Trump has a serious chance to win another term, and we can see why with the news cycle yesterday.

    Don Trump, trying to push the Pittsburgh murders off the front page and the narrative back on fear of The Other, spouted off a preposterous plan to end birthright citizenship by executive fiat. He added that this is the only country in the world to have birthright citizenship.

    “Journalists” repeat his lie that this is the only country in the world, without an ounce of fact checking. After several hours there were some corrections, but for Don Trump it was already mission accomplished.

    Don Trump is not serious about this, but he was successful in his goal by again playing the media like a fiddle. It is no different than his claim a couple weeks back about middle class tax cut, which he would somehow accomplish while Congress is not in session. The only difference is that this was more successful than the tax cut lie.

    And now we have numerous media dutifully covering this non-story in a serious manner, even though a 5 year old can tell it’s a pre-election lie and is clearly not in accord with the same Constitution conservative profess devotion to.

    If this works for mid-terms, what does he have in store for October 2020? And how can we have any hope that he corporate media will actually do their jobs and not be lap dogs for the POTUS?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/31/2018 - 02:09 pm.

      Just to clarify, the Axios reporter baited Don Trump into saying this, but Don Trump is more than happy to divert attention from things like anemic inflation adjusted wage growth of .4%

  5. Submitted by Don Casey on 10/31/2018 - 01:50 pm.

    Could that 56 percent voter turnout reflect — to some degree — dissatisfaction with both major parties? Those who don’t bother to vote if they don’t like the choices they have.

    A recent Gallup poll reports ” … 57%, say there is a need for a third, major political party, while 38% of Americans believe the current two party system does an adequate job of representing the people. These views have been consistent since 2013.”

    If there is such strong support for a third party, why hasn’t it happened? I suspect many of those who do vote fear a third party candidate would not be successful. Rather than “waste” a vote, the opt for the perceived “lesser of the evils” (certainly the case in ’16).

    A successful third party should have a moderating effect on the partisan warfare of recent years. If neither side has enough votes in Congress to steamroller.legislation with party-line votes, doesn’t that force true compromise. This, historically, is a nation of a moderate plurality (independents and moderates identifying with a major party fpr lack of choice). That is not reflected with two parties moving progressively further left and right.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2018 - 03:16 pm.

      “If there is such strong support for a third party, why hasn’t it happened?” Two reasons: One is that third-party efforts have tended to aim for the top of the ticket, without building any support at lower levels. Thus, you can have a flash-in-the-pan like Jesse Ventura, but you aren’t going to have legislators, mayors, or county commissioners to build a party structure for continuity.

      Second, third-parties really aren’t offering much besides personality. Look at the Independence Party. If you take away the fact that they are neither Democrats nor Republicans, what’s left? Bland appeals to centrism don’t carry very far without specifics. Specifics are made clear with a track record of achievement (see above).

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/31/2018 - 04:01 pm.

      By all means, follow that “yellow brick road,” right to whatever your personal “Oz’ would be,…

      but please be sure your “third (major?) political party” is on the “conservative” side, won’t you?,…

      since you’ll be guaranteeing major electoral losses for whichever side of the aisle your new party seeks to create a purer version of.

      Of course if you REALLY want to address why the current system works as badly as it does,…

      do a bit of homework (I know how desperately we Americans hate such things),…

      then work to change the root causes which make ALL our political leaders,…

      (even your alternate party would fall victim to the same),…

      so indebted to the people who are able to write the big campaign finance checks.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2018 - 04:12 pm.

      A good point, but the fact remains that we make voting harder than most democracies. Tuesday voting is more difficult for low wage earners who may have to take time off and meet resistance doing so. A first step would be weekend voting; even better would be exclusively mail voting, as it works in Oregon.
      We can do better.

  6. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 10/31/2018 - 04:45 pm.

    No, Mr. Steele, we are where we are not because this is where “we” want to be. We are where we are because for 50 years the Republican party, with your turn at a laboring oar, has worked unstintingly to turn potential civic participants in a democracy into authoritarian followers motivated by fear and hate to vote for authoritarians.

    Enough with Republicans jumping off the deck and rowing away as fast as they can. Your critique is better late than never, but your disingenuous, sleight-of-hand self-absolution is not.

  7. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/31/2018 - 09:26 pm.

    Eric is right: the 14th Amendment, Section 1 pretty clearly says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

    I have a friend who always tells me “the problem is us.” Which is true to some extent, just like Mr. Steele’s comment but only if it’s meant or taken in a fatalistic, or deterministic way. One of the “privileges and immunities” of citizenship is the right to vote. If the 44% of eligible voters who didn’t bother to vote in the last election don’t get off their behinds to vote next week to get rid of the enablers of the current occupant or in 2020 to get rid of this current occupant, there’s not going to be much left about citizenship worth having anymore.

  8. Submitted by joe smith on 11/02/2018 - 09:36 am.

    Birthright citizenship was passed to override Dred Scott and allow Blacks the right to citizenship. It was never intended to have 300,000 births on America soil, from illegal aliens, per year. Can’t have open borders and birthright citizenship with our welfare programs. Just doesn’t work!!

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 10:38 am.

      Birthright citizenship has existed since the dawn of the Republic. See, U.S. v. Rhodes, 27 F. Cas. 785, 789 (C.C.D. Ky. 1866) (No. 16,151); Kent, Commentaries, Lecture 25 (1826). The Fourteenth Amendment federalized that understanding, and pre-emptively barred states from setting their own citizenship rules, overriding Dred Scott.

      “It was never intended to have 300,000 births on America soil, from illegal aliens, per year.” Leaving aside the fact that the plain language of the Fourteenth Amendment controls any Congressional intent discerned 150 years later, do we really want to apply that reasoning across the board? Did the drafters of the Second Amendment really intend to allow any goober with a Master Card to purchase military-grade rifles?

      “Can’t have open borders and birthright citizenship with our welfare programs. Just doesn’t work!!” That statement has been made a lot over the years. Of course, it sounded better in the original Algonquian.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/02/2018 - 12:35 pm.

        Doubt the Algonquin had much say 80 some years ago when the welfare system started. I’m sure today the Algonquin’s agree with reasonable folks when they say open borders and citizenship loopholes can’t coexist with the welfare state. It’s simple math.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 01:14 pm.

          Doubt the Algonquian were much enthused when the first caravan of immigrants showed up in their territory in 1607. You can see what open borders did to them.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/02/2018 - 11:35 am.

      You’re right, Joe.

      And if you read the debates in the Senate on this bill, you’ll see most Senators were concerned about foreign nationals (it was Chinese at that time) propagating here and replacing our Republican form of government, and Western culture with a foreign vision.

      The author of the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard specifically wrote that the 14th Amendment:

      “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

      That is why I hope T follows through with this promise. It’s time the SCOTUS clears this mess up before it’s too late.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 12:37 pm.

        “The author of the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard specifically wrote that ‘[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.’ This is the language that was passed and, ultimately, ratified by the states.”


        “That is why I hope T follows through with this promise. It’s time the SCOTUS clears this mess up before it’s too late.” Trump is not on the Supreme Court, in case you forgot, and he cannot reverse unambiguous precedent (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)) by ukase. The only remedy is to introduce a constitutional amendment.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/02/2018 - 03:03 pm.

          Yeah, no.

          See, FTFY only works if you replace a misquote with what was actually written or said. I posted Howard’s comment verbatim. You quoted the amendment; that’s a red herring logical fallacy, not a FTFY.

          As I said lo these many comments ago, I’m confident SCOTUS will settle things favorably for those who believe America has a right, as was said during original debate, to decide who is granted citizenship and who isnt..

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 04:00 pm.

            Thank you for the instruction. In that spirit, I would suggest you look up both “red herring” and logical fallacy.” No, they are not the same thing.

            “As I said lo these many comments ago, I’m confident SCOTUS will settle things favorably for those who believe America has a right, as was said during original debate, to decide who is granted citizenship and who isnt..”

            No one doubts that any sovereign nation state has an inherent right to determine who is a citizen. The ghost of Grotius hovered over my keyboard long enough to say “Well, duh.” The fact is that the United States already decided that. I’m sorry that it is now being used to grant rights to people of whom you disapprove, but that’s just how it goes.

            Of course, we now have a somewhat pliant judiciary, so independent constitutional thinking may be out the window. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are two pro-Trump votes (hey, they owe him!). Roberts may have some lingering concern for the legitimacy of the Court, so he may not be so quick to affirm. Alito and Thomas are strict constructionists, so they may be less than enthused about veering into the fantasyland of the supposed intent behind the Amendment.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/02/2018 - 03:27 pm.

          “Trump does not have to ask SCOTUS to reverse unambiguous precedent (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), because Ark was a legal US citizen.”


          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 04:05 pm.

            1. Yes, the Supreme Court ruled that he was a legal citizen because he was born in California. The Executive Branch had taken the position that he was not a citizen, but they were wrong. It took three years of litigation for that point to be established.

            2. The Respondent was Mr. Wong, not Mr. Ark.

  9. Submitted by Steven James Beto on 11/02/2018 - 02:28 pm.

    We have no common ground with white supremacy. Whiteness does not bestow superiority onto any person. That is the function of character.

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 11/02/2018 - 03:01 pm.

    Don’t look now but those manufacturing jobs are coming back at a rate 1,000 a day. Good for America.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2018 - 04:08 pm.

      Why is Trump not campaigning on that? You would think that is something that he would kvell about non-stop. Instead, he drops hate-filled bombs about immigration, and blows anti-Semitic dog whistles.

      It’s almost as if he thinks that his electoral base really doesn’t care about the economy. Why, one might be justified in thinking that he assumes that their motivation was hate above all else.

      Why would he come to that conclusion?

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/04/2018 - 05:31 am.

        Watch a rally, Trump is running on the economy. CNN and MSNBC don’t run the coverage. Trump’s economy grows more manufacturing jobs in 2 months than Obama’s did in a year. I guess those manufacturing jobs can come back after all.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/04/2018 - 05:27 pm.

          I know the stats, however one wishes to spin them. The fact is, the economy is not what Trump is talking about. Sure, he gives some time to a little poorly organized blather about the economy, but what gets the mob up and cheering are his diatribes about immigrants and his totally lunatic notion that he can end birthright citizenship by his edict.

          I haven’t listened to one of his speeches all the way through in a long time (my experience is that it’s like listening to someone read a Scrabble board). How much time does he spend talking about jobs? How much time does he spend talking about George Soros?

        • Submitted by ian wade on 11/05/2018 - 03:16 pm.

          Actually, the economy added more jobs in EVERY year of Obama’s 2nd term than it did in Trump’s first year. During the last 21 months of Obama’s presidency, 4,477,000 new jobs were created. In his first 20 months, 4,054,000 were created under Trump. As for your 1,000 manufacturing jobs a day claim…I’m looking but haven’t found it yet.

  11. Submitted by Brian Gandt on 11/02/2018 - 03:27 pm.

    Eliminate the 2nd and 14th amendments. Deal?

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