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Electionocracy

May 21st, 2013 // 12:22 pm @

Vote 12345 ElectionocracyWe now live an Electionocracy. This means that the elections never end.

Once a person is elected to office, especially at the national level, he or she doesn’t get to stop campaigning and focus on governing.

Instead, everyone in office is required to keep campaigning even as they serve.

One the one hand, this is a negative development in a democratic republic because it keeps election politics always in the limelight.

The president is seldom seen as the nation’s chief executive, for example, but as the head of the Democratic or Republican Party.

Thus, even as he tries to govern and lead, he is forced to keep one eye constantly on politics.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this keeps more of the American people involved and paying attention to the actions of government.

Also, it keeps the executive branch from overextending even more than it already does—because it has to put a lot of resources into politics.

This is actually a positive in a nation where the biggest problem is massive government.

With all that said, people are already lining up to influence the midterm elections of 2014 and even the presidential election of 2016.

Here are a few tidbits:

  • Many pundits feel that the IRS scandal of targeting conservative groups will have more negative impact on the Democrats in the 2014 midterm election than anything else since the Obama Administration took office. It may serve as the Democrat’s Achilles heel.

 

  • Hillary Clinton is far ahead in polls of possible Democratic candidates, but she is only a few points ahead of some top potential Republican challengers. In contrast, the leading Democratic candidate has been far ahead at this point in recent elections.

 

  • In early fundraising, Marco Rubio is ahead of Rand Paul. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are also strong in the polls, but for now Rubio seems to have an edge.

But the biggest shocker in all this is that the central issue of the 2014 and especially 2016 elections will probably be Obamacare.

This is surprising to many progressives, who felt that this issue was over when it passed in 2010, then when the Supreme Court upheld it in 2012, and later once President Obama was reelected.

But this issue just won’t go away.

Even though Barack Obama was and is personally popular, his health care policy remains highly unpopular with many Americans.

This disapproval is increasing with the Benghazi, IRS, AP and other scandals. Each time a few more people lose trust in government, they tend to increasingly dislike Obamacare.

So, yes, we now live in what could easily be described as an Electionocracy, and things will probably only heat up in the coming months.

Both parties will blame each other for most of America’s ills, and the number of crises will likely increase.

That’s our current direction, and nothing seems poised to bring real solutions any time soon.

In truth, the future of America is ultimately up to the actions and choices of regular Americans more than those of Washington.

But who we elect will have a drastic influence on the nation’s direction in the years just ahead.

If you want to know how elections are going to turn out, keep a close eye on how most Americans feel about Obamacare—especially as it is further implemented in the next three years.

Any significant changes in approval or disapproval of Obamacare will signal the trajectory of the next two elections.

In an Electionocracy, it appears that one or a few top issues will determine who leads our nation.

 

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odemille 133x195 custom ElectionocracyOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Current Events &Featured &Government &Politics

The Latest Filibuster

March 11th, 2013 // 1:11 pm @

A Giant Step for Mankind…

 

Rand Paul filibuster 300x224 The Latest FilibusterOkay, the subtitle of this article is a little overblown, but I heard something that I found just plain fascinating the other day.

In fact, it is something I haven’t heard for a long time.

I was researching in a university library, sitting at a table looking for data in a stack of scholarly journals, when I heard the most unlikely thing in such a place.

“Rand Paul’s filibuster is so cool,” a girl’s voice said. My mind was focused on tables of World Bank summaries of currency values in industrial nations, and there were a lot of voices as students walked past and talked.

Most of them talked about classes, romances or roommates, and I tuned out to their words as I researched.

But my ears perked up and my mind tuned in when I heard these words.

I looked up to see a college girl, probably late teens or early twenties walking with three friends. The others nodded in response to her words.

“Really?” I thought, “Somebody thinks a national Republican figure is cool?” When I’ve heard such words before, it was always reserved to President Obama.

I mean, Ronald Reagan gets his share of praise from the older crowd, but the college students I’ve overheard recently saying a politician is cool have all mentioned either Obama or Ron Paul.

But a Republican who really could win the nomination, this was something different.

As a writer, I like to read and research in libraries (‘cause that’s where the books are, to paraphrase Willy Horton), restaurants and other public areas.

People walk by talking about things, and often they say something that helps an author’s thought process.

I went back to my research, and I forgot about the incident until I went to lunch.

As I balanced my attention between a salad and a copies of the World Bank tables, I was shocked to hear a girl from the next table say, “Did you see the filibuster yesterday? Rand Paul is so cool.”

I turned my head, expecting to see the same group of students, but to my surprise a whole different group sat there nodding.

What has happened?

Is it possible that Republicans will come up with a cool candidate in 2016?

Maybe.

It’s a long way off, to be sure.

But the hippest candidate always wins, or at least has in every election since the technicolor media age began in earnest around 1980.

Howard Dean once said that the way to know who won a presidential debate is to turn off the sound and just watch their body language.

On an even bigger scale, just turn off the television and internet and ask college-age students which candidate is really cool.

Jeb Bush suggested recently that he might run, Time magazine called potential candidate Marco Rubio the Savior of the Republican party.

Or did it just ask us if Rubio might redeem a party that can’t seem to get the Latino vote vital to winning the White House.

The whole idea of electing a cool president is frustrating for many on the Right, who see this as shallow popularity contesting in what should be one of the most serious votes anyone makes in an election year.

Still, the cool test wins every time, whether or not it should.

One thing is for sure.

Hillary Clinton is considered way cool, so if Republicans have any desire to take back the presidency in 2016 they need to meet a high standard.

More Mr. Smith Goes to Washington filibusters may be ahead, but Senator Paul’s filibuster seems to have caught many young people’s attention because it was so sincere.

That’s hard to duplicate, but for now Rand Paul’s popularity in the college crowd is worth watching.

 

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odemille 133x195 custom The Latest FilibusterOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Featured &Government &Leadership &Politics

Is China Really a Threat?

March 11th, 2013 // 1:01 pm @

is china buying the world 196x300 Is China Really a Threat?I try to read most new books on China, because I think the growth of China on the world stage will continue for some time and eventually conflict with America’s interests.

Whether the conflict turns to cooperation or serious difficulty remains to be seen, but keeping abreast of what is happening in China is essential for today’s leaders.

A new book, Is China Buying the World? by Peter Nolan, is an interesting addition to the field and adds several key ideas to the dialogue.

First, it makes the case that no, China is not buying the world any more than Japan bought it in the 1980s (despite widespread fears that this was occurring).

Second, however, China is certainly growing economically and in world influence.

Chinese firms have purchased ownership in a number of companies around the advanced world, as well as tying up access to a lot of natural resources in the developing world.

And numerous multi-national companies have heavily invested in China.

This growth will likely continue, and even expand.

Third, China’s major challenge is restricted access to oil and energy.

As it grows, its thirst for energy will continue to increase and drive its international business expansion.

Fourth, China wants to be a much bigger player on the world scene, and it is following a specific strategy for global influence.

This strategy includes major investments in two key sectors of the world economy, banking and the aerospace industry.

Chinese leaders hope that together, these things—increased investment in the developing world, increased ownership of international resources especially oil, growing global investment in China, increased ownership in multi-national companies, major growth of Chinese influence in the banking and aerospace sectors—will significantly strengthen China’s world role.

Fifth, advances in the aerospace industry are significant because of the close ties between military and business technologies and projects.

As China increases its role in this endeavor, along with banking, it becomes more powerful economically, technologically and, if it chooses, militarily.

This book is a detailed and important read for anyone who cares about the future of the big powers in world relations.

More to the point, more people need to read and think more about the specific issues currently at play in China’s growth.

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odemille 133x195 custom Is China Really a Threat?Oliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Book Reviews &Business &Current Events &Economics &Featured &Foreign Affairs

China v. Japan

March 1st, 2013 // 10:18 am @

Interesting commentary with visuals:

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Category : Blog &Current Events &Economics &Foreign Affairs

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

February 13th, 2013 // 4:04 pm @

biger isnt always better 300x167 Bigger Isn’t Always BetterIn the push for more gun control and changes to our national immigration policy, a few very important things have been mostly left out of the news in recent weeks.

They have been mentioned, yes, but not emphasized.

And these items deserve to be seriously considered by all Americans.

  • First, economic figures came out last week showing that the U.S. economy actually shrank during the last quarter of 2012—with negative growth in the U.S. GDP. The Administration waived this off as hardly newsworthy, a mere blip in many months of growth, but for those who closely watch the economy this is a serious concern. Recession hurts us all.

 

  • Second, a poll last week showed that 53% of American citizens consider the federal government a threat in their lives.[i] This is very different from an approval rating. In fact, this is extreme. A majority of Americans now see Washington as a threat. This is a big deal, because a nation that doesn’t trust its government is going to become increasingly dysfunctional—and solutions are going to be more difficult in such an environment.

 

  • Third, a new article argues that Congress and some federal Executive-Branch agencies are prone to political corruption[ii]—especially from well-funded special interest groups. The article concluded with concern that it is probably only wishful thinking to hope we can ever return to being governed according to clear, known, accepted principles instead of bureaucratic complexities. Government now is just too big.

 

  • Fourth, as a corollary of item three, the complexity brought on by the sheer size of the federal apparatus has created the same level of bureaucratic technicality at the state and many local levels of government. Even our towns, cities and counties now tend to operate in the complicated style of federal agencies, where simplicity is suspect and byzantine rules apply to things that should be easy and straightforward. Locales are often funded from Washington and find that their otherwise uncomplicated systems must be complex in order to interface with federal offices and programs. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 76th in free economic burdens on business growth.

 

  • Fifth, many modern governments are now in the business of creating new “rights,” telling people that they need these “rights,” and then finding that the government can’t afford to fund these “rights.”[iii] This causes government to grow even more, in the desperate attempt to fund newly-established “rights” by consistently increasing taxes. Note that such “rights” aren’t inalienable, but rather established by governments. Among these “rights” are health care, unemployment income, and the pursuit of money for a growing number of consumer wants.

 

  • Sixth, the U.S. infrastructure of roads, bridges, electric grids and drinking-water systems will cost $2 trillion to bring up to first-world standards.[iv] This at a time the government can hardly afford its current liabilities.

In short, government policies are slowing or reversing our economic growth, the people don’t trust their government, the government just keeps growing and growing, costs are increasing, and government is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage at all levels.

This same bundle of policies—along with massive involvement in foreign wars—brought down many of the empires of history, including the Roman, Ottoman and British.

Perhaps the six items outlined above haven’t led the news cycle simply because they aren’t really anything new.

Most regular Americans probably already knew about these trends—at least at a gut level—before they were officially announced.

Still, these are in many ways the big news of 2013.

This is the new environment in which we live, and all of these trends are making freedom less likely to flourish in the months, years and decade ahead.

Government is simply too big right now, and as it continues to increase in size many more such problems will naturally arise.

 


[i] See discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, February 3, 2013.

[ii] Richard A. Epstein, “The Perilous Position of the Rule of Law and the Administrative State,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Winter 2013, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 5-19.

[iii] See, for example, ibid, pp. 10-12.

[iv] See Fareed Zakaria, “Can America Be Fixed?” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2013, p. 28.

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odemille 133x195 custom Bigger Isn’t Always BetterOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Current Events &Economics &Featured &Politics

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