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Our Founding Fathers would do the same

Caricature of SteveIt’s Father’s Day so I should be writing something positive about the celebration. Perhaps I am by asking what the Founding Fathers would say about Donald Trump and the effort by some Republican leaders to deny him the GOP presidential nomination?

To quote the hackneyed TV and movie expression about troubled relationships, “It’s complicated.”

I think most Americans (at least those who care about the political process) would argue that the primary voting results should be respected by delegates to both the Democrat and Republican National Convention.

My objection to the patently undemocratic Democrat Super Delegates is well known. I won’t belabor the fact that it smells of cigar-filled backroom cronyism. But is the Republican Party leadership effort to derail the de facto nominee Donald Trump any less abhorrent?

How would the leaders who forged the American Republic out of the war against England act today?

We can only speculate but I suspect they would argue that one-man one-vote should prevail. Of course, those who signed the Declaration of Independence and drafted the Constitution had a very narrow interpretation of one-man. It excluded women, minorities and anyone who didn’t own property.

That essentially left rule of the young nation in the hands of a white, male, landed aristocracy. A group that thought itself wise, privileged and entitled.

Voter eligibility has expanded dramatically in two centuries. Virtually every citizen regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or religious conviction can vote.

Yes, there still are pockets of the country where voter registration is onerous and seemingly designed to disenfranchise citizens rather than to expand the electorate. Nevertheless, the march toward greater democratic participation is unrelenting.

What will happen in Cleveland in July?  Some GOP leaders seem determined to deny Trump the nomination. Their rationale is that he would be bad for the party.

Many of us are far more worried about the nation if he is the next president. Of far less concern is the fate of the Republican Party.

If primary elections mean anything, the wishes of the voters should be reflected by the convention delegates. Trump already has earned the minimum delegates required to clinch the nomination on the first ballot—if the delegates fulfill their obligation to cast ballots according to voters’ preferences.

Let’s be clear. The GOP leadership had sufficient time and warning to see the anger among Americans and to react intelligently to the politics of anger.

At one time the number and quality of Republican presidential hopefuls was seen by some so-called experts as the highest in recent history. None of that mattered to voters and the party’s leadership failed to respond adequately.

I’m not so nostalgic or naïve as to believe that every member of the Constitutional Congress of 1787 would agree.   Undoubtedly a number of those in attendance would argue they know better than average citizens what is best for the country.

And a smaller fraction of this group would be comfortable sitting in the backrooms with Democrat and Republican insurgents. Some of our ancestors would not object to plotting either to thwart the desires of Bernie Sanders followers or to stir a revolt against Donald Trump.

After all, the Constitutional Congress was a fractious affair with lots of drama, intrigue and emotional confrontations.

I hope that just as our definition of who is an eligible voter has broadened that our maturity of a nation also has strengthened our commitment to one-man one-vote as an inviolable obligation.

Yes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should be the two major presidential nominees despite reservations from some leaders of the Republican and Democrat Parties.

I am dissatisfied with both candidates. But the voters have decided; they have winnowed the field of White House hopefuls.

On November 8, American voters will pick either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States.

The fact that we face this prospect demonstrates that at times democracy is not pretty. But it is the legacy of those who spent the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia writing the constitution that gave us our republic.

The summer of 2016 proves that sometimes we struggle with our constitutional rights and occasionally we fail. But the choice should always be We the People—not They the Party.


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