Op Ed: No Federalism, No Republicans

  • Friday, February 28, 2014

Democrats have successfully painted social issues as top priorities in past national elections. In fact, they have been so successful that Americans tend to polarize and gravitate towards candidates that are decidedly “Pro-Life or Pro Choice and Gay Marriage or No Gay Marriage.” It’s amazing that a candidate can be classified, and even more amazing that a voter can analyze a candidate by asking these two simple social issue questions. As important as these issues are to the individual, I would contend that experience, domestic affairs, foreign affairs, monetary policy views, and constitutional interpretations, should, in fact, be the deciding factors in choosing a national candidate. Many Americans don’t understand, or don’t desire to understand the intricacies of the complicated deciding factors. It’s much simpler to understand that a candidate supports gay marriage, and therefore, “I shouldn’t vote for him;” rather than understanding the candidate’s perspective on the 10th Amendment. And the Democrats have done a fantastic job in capitalizing on this understanding of the American voter.

If we accept the premise that many Americans, when given the choice, like to keep it simple, Republicans need to get proactive about nullifying the social debates at the national level. I would argue that social issues only belong as a debatable issue at the state level. There’s no reason why our presidential candidates, or congressional candidates need to engage in social issue debates. Those are issues that should be left entirely to the states, and for good reason. Too often, Republicans sit back and watch as the balance of power shifts from the state to the federal government, and a national debate on social issues is only one of the symptoms of this problem. One might ask, why is the shifting of power a problem? The answer lies in the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Federalism is enshrined and enumerated in the 10th Amendment as the “keeper of the power.” Our founders clearly desired to see the balance of the power in the hands of the states, rather than in the hands of the Federal government. But hundreds of years of constitutional erosion, money and power has

created a monster that was never envisioned by the framers. The unintended consequence is eventual imbalance or inequality of the parties that constitute the

American political system.

I believe that we are a nation of fiscal conservatives believing in a strong military and defense, and that social issues divide the national elections unnecessarily. In other words, if we take the social issues out of play at the national level, I believe that Republicans will decidedly win the national elections. But the Federal government has successfully bribed its way into having a sovereign hold upon social issues. When states accept federal funds, strings are almost always attached. Every string represents the literal loss of states’

sovereignty, and with the loss of state sovereignty, states must relinquish things like social issues to the Federal overseers.

The Democrat party is clearly the beneficiary of such bribery and constitutional erosion. They have successfully demonized Republicans for as long as the social issues have been important to the national elections. They’ve successfully avoided delving into the complicated minutia of policy, in exchange for simplicity of emotion. And it’s working. Unfortunately, the damage is going to be difficult to fix. But we must get started. We must consider refusing certain federal funds, such as “Race to the Top,” and “Medicaid Expansion” funds. “Race to the Top” funds gave us Common Core Standards, which many conservatives consider to be the worst case of liberal indoctrination in the last 75 years. Social liberal indoctrination can be found throughout the Common Core Standards; yet, our state is struggling with how to eliminate the standards because of our acceptance of the funds. Medicaid Expansion, if the state were to ever accept such expansion, would give our citizens more dependency and certainly less freedoms. Once accepted, the state would be on the hook for a growing dependency on Medicaid that we clearly cannot afford without tax increases and provider cuts. Each and every time we allow the expenditure of federal dollars in this state, we sell our freedoms to the federal government. While it’s true that certain expenditures are necessary, ie., interstate commerce; many expenditures are unintended Trojan horses. Denying those

expenditures is not an easy thing to do. Republicans who dare to question federal expenditures are often called racist, bigot, homophobes; but I contend that the loss of elections and the eventual loss of freedoms should be the Republicans’ top priorities. As long as we continue to accept those federal funds, Federalism is diminished, and so is the opportunity to nullify the social issues that divide the national elections.

Rep. Stephen Goldfinch lives and works in Murrells Inlet, SC. He represents portions of Georgetown and Charleston counties.


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