The following was published on June 18th, 2016 on the Constitution Party of Idaho’s website:
The oft heard refrain of “Term limits!” is chanted every so often, as if it were the elixir that will do the trick. Unfortunately, that concoction does not address the real issue. All it does is put the electorate to sleep. The issue is citizen participation, or lack thereof, in self governance.
Fixing government (making it more accountable, more efficient and more representative) is supposed to be the prime purpose of our state political party. But no government can be fixed if the people are indifferent. Term limits, an artificial gadgetry at best, are more or less like “parenting” via Ritalin and a TV screen. Term limits will not correct the underlying problem of apathy.
CP-Idaho just completed two 2016 Idaho primaries–the first time in the history of the Constitution Party that an actual competitive presidential primary has taken place, and also the first time in the Constitution Party’s history that a competitive U.S. Senate primary took place.
Despite record breaking territory, our own registered voter participation was mediocre–21.3% of registered CP-Idahoans turned out for the March 2016 presidential primary; but only 9.5% of registered CP-Idaho voters turned out for the U.S. Senate primary in May 2016.
Worse, this is only a microcosm of the overall problem. We’re all part of it. Take the 2016 November General Candidate List just compiled by the Idaho Secretary of State elections Office, as of June 16th, 2016.
We tallied up uncontested Idaho Legislature offices for 2016, and put them into a chart, to show the extent of at-large apathy. The results, if we are to keep our republic as Dr. Benjamin Franklin noted upon the Constitution’s creation in September 1787, do not look promising.
Some readers may need reminding–Idaho’s Legislature is comprised of 35 Districts. Each District has one State Senator and two State Representatives (Position A and Position B). Thus, the Gem State is supervised by 35 State Senators and 70 State Representatives…the elective cadre.
The math of uncontested Legislative races in Idaho in 2016 is not good. In fact, it is damning. It is not possible to operate a state as a democratic republic when no competitive ballot exists over a substantial portion of the Idaho Legislature.
Twelve Republican and two Democrat State Senators can pop the champagne, and go on lengthy vacation in the South Pacific, without even bothering with the general election. So too can 21 Republican and 4 Democrat State Representatives.
Complacent begets compliance. Compliance begets complicity. And complicity begets culpability.
Citizens are sleeping upon their rights, which is difficult to determine given all the atrocious din of snored and mumbled complaints. But they are stone cold asleep. Those expecting some surge of change in 2016…will doubtless go begging for supper like Old Dan Tucker.
Lack of interest by the Idaho public at large in competing for oversight of our state government, when placed on a percentage basis of each respective chamber of the State Legislature, is a rude awakening for those who constantly bemoan (but do little else) how the public pie is sliced. And the longer they sleep, the more pie is consumed.
It will not be too much longer, based on the numbers, until the majority of the Idaho Senate is no longer an elective body. Sieg Heil, and all that. Still, we are approaching the point where incumbents will not even have to be troubled by the bothersome inconvenience of election. Incumbents will soon have the whole thing. A simple declaration of candidacy will suffice…because no one else will.
Term limits? Baah! That has nothing to do with this. The much ballyhooed “Year of the Angry Electorate” is only just so much snoring in 2016…it is sound and fury signifying nothing but an empty pie plate, and perhaps some missing silver.
To borrow from Patrick Henry’s June 4th, 1788 Anti-Federalist speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention…”Our Legislature will indeed be a ludicrous spectacle–marching in solemn farcical procession, exhibiting a mournful proof of the lost liberty of their country.”