A time to plant… a time to build

This article originally appeared on The New Americana but has been transferred here for posterity.

For the first time in 10 years, Republicans will take control of both the legislative and executive branches. Republican candidates running for president, senate, and congress made specific promises to voters. While the president-elect’s mandate is open to question, Senate and House Republicans have a firm mandate to repeal Obamacare.

Will they repeal Obamacare? Will the president sign repeal? Will the president revoke deferred action for illegal aliens? Will the Citizenship and Immigration Service be freed to do their job and enforce current immigration law? Will the border be secured and eVerify enforced? Will a conservative justice be appointed to the Supreme Court? What about other promises to withdraw from alliances, withdraw from trade deals, implement tariffs, cede part of our spheres of influence to Russia, create new entitlements, and implement a new federal employer mandate?

The last time they controlled both the Congress and the White House, Republicans created a massive new entitlement program, ran up the national debt, failed to secure the border, and tried to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

Regardless of the election results, the nature of the GOP is unchanged. Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Paul Ryan are still the leaders in Congress. Their second-in-commands are still Senator John Cornyn and Representative Kevin McCarthy. For the moment, Reince Priebus is still the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman. The thugs who browbeat and strong-armed delegates to change their votes at the RNC Convention are almost certainly still employed by the RNC. With the possible exception of Ryan, all of them are hostile to conservatives and conservative policy.

Republicans are in control, but conservatism is more deeply in the wilderness. Our country and our liberty remain in peril. The GOP platform, even if implemented, will do little if anything to lessen the hazards.

Among all the threats we face — radical Islam, national debt, the rule of law, protection of civil liberties, etc. — the greatest is arguably the centralization of our federal government. Unlimited power, concentrated in the hands of a small group of elites, fuels corruption, increases deficit spending, undermines the rule of law, cripples our ability to fight foreign adversaries, and diminishes our ability to exercise our rights. The growing imbalance of power between state governments and the federal government, and among the branches of the federal government, will continue unabated. Republicans don’t see it, don’t care, or plan to use the ever-increasing national power to further their personal agendas.

The antidote our moribund system needs is balanced federalism. Federalism, in the proper “dosage,” will restore equilibrium between the state and federal government, revoke power from unelected bureaucrats, establish accountability between elected officials and their constituents, and compel the federal government to operate within their means. As the scope and power of the federal government is reigned in, the incentives for corruption will wither. Federalism, whether advanced through constitutional reform or electoral success, is essential to our liberty and prosperity.

Leaders within the GOP disagree. They see no crisis and they look forward to using the same centralized power for their own purposes that Democrats used under Obama. Now they are in charge, the enthusiasm for a convention for proposing amendments will wane. The passion that fueled insurgent conservative campaigns will be sapped by their triumph. The “Tea Party” is already defunct. Flush with success at the ballot box, Republicans will return to their old ways.

Their success will be fleeting. Between 57% and 65% of the electorate consider the Republican president-elect untrustworthy. Over 60% of Americans have an unfavorable view of him and some surveys show that number as high as 70%. Multiple surveys show voters cast ballots against Clinton, not for him. She lost; he won by default with only 48% of the popular vote. Based on exit polls, voters under age 40 also lost this election. They were two to three times more likely to vote for a third party than other age groups, and a clear majority voted for Clinton. While an impressive surprise win, the 2016 presidential election was not a realignment or philosophical shift; it was an anomaly.

No longer welcome in a Republican Party that embraces corporate bailouts, curtailing civil liberties, expanding welfare entitlements, promotes a mercantilist trade policy, and tolerates a small group of nativist socialists, conservatives need a new political vehicle more urgently than ever.

Organizing as a party lets us apply greater pressure. Our new party adds a conservative voice to the public debate and permits us to advocate conservative policies while differentiating ourselves, and our philosophy, from the negative images surrounding Republican leadership.

More importantly, we will be the most prominent — and possibly the only — champions of balanced federalism. Certainly, we will be the only party sincere about advocating equitable federalism.

We are still citizens and can apply pressure to make Congress and the new Administration fulfill their promises. When politicians fulfill good promises, we will applaud their achievement. When they push ill-advised policies, we need to oppose them. When they use smoke and mirrors to further corruption, we are obliged to call them out. When they fail, we have to be ready to accept the disillusioned and deceived conservatives into our party, the Federalist Party.

This is a time to plant…a time to build, to be ready when our opportunity arrives. Building a party is a massive task involving legal paperwork, building a network, gathering petitions, applying for ballot access, raising funds, making presentations, and recruiting candidates willing to commit to a campaign and take the risks of being in the ring. Now is the time the Federalist Party must prepare.