One of the first things people ask when considering joining the Federalist Party is either, “What is your platform?” or “What are your principles?” It surprises many when they hear that our core principles are broken down into two primaries and a single secondary philosophy. This is politics, after all, so parties are supposed to take a stand for dozens, even hundreds of issues, right? Yes and no.
Before we get to the “yes,” let’s discuss the “no.” We do not, as a party, believe in having a huge platform or a “top 10 list” of principles. It’s not that we aren’t concerned about a wide array of challenges facing our nation. We keep it simple because we realize that nearly every problem that Americans face can be broken down into one of two primary categories.
We paraphrased Matthew 22:40 because the parallels are clear. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Just as the law and the prophets could be held to account through two overarching Biblical concepts, so too can the Federalist Party’s platforms find root in our two core principles.
The first is something that often confuses people when they hear our party’s name and compare it (on the surface) to the original Federalist Party of the 18th century. We believe wholeheartedly in reversing the unconstitutional expansion of budgets, bureaucracy, and powers held in Washington DC. It’s a misconception that the original Federalist Party wanted a federal government that reigned over the states. What the founders envisioned and detailed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a government structure that allowed the states and national governments to have checks and balances against the other. Their opposition at the time, ironically called the Democratic-Republicans, wanted the states to hold nearly all of the power. They wanted a weak national government, so the Federalists pushed for a stronger national government by comparison in order to achieve the balance they desired.
Starting with the expansion of the modern conservative movement in the 1950s and highlighted by Richard Nixon’s and Ronald Reagan’s push for “new Federalism,” the concept of balance in government demanded that Federalism work towards the same goals from the opposite direction. The bloating of Washington DC is the new opposition to Federalism and is manifested (irony strikes again) in the Democratic and Republican two-party system. Today’s Federalist Party wants to achieve the same equilibrium that our namesake wanted. Our modern challenge forces us to approach it from the other side of the fence.
Defense of individual freedoms is the other core principle of the party. Over the past six decades, we’ve seen liberal interpretations of Constitutional rights lead us in a direction that subdues or even reverses the freedoms Americans cherish. Our unalienable rights are under attack. This comes in many forms from obtuse regulations restraining us from prosperity to devastating tax burdens forcing multiple-income families to require state support. They want to tell us how to run our businesses. They want to make it more difficult to protect our families. They want to make it easier for lives to be taken.
This leads us to the “secondary” principle the party holds. Life is sacred. That’s not a statement from a religious perspective. The right to live is conspicuously the first unalienable right listed in the Declaration of Independence for a reason. As a party, we have separated out this singular issue as a principle because it’s too important to simply place as a plank on our platforms.
Now, let’s go into more detail about how we will handle our platforms. Just as we believe the national government should only be a guide and last line of defense for the people with the states making the majority of decisions as described in the 10th Amendment, so too do we believe the states should be in control of their own destiny in regards to the Federalist Party platforms. Life, freedom, and reining in government overreach are principles that every state representation of the Federalist Party must hold, but regarding every individual issue, the party will leave it to the states to decide. This is a drastic departure from the infrastructure most parties utilize. Instead of dictating from top to bottom what the party believes, we are keeping a basic framework for the individual states to follow as they build platforms that represent their voters.
What works in Alabama won’t necessarily work in California. Things that affect people in Michigan are different from things that affect people in Texas. The top concerns of Oklahomans are different from the top concerns of Floridians.
Until the nation tackles the fundamental problems of bloated federal government and dwindling personal freedoms, individual solutions can only be temporary band aids. We are building a foundation of strength to promote this idea across the nation. This is why the Federalist Party must succeed. It will be business as usual in DC until they are made to care about real solutions.