Next year’s election will give America a new president for the first
time since 1993. Some conservatives and religious activists are so
frustrated with Clinton and Congress, however, that they have threatened
to boycott the 2000 election. That would be a huge mistake.
Let me try to put things into perspective. David S. Broder of The
Washington Post says that “The 2000 election has the potential to
determine the direction of all three branches of the national
government” for the next decade. As strong as David’s statement is, it
doesn’t capture how important the 2000 election will be. Put simply, the
2000 election will be the most important election in our lifetime.
Once every twenty years, our presidential election coincides with the
census. The last time this happened, Americans replaced Jimmy Carter
with Ronald Reagan. In 1960, JFK barely defeated Richard Nixon. Have I
gotten your attention yet? Let me throw a little more wood on the fire.
Next year, eleven states will elect a new governor. In seven states,
a change in six seats would shift control of their House from one party
to the other. In ten other states, a change in three seats would shift
control of their Senate from one party to the other. If that isn’t
enough, in six other states, control of both houses is up for grabs.
Political control of state legislatures is always important because
they make laws and impose taxes. However, next year is special. At the
beginning of every new decade, each state must use the new census data
to draw new district boundaries for their U.S. Congress members and
state legislators. These boundaries stay in place for the next ten
Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives rests on a
slim, six-seat margin. When our next crop of state legislators draws the
lines for new congressional districts, they will decide whether the
Republicans or the Democrats control the United States Congress. This is
because the drawing of congressional districts is a very political
process. The party that controls a state’s legislature will, if
possible, make sure that the new congressional district boundary lines
help their friends get elected or stay in office.
The next president will have his or her plate full, to be sure.
However, few decisions will have more impact than the possibility that
our next president may have three or more United States Supreme Court
Justice vacancies to fill during his or her first term. During Clinton’s
two terms, one vote decided several crucial Supreme Court decisions.
These included such minor issues as racial preferences, the right of
death row inmates to prolong their life through endless litigation,
direct or indirect aid to students who go to religious schools and
Republican Presidents appointed Chief Justice William Rehnquist (75),
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens (80) and Associate Justice Sandra
Day O’Connor (70). If they retire, the Supreme Court appointments that
our next president makes will determine the judicial philosophy of the
Supreme Court for the next two decades. Do you care about the political
philosophy of those who are the guardians of our constitution? I do.
Finally, our next president must face such issues as:
- What policies will best support the continued expansion of our
- What policies will help poor whites, blacks, Latinos and Native
Americans improve their economic circumstances?
- How can we reduce federal taxes so that parents can spend more time
with their kids?
- What can the federal government do to encourage companies to adopt
parent and family-friendly work policies?
- What can the federal government do so that taxpayers can use their tax
dollars to educate their children in private and religious schools?
- What role should the federal government play regarding abortion and
parental notification and consent?
- How do we keep the federal government from setting education standards
for local schools?
- What will America do if Communist China attacks Taiwan or North Korea
attacks South Korea?
- How do we stop illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into America?
- What do we do about the growing instability of Russia, Mexico, Jamaica
- How do we free Cuba from Castro’s control?
- How do we make sure that the federal government does not use the
Internet to violate our privacy rights?
These are momentous issues, but they only scratch the surface. Our
next president will also appoint every U.S. Attorney, the entire
cabinet, every ambassador, all of our senior military leaders and …
well, you get the picture.
To boycott the next election would be the most irresponsible thing
that any American could do. Lord knows that we have seen what happens
when we leave politics to the professional politicians.
Everything has a cost and one price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
If you love America, love your family and care about the future, get
involved in the politics of freedom today. Tomorrow may be too late.