Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are two of the most outstanding “constitutional conservatives” in the Senate. They built their political careers on their intended fidelity to the Structure and the unique intent of the founding fathers. Cruz produced his constitutional conservatism the centerpiece of his 2016 marketing campaign for president, even though Lee has composed a few books on the founding period and presents himself, to the public, as a constitutional scholar instead than a mere politician.
It is appealing, then, that Lee and Cruz had been between the Republican senators most involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the Constitution and put in himself in place of work versus the will of the voters.
As The Washington Article claimed last month, Cruz labored “directly with Trump to concoct a plan that arrived nearer than widely recognized to holding him in electric power.” According to this program, Cruz would object to and delay the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6 in favor of a 10-day election audit that would give Trump-pleasant state legislatures time to overturn the result and deliver new electors to Congress.
And as CNN described previous week, Lee was in close speak to with Mark Meadows, then the White Household main of staff members, in the months, months and days before the Jan. 6 attack. Lee supported and inspired the president’s energy to overturn the election, with equally tips and political aid. “I have an supplemental strategy for the campaign,” he wrote to Meadows on Nov. 23, 2020. “Something is not correct in a number of states. I assume it could be proven or disproven conveniently with an audit (a actual physical counting of all ballots cast) in PA, WI, GA, and MI.”
Two weeks later on, Lee would explain to Meadows, “If a really smaller handful of states had been to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path.” And on Jan. 4, 2021, Lee instructed Meadows that he experienced been “calling state legislators for hours nowadays, and am going to expend hrs doing the very same tomorrow” in hopes of obtaining “something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of successful.”
Lee eventually voted to certify the success of the presidential election and had formerly told journalists, and the community, that he was dismayed by the occasions of Jan. 6. In their book masking the insurrection, “Peril,” Bob Woodward and Robert Costa report that Lee “was shocked” by the conservative authorized scholar John Eastman’s plan to hold off closing certification of the election and “had heard almost nothing about different slates of electors.”
But the fact is that Lee was with the president from the start out. His only actual objection — the only thing that gave him pause — was that Trump and his allies experienced not crossed their “T’s” or dotted their “I’s.” Which is to say that they had not accomplished the function needed to give their attempted self-coup a veneer of legality and constitutional fidelity. Or, as Lee wrote to Meadows, “I know only that this will conclusion poorly for the president except if we have the Constitution on our side.”
Cruz and Lee had been not the only “constitutional conservatives” to help Trump’s attempt to preserve himself in business right after losing the Electoral Higher education vote (to say practically nothing of the well known vote). Their participation in the plot, nonetheless, tells us one thing critical about what it in fact indicates to be a “constitutional conservative.”
The term is meant to express a principled determination to equally the Constitution and the institutions of the American republic it aided bring into getting. But if Cruz, Lee and other “constitutional conservatives” have any commitment to the Structure, it is only to the letter of the doc, not its spirit.
The spirit of the Structure, of the Philadelphia Convention and everything that followed, is embodied in self-governing administration. The place of the deliberation and experimentation of the founding second was to find some floor on which the American persons, on the other hand narrowly defined, could reside out the principles of the Innovative War they experienced just fought and pursue their popular pursuits.
No matter what the details of the governing constitution, the vital thought was that this authorities would be a single that, as James Madison wrote, “derives all its powers right or indirectly from the wonderful system of the people.”
The persons have, for now, agreed to elect the president by means of a method that provides a fantastic offer of discretion to a wide array of officials, some elected, some appointed, but all doing the job with reputable authority. In the major, they employed that authority to allow for as a lot of people today to vote as doable, in accordance with our rules and our norms.
If, under individuals situations, Donald Trump experienced received the 2020 presidential election, neither Cruz nor Lee nor anybody else in the Republican Bash would have disputed the final result or contested the system. It would have been a shining case in point of the energy of our republic.
But he did not acquire, and so our “constitutional conservatives” fought to undermine and overturn our institutions so that just one man would not have to experience the suffering of defeat. Which receives to the truth of what that “constitutional conservatism” seriously looks to be: not a principled try — however flawed in conception — to dwell up to the values of the founding, but a slim mask for the will to electrical power.
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