Vol. 54, No. 6

In this edition

This edition of the Ripon Forum features the results of a post-election survey of the nation’s electorate, which finds that Americans still want their leaders in Washington to work together.

A Patriotic, Pro-Worker Republican Party Is Emerging

November’s historic turnout suggests the political coalitions that constitute our two-party system are once again shifting.

The Ghosts of Budgets Past, Present & Future

Ebenezer Scrooge would have certainly asserted of Congress’ budget process: “it is dead, dead as a door-nail.” In the spirit of the season, it is worth examining why the process now lies with old Marley in the graveyard.

Why Macomb Stayed Red

Trump’s successes in Macomb during the last two cycles may signal a longer-term partisan change in the County.

Why Northampton Turned Blue

Trump’s inability to repeat in Northampton County was undoubtedly affected by intense dissatisfaction with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Voters will be heading into 2021 frustrated about the political environment and wary that either political party or its leaders has all the answers facing the country.


Meet 10 Members of the GOP Freedom Force Who Knocked Off Incumbent Democrats

The New Guard: Stephanie Bice (OK-5)

“Hopefully we’ll see, now that the election is over, some coming together and trying to actually govern again.”

The New Guard: Michelle Fischbach (MN-7)

“Families across western Minnesota simply want a government that protects our communities and spends taxpayer dollars responsibly.”

The New Guard: Carlos Gimenez (FL-26)

“This country needs to start to work together. We have threats from outside and inside, and for us to keep fighting makes no sense whatsoever.”

The New Guard: Yvette Herrell (NM-2)

“For far too long, we’ve seen division in Washington, and the losers are the people, because our values are not being represented.”

The New Guard: Ashley Hinson (IA-1)

“The partisan rhetoric – the infighting – is unacceptable to me and I know it’s unacceptable to the voters in Iowa’s first district.”

The New Guard: Young Kim (CA-39)

“For the longest time, the Republican Party has been the party of opportunities, and I’m an example of that.”

The New Guard: Nancy Mace (SC-1)

“It is time to stop rebuilding the world and start rebuilding America.”

The New Guard: Burgess Owens (UT-4)

“Now, more than ever, we need leaders that will stand for their principles and won’t compromise their values for political opportunities.”

The New Guard: Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27)

“I vow that I will represent the spirit that lives in this district – the ultimate melting pot.”

The New Guard: Michelle Steel (CA-48)

“This vote showed that minorities who may look or speak differently than most not only have a place in this Republican Party but can be elected to the United States Congress.”

Why We Need Federal Election Standards

Most advanced democracies, even federal ones, have a national agency that guarantees standard voting registration processes that make it straightforward to vote.

States Should Set Their Own Election Rules to Protect Liberty

Any national federal standard — whether it be voter ID, absentee ballot availability, or even voter qualifications — would be enforced with a decidedly Democratic Party bias.

Ripon Profile of Tom Emmer

Tom Emmer discusses the outcome of this past election, and how Republicans can take back the House in 2022.

States Should Set Their Own Election Rules to Protect Liberty

The Founders of the United States distrusted centralized power, and the election of 2020 shows just how brilliant they were. Americans don’t hold one national election. Instead they hold 50 mini state elections, where each state is empowered by the Constitution to govern their own affairs by setting the rules of their own elections.

The Founders knew that central control and national rules were a threat to liberty. I agree because I worked as an attorney at the Department of Justice Voting Section and got to know the people who would be managing national election standards – if we had them.

Make no mistake: any national federal standard — whether it be voter ID, absentee ballot availability, or even voter qualifications — would be enforced with a decidedly Democratic Party bias. Even during the Trump administration, a presidency built on “draining the swamp,” the swamp thrived. The entire culture of Washington D.C. is built to lean left. The attorneys and staff at the Justice Department or any federal agency, if they had the power to enforce national election procedure standards, would enforce them to help Democrats.

Any national federal standard — whether it be voter ID, absentee ballot availability, or even voter qualifications — would be enforced with a decidedly Democratic Party bias.

How do I know this? Because I watched it happening live over those areas where there were national standards. For example, the National Voter Registration Act mandated national standards for voter registration and cleaning rolls. Those guardians of national standards at the Justice Department in 2009 decided to just not enforce the law regarding keeping rolls clean.

They didn’t like the national standards requiring reasonable list maintenance practices, so they decided not to enforce that law.

At the same time, they were eager to enforce the part of the National Voter Registration Act to force states to register voters at welfare offices and even methadone clinics, the latter being part of a consent decree with Rhode Island.

Washington is a one-way ratchet. When Washington has power over the election process, the left wins, period. There are no exceptions.

We already have national standards for election day. Passed in 1845, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is election day. Yet now, that national standard is ignored with some states engaging in a more than a month of early voting, a Democratic Party priority. In 2020, we saw Pennsylvania accepting ballots in the mail after the election for days, even if they had no postmark.

Election day is now election months. That national standard for election day is flatly ignored.

We also have a national standard for a federal voting form. When anyone fills out this form, they must be registered to vote under federal law. While the form has a question about citizenship, non-citizens routinely fill out the form either by mistake or intentionally. Those vaunted national standards, however, prevent states from verifying citizenship. Congress made sure of that. Local election officials have to take the federal national form at face value and accept it.

When Washington has power over election process, the left wins, period.  There are not exceptions.

Once again, a “national standard” ends up benefiting those who benefit from aliens voting in American elections.

Here’s the other dirty secret advocates of “national standards” don’t understand. There are dozens of well-funded groups like the ACLU, Common Cause, and the League of Women voters who are hyper-funded to enforce national standards they like and block national standards they don’t like. These third parties have an army of litigators to bend and twist national standards to their ideological aims. The right has a tiny fraction of the resources to oppose them. And in the end, national standards again become a one-way ratchet.

States are sovereign over their own affairs and can adapt election systems to their own sensibilities. In Maine, they roll voting machines into the prisons. In other states, a felony conviction means a lifetime ban on voting. That’s how the system was designed to work.

The Founders wanted decentralized elections because decentralized control promotes liberty. No single malevolent actor can influence the outcome of an election. The Electoral College is a decentralized body that gives power to state legislatures ultimately to name electors. This is because we are a union of states, not a kingdom. Decentralized control means power is diffused and citizens of each state are closer to the process of elections. I have worked with the people who would exercise power over national election standards, and I promise you don’t want them in charge of anything.

J. Christian Adams served in the Justice Department Voting Section attorney, is a New York Times bestselling author, Commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights, and President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation.