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California’s ballot law is not federalism

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Californias ballot law is not federalism

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a provision requiring a candidate to release their tax returns in order to appear on California election ballots. This is obviously a direct attack against President Trump who has refused for four years to release his tax returns, citing that they are under audit.

Some are claiming this is California invoking limited-government federalism in which a state’s rights to govern as they see fit supersede the growing monstrosity of Washington DC’s consolidation of power. In almost every instance that reduces the power in DC and returns it to the state, city, and local governments and most importantly to the individual citizens of our nation, I’m all favor. But this isn’t one of those instances. It doesn’t pass one important litmus test of federalism for me, one that allows me to argue against sanctuary cities, state gun control laws, and other false attempts at instituting layers of government.

The litmus test is this: Does the actions of one political jurisdiction negatively affect others? In the case of sanctuary cities, the answer is clearly “yes.” By protecting criminal illegal immigrants but not confining them to the sanctuary city itself, they are imposing their own laws in ways that could negatively affect citizens in other cities.

The same holds true for California’s ballot law. Currently, there is a push for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between some states in which their electoral college votes will be allocated to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of how voters in the individual states voted. The criteria to initiate this compact is achieving approval in enough states to surpass the 270-electoral-vote threshold.

If this picks up enough steam, and right now it’s getting very close to its goal, then the California ballot law would essentially determine that only a Democrat can possibly win the presidential election in 2020. California represents a huge chunk of the popular vote, something the founders feared and the reason they instituted the electoral college in the first place. As a nation, we cannot allow supremacy of the majority to oppress the minority. This is a basic tenet of our Constitution.

There are many other arguments that can be made against the California ballot law that demonstrate it suppresses the will of the people and subverts the Constitution. The White House can make those arguments. I just want to make sure there are no calls by federalists to defend it out of principle. This is not what federalism is all about. We desperately need to take back power from DC, but an attack on the Constitution is not the way to go about doing it.

Just as states that institute oppressive laws against gun owners or cities who institute sanctuary status are not properly abiding by the tenets of federalism, so too is California injecting supremacy over others with this unconstitutional law.

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