From: “Yesterday and Today Promises Troubled Bright Futures”
by Leo J. Shapiro
Thomas Jefferson gave voice to the intentions of the nation’s founders by writing the Declaration of Independence which denied that the King of England ruled by Divine Right.
Instead, it asserted that because all men are created equal the governments they institute to protect their unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness derive their power from the consent of the people.
The power of a government that derives its power from the willing consent of the governed was witnessed when a rag-tag army of willing civilians, fighting as an insurgency led by General Washington, won freedom for the United States.
The Thirteen British Colonies defeated the highly disciplined, bureaucratically organized English army and their Hessian mercenaries led by a King who, claiming to rule by Divine Right, coerced the consent of the governed.
Almost immediately after signing the Declaration of Independence, the nation’s founders ratified the Constitution of the United States that violated the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. It legitimized the practice of slavery, did not change the practice of treating women and their possessions as the property of their husbands and delegated the power to regulate voting to the individual states.
George Washington, the man who refused to become King of America, retired to become a gentleman farmer after warning his colleagues to avoid establishing political parties.
Ignoring George Washington’s parting advice, the nation’s founders established two political parties. One was dedicated to protecting the sovereign rights of the individual states. It survives today as the Republican Party. The other was dedicated to expand the power of the central government. It survives today as the Democratic Party.
Although locked in a bitter conflict for power, the two parties fought shoulder to shoulder to protect their control of the government from the people who were governed.
Effectively, the government established by the Constitution derived its power from the consent of white male landowners (due to state voter requirements) in direct contradiction to the assertion in the Declaration of Independence that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and most of the nation’s founders were intelligent, educated, land owning, well intentioned, honorable white men protective of their power and privileges and fallible.
Recognizing that their Constitution had failed to establish a government that derived its power from the consent of the people it governed, the nation’s founders “patched” the Constitution.
Alexis de Tocqueville, in commenting on the Federal Constitution, disagreed. He said he believed that the Puritans had established the principle of sovereignty of the people in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. The American Revolution then popularized this principle, followed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which developed institutions to manage popular will.
While Tocqueville speaks highly of the America’s Constitution, he believes that the mores, or “habits of mind” of the American people play a more prominent role in the protection of freedom. Among the mores he identifies are: township democracy, associations, self-interest rightly understood, tyranny of the majority, and materialism. (Taken from Wikipedia)
By contrast, the nation’s founders recognized the deficiencies of the Constitution and set about “patching” it. Their first “patch” was the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution. It guaranteed the rights of free assembly and free speech and made legal the formation of voluntary associations that represented their members on petitioning governments to remedy injustice.
This was only the first of many efforts to “patch” the Constitution so the nation could realize the Declaration of Independence ideal of being a government that “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.”
In the two hundred and thirty six years that passed since the Declaration of Independence was ratified, Americans have continued to patch their Constitution so that it outlawed discrimination on the basis of race or gender and extended the right to vote to all American citizens regardless of their race or gender.
Even with racial and gender discrimination outlawed and the right to vote made universal for all citizens regardless of race or gender, a major portion of the American public continues to feel they are ruled by a tyranny of the majority: ruled by a government to which they have not given their consent to be governed.
In 2012, as this is being written, the United States government is unable to act decisively to take advantage of opportunities and avoid apocalyptic dangers because minorities with different ideologies and economic interests refuse to consent to be governed by the elected government officials.
At this writing, Arizona residents feel that the government officials whom they elected to high government office fail to perform their duties. Believing the problem is created because candidates nominated for high government office in the separate Democratic and Republican primaries that are supported with state money are not competent.
A group of Arizona residents have organized an effort to enact an Open Primary Initiative to replace the separate Democratic and the Republican primaries. That Initiative will be on the November ballot.
One thousand and sixty five Arizona residents sampled from the state at large and interviewed during the ten days ending September 25, 2012 finds the Arizona Open Primary Initiative likely to pass by a margin of 14 points with a 45% majority of Arizona residents vote for the initiative, 31% of residents voting against its adoption and the balance not voting.
The vote for an Open Primary Initiative represents an effort made by Arizona residents to “patch” the Constitution so the nation can come closer to achieving the Declaration of Independence’s ideal of having their government derive its power from the consent of the governed.
Support for the Open Primary Initiative concentrates among those who are unsatisfied with the performance of government officials that have been elected to high office.
The 54% of Arizona residents who are not pleased with President Obama’s performance in office would vote to replace the separate Democratic and Republican primaries with an Open Primary by a 12 point margin with 45% voting for and 33% voting against the Open Primary.
Similarly, the 45% of Arizona residents who would vote against re-electing Governor Janet Brewer should she run for office would vote to replace the separate Democratic and Republican primaries with an Open Primary with a seven point margin with 46% voting for and 39% voting against the Open Primary.
Among those who would vote for the Open Primary Initiative, a 49% majority would vote against Governor Janet Brewer being re-elected compared to 40% who would vote for her being re-elected leaving 11% undecided.
The Open Primary Initiative by Arizona residents is another effort to “patch” the Constitution” by replacing separate Democratic and Republican primaries with an Open Primary where all candidates seeking nomination are listed on the same ballot.
On a more general basis, the survey finds support for the Open Primary is concentrated among Uncommitted voters, that is those who lean toward either the Republican or the Democratic parties but say “Yes” when asked if they are Independent voters. Such residents constitute 55% of all residents voting for the Open Primary Initiative but only 49 % of all Arizona residents.
Committed Independents, those who say “Yes” when ask if they are an Independent voter and deny leaning toward either the Democratic or the Republican parties constitute another 15% of all Arizona residents and represent 15% of those voting for the Open Primary Initiative.
Opposition to the Open Primary Initiative concentrates among Committed members of the Democratic and the Republican parties. Committed voters include those who say “No” when asked if they are independent and assert they are Democrats or Republicans. Such Committed voters constitute 46% of all who oppose the Open Primary Initiative but only 31% of all Arizona residents.
The Arizona Survey was paid for out of profits by Sage Survival and Growth Enterprises LLC, an advisor to managers of business, government and charitable enterprises No money for financing the survey came from outside sources.
The principle Investigator for the survey and author of these reports is Dr. Leo J. Shapiro who is a “recovering” advisor to managers of political campaigns. He has not accepted assignments from candidates for public office for over thirty years.
Shapiro’s decision to stop serving managers of campaigns of candidates for public office was made when he found that a substantial proportion of candidates whom he had a hand in electing to public office failed to perform well while in office and in some instances ended up in jail.
While Shapiro no longer wants to feel responsible for the choices the public makes about the candidates that are elected to public office, he deeply admires and respects the men and women who decide to run for office in order to serve the public.
Campaigning for public office and serving the public while in office is a life changing experience involving personal sacrifices with no assurance of reward.
The Arizona Survey is intended to provide the public and the candidates for public office with insight as to the manner in which Americans make voting decisions.
Copyright 2012 by Leo J. Shapiro. All rights reserved.