Expectations are dramatically high for a blue tsunami to overtake Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Yes, historically speaking, the party in charge of the Executive Branch sees some backlash during their first midterm following their ascent to the highest office in the land. Couple that with a President who lost the popular vote by a significant margin and is under FBI investigation, and Democrats have reason to be downright giddy about potential gains this November.
However, it won’t be that easy. The Senate is a long shot. With so many Democratic incumbents up for re-election in red states, the Democrats will be doing well to hold their current position. The House is a different story. If not for the unconscionable gerrymandering of Republican statehouses after the 2010 census, the House would all but be assured to land in Democratic hands. It’s a foregone conclusion that Dems will win the popular vote in the overall House election but still may not wrestle control.
The Democratic party itself is going through a reflection point which won’t be settled until the Democratic primary season of 2020 and only then if the emerging candidate proves successful in the 2020 election. If he or she loses, it will be back to the drawing board with plenty of finger pointing and blame to go around. Regardless of what direction the party takes, there are certain fundamental political strategies the Democrats must adopt now to win back the House and set the tone for 2020. They are centered around 3 general principles which we will explore in greater detail in this article. First, the Democrats must continue to hammer away at the gross misconduct and hypocrisy of the GOP leadership. Next, they have to control the messaging on the economy, healthcare, social issues and religion. Finally, the Democrats need to stand for something. They need a platform that working class Americans can rally around.
Hammer Trump but not the Trump voter
In this world of social media and echo chambers, it is imperative for Democrats to break through the clutter of misinformation and outright lies. When everything is viewed through a partisan lens and the Twitter-in-Chief appeals to his base and refutes every legal maneuver in real time, the Democrats need to appeal directly to the Trump voter who is tired of politics as usual and wants a decent wage.
Yes, the Mueller investigation will continue to dominate the news cycle. Let it and remind voters of it. More importantly, hammer Trump on the issues. He promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something terrific. We’re still waiting. All he has accomplished is to hit Obamacare on the fringes while raising costs and leaving many with about affordable care.
Trump loves to tout the low unemployment numbers and high stock market valuations. That’s wonderful news for the top 1% but what is it doing for the working class? Real wages have not seen gains in decades and the minimum wage remains ridiculously low. Trump’s response is that the cost of labor is too high. The tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans and corporations aren’t trickling down to workers. Corporate America is taking the gains and buying back stock instead of raising wages. Hammer these messages home and appeal to those independents who voted for Trump hoping for something better which did not materialize.
Control the Messaging
Republicans have dominated the messaging for decades to the point that they can get half of the electorate to vote against their own interests. That’s an amazing feat. Democrats have to play the game instead of continuing to take the high road. “When they go low, we go high,” is a wonderfully idealistic and admirable slogan but horrible politics. Democrats don’t need to compromise who they are or what they stand for, but they must fight back against the constant cascade of slander and lies. Democrats are neither the Godless creatures nor coastal elites that they are made out to be. So, here are a few hot button issues for Democrats to take control of the messaging:
With Justice Kennedy’s retirement, Roe v. Wade has never been more imperiled. Since a substantial majority of Americans support the decision, now is the time for Democrats to seize the opportunity to take control of this issue. For years, Republicans have characterized pro-choice Democrats as “pro-abortion” which satisfied their base while not harming them with fair minded independents who believed Roe v. Wade was settled law and we weren’t ever going back. Well, now we look like we are going back. Make this a constitutional issue about freedom of choice and Supreme Court precedent. Show some heart while you’re doing it. Talk about how abortion is a horrible thing not to be taken lightly which is why the heck the government should stay out of it. Talk about how Republicans would force a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term which may be the grossest government intrusion imaginable. Make abortion about the constitution, freedom of choice and government intrusion. This is a slam dunk for Democrats now that Roe v. Wade is in serious jeopardy.
Don’t run from Christianity. Embrace it. Yes, you are the party that honors separation of church and state, but you are also the party that embraces the values of Christianity. Wear bible verses on your sleeve that illustrate how we need to take care of the poor and the disenfranchised. Use Jesus as an example. Contrast that with the blasphemous Republican version of Jesus that demonizes the poor, idolizes guns, and uses religion as a weapon for bigotry and injustice.
Own the constitution. Don’t concede to the party that cares so little for it that it has completed reinvented its intent. Call out the GOP appointed ‘activist’ judges that manipulate the constitution to satisfy big corporate greed in decisions such as US v. Heller and Citizens United. Talk about separation of church and state. Talk about how the 14th Amendment guarantees equal rights for all. Most of all, talk about the 1st Amendment which contains our most cherished rights. Trump has attacked our freedom of the press like no other President and the GOP has been complicit. Without freedom of the press, there is no democracy.
Make Stephen Miller the Face of the GOP and the Trump Administration
As dishonest as Trump is, there’s an undeniable certain charisma to him that allows him to con so many. Not so with Stephen Miller. He comes off as ghastly as he is. Make him a focal point.
Introduce the term Regressive into the political lexicon
Remember how for decades after Jimmy Carter, Republicans made “liberal’ into a dirty word. By definition, conservatives are against change. Start using the term regressive to accurately describe this thinking. It couldn’t come at a better time. There’s a laundry list of progress that Trump has undone that can be highlighted. More importantly, critical gains such as marriage equality for all Americans and freedom of choice for women’s rights hang in the balance. The Regressives want to take us back and unwind decades worth of progress. America has always been forward thinking and moving head. It’s in our DNA. Every great president from Washington to Lincoln to both Roosevelts has been liberal, progressive and forward thinking.
Now, imagine a campaign with Stephen Miller front and center loaded with his quotes and the voice of God saying “Don’t be regressive; let’s take America forward!”
Stand for Something
Democrats need to show that they are solidly behind the working class. Don’t focus on social issues. For those voters who put social issues first, the battle lines have been drawn and there’s not much to be won on either side. Focus on the economy and health care. Emphasize how real wages continue to crumble as the 1% gets richer. Shout about the exploding deficit and how we are mortgaging our future for tax cuts for the rich. Point out that tariffs are taxes that affect the working class more than anyone else. Then stand for something. Come up with a bold infrastructure plan that will truly build up America and put the American working class first. Our bridges, tunnels and roads are in dire need of repair. We can lead the world in high speed rail transportation. Let’s own the 21st century like we did the 20th by being bold in our innovation and infrastructure.
Introduce a comprehensive immigration plan that is tough on our borders but is compassionate to dreamers and children. Point out that immigration has always been a huge driver of economic growth throughout our history.
Finally, introduce a sensible health care plan that will lower costs, benefit more Americans and stimulate the economy. Most Americans are ill informed. Illustrate how Trump’s policies have caused health care premiums to explode.
Democrats can’t take gains for granted in the mid-terms and they can’t run only against Trump. They need to redefine their brand as one that stands up for all Americans including the working class.
Should Democrats give President Trump the signature centerpiece of his campaign agenda? The answer is a resounding yes. Democrats should allow the wall not to give Trump a win but because it is good politics for the Democrats in this critical election cycle. Here's why.
First, they should only allow the wall if they get a path to legal status for the dreamers and reasonable, fair and non-discriminatory immigration standards going forward. That's a big win right there that they can point to. Keep in mind that's not an insignificant feat considering that the GOP controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. The only reason they would be able to achieve this is because of Trump's fetish with getting his wall built.
Next, and, perhaps more importantly from a purely political point of view, the wall will prove to be a nightmare for Trump. Building it will be a logistical nightmare and ultimately will be ineffective. The wall, once authorized, will become a symbol of Trump's incompetence and broken campaign promises. This will become the campaign gift that keeps giving for the Democrats. They can consistently point to the incomplete and ineffective wall that Americans, not Mexico, are funding. Once authorized, Trump's signature campaign promise of having Mexico fund the wall will forever be broken. The incomplete, inconsistent and ineffective wall will be a bigly momument to Trump's inexperience and broken campaign promises.
With the 2018 mid-term elections a year away, it’s time for the Democrats to get serious. Trump’s popularity is at an historic low and the Republicans have failed to deliver on any meaningful legislation despite owning majorities in both chambers of Congress. Combine that with the historical fact that the party out of power historically has done well in the mid-terms and things start to look all sunshine and ravioli for the Democratic party, right?
Not so fast. Trump was one right about one thing – the system is rigged and it is rigged in favor of the GOP. Due to extreme (and, yes, unconstitutional) gerrymandering beyond any previous standard, the Democrats could easily win 55% of the overall vote in the House of Representatives and still not take control. In the Senate, things are even worse. Of the 34 seats up for election, 25 are currently held by Democrats including many in Red states that were won riding the coattails of Obama’s 2012 victory.
Change has to start somewhere, though, and the Democrats need to get started now. First, and foremost, they need to get out the vote. Democratic voters come out in stronger numbers in Presidential election years. That needs to change. They need to vote at every election for every level. Change needs to come at the state level to combat gerrymandering.
Most importantly, though, the Democrats need a clear, cohesive and simple message. A big part of Trump’s appeal in 2016 was a simple repeated message of better trade deals, bring back jobs, and replace Obamacare with “something terrific” – all of which would Make America Great Again. Trump’s failed on all accounts. Yet, the Democrats’ message needs to be more than just anti-Trump. It needs to be strong. Anyone remember weakly named "The Better Deal" rolled out by the Democrats a few months ago? In order to break through the daily avalanche of Trumpland news, the voice needs to be loud and clear.
Here’s our crack at it – a 5 point plan called “The Real Deal.” Why The Real Deal? It’s strong and authentic and, most importantly, can be contrasted with “The Art of the Con” pulled of by Don the Con. And, yes, that needs to be part of the message. So, here is our high level proposal for The Real Deal:
Finally, when talking about all of these points, it’s time to turn the script. Attack the most unchristian President we’ve ever had. Don the Con has pulled of the biggest con in American history. A republican House and Senate will never fully investigate all of the shady dealings and scandals of this administration. Taking control of at least one chamber could alter the course of history. The Democrats face a steep climb in 2018 but shocking results have occurred before. Just look to 2016 for the most recent example.
In a recent post Syrah examined the lack of any bipartisan cooperation in Washington. In this post, we'd like to offer a simple way for both parties to pass meaningful healthcare reform. While we have little confidence this could happen, we're going to propose it anyway because politicians shouldn't be playing games with our healthcare.
First, let's get one thing straight. Under the current iteration of Trumpcare 2.0, millions will lose insurance and countless others will go bankrupt. People will die. And every member of Congress and the President should be accountable for that regardless of party. It doesn't have to be that way.
Here's what the Democrats should do. Reach out directly to the White House and express a desire to help the President deliver on his campaign promise of delivering something terrific. Acknowledge that Obamacare needs improving and promise to deliver a bipartisan solution that can save Trump's failing presidency. Stroke the President's ego that he can be a great uniter and achieve bipartisan support in a way that Obama never could. Yes, the Republican congress was the main culprit of that relationship but Democrats you need to get over it for the good of the country on this issue. There are plenty of other issues to dig your heels in. Put politics aside when it comes to healthcare. People's lives and livelihood depend on it. Don't gamble that Republicans will ultimately fail. Be part of the solution. So what if it gives Trump a victory? If you can't come together as a party to beat Trump in 2020, what good are you?
Republicans, here is what you can do. Put optics and semantics aside and do what's right. Forget this fetish with "repealing and replacing" Obamacare. Do what's right and improve Obamacare. Call it just that. Right now you are being held hostage by the Freedom Caucus which is an oxymoron if there ever was one. Embrace Democratic support and come up with a new and improved healthcare plan that builds and improves on the current one. The end result will be a huge victory for the American people and you'll probably save some congressional seats in 2018.
Unfortunately, here is what will happen. Democrats will stand firm in their opposition to the bill. If the bill fails, they are victorious and the Republicans look like a hot mess in their inability to pass a bill when they control both houses of Congress and the White House. If the bill passes, they can capitalize on the public backlash sure to follow. It's a win-win for the party. However, it's a lose-lose for the American people. If you want to put country before party, here's your chance.
Republicans will continue to shut out the Democrats and try to pass any bill that can gain 50 votes. They will take the path of least resistance in trying to cobble together the votes from dissenting alt-righters and the more moderate members of the party. Republicans are seeking a victory in any form regardless of whether or not it is good for the American people.
This is not the way to govern nor is it how this country has operated for most of its existence. Compromise and bipartisanship has worked efficiently and productively throughout our history. It's time to get back to that. What better time than now when so much is at stake and we are 10 days away from our nation's birthday.
Has President Trump's first 100 days been a success? By any reasonable historical measure, it has not. Add in the fact that Republicans hold majorities in both houses and the first 100 days have been an unmitigated disaster for the new administration. Aside from selecting and placing a new Supreme Court Justice, there hasn't been much to celebrate for President Trump. And let's not forget that was much less of a victory for the President than last year's Senate which took a big gamble in the unprecedented move to stonewall a seat that President Obama had every right to fill.
So let's take a look at why Democrats should feel good about Trump's first 100 days:
1. The First Amendment is alive and well. The exercise of free speech and right to assembly has been on massive display from the first week of the Presidency. From planned events around the Women's March and Earth Day celebrations to spontaneous demonstrations over the travel plan, the peaceful and powerful right of the people to protest and have their voice heard has never been stronger. In short, it has been amazing to see -- and it is yielding results. The failure to repeal Obamacare was due in no small part to the partipation of the people in the Democratic process.
2. Trump is doing harm to the GOP brand. A whole generation of younger voters and voters who will be newly eligible to vote in 2020 are being exposed to a disjointed and dysfunctional Presidency with an often incoherent message -- and that's the positive spin for the Trump administration. When policies targeting science, women and minorities are advocated, things go downhill fast. His unfavorable approval rating for the first 100 days is unprecedented.
3. The Republicans have made large gains politically over the last 8 years in large part by their ability to stay united in their message. Their unwavering ability to put party over country not only helped them stonewall the Obama administration but control the message. Now, they face two problems. First, their hypocrisy shines through loud and clear when they support Trump's bombing of Syria (without congressional approval) after they denied Obama congressional approval. Next, they are having a harder time staying united on message while Trump struggles to find a consistent idealogy. The American Health Care Act debacle was a shining example that the skill set to obstruct is much different than the skill set to lead.
4. Obamacare remains the law of the land. This may change in the future, but right now, the Republicans have failed to repeal and replace Obamacare which has been their biggest political selling point in the last few election cycles.
5. Rallies seem to be turning into votes. While Democrats may ultimately lose the congressional race in the 6th district of Georgia, the Democratic votes in a safe Republican stronghold has been remarkable. There is a long way to go until the 2018 mid terms and even longer to the 2020 general election. Democrats have a history of not turning out in mid term elections and the Senate seats up for grabs in 2018 don't bode well for Democratic gains. They would do well to avoid losing seats.
All of the positive signs for the Democrats won't mean anything if they don't turn it into votes. Momentum is a fickle thing and 18 months is a long time to wait for the next big election. The other problem Democrats face which may prove even more difficult is the lack of clear leaders emerging and a real division between the traditional and progressive wings of the party. It's hard to imagine Trump will continue to stumble this poorly. Victories will come around tax reform and potentially infrastructure spending. Infrastructure spending in particular could be a signature success that has broad appeal across party lines and could garner significant Democratic support. While there's a lot of Democrats to like about Trump's first 100 day stumble, there's a long way to go.
The Republican leadership has made it clear that Gorsuch is getting confirmed this week one way or another. The issue the Democrats face is whether or not to force the GOP to use the "nuclear option" and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Let's look at the Democrats option. First and foremost, their best option is to use the threat of a filibuster to extract some concession of future nominees in exchange for voting for cloture. Considering the current environment of partisanship, that seems like a very unlikely outcome. If that is not an option, then what do the Democrats gain or lose by forcing the Republicans hand?
Before we examine further, let's make one thing clear. Unless the current environment changes drastically, the filibuster is as good as gone. There is no "preserving" it for future use. Either party will invoke the "nuclear option" if needed to pass a nominee of their party's choosing. There is nothing to gain for the Democrats to "preserve" the filibuster for any potential next pick of Trump so long as they remain the minority. So, in that sense, they might as well force the issue now and score some political points with their base, right?
Well, not so fast. First, does the base really need any more rallying right now? Next, we can actually think of one scenario where the maintaining the filibuster could help the Democrats and it is not that far fetched. If the Democrats were to regain the Senate lead by the thinnest of margins during a Trump or Pence presidency, the filibuster could become critical in blocking a future nominee. Why you may ask would that matter if the Democrats had the majority? Here's why. There have already been 3 Democratic Senators to publicly state their support for Gorsuch. It's certainly not unusual for Senators to give a lot of leeway to a President's choice and certainly Democratic Senators from red states face more pressure. If the current opening hadn't been stolen from President Obama, then no doubt Gorsuch would sail through a nomination process rather easily. So, imagine a scenario of a vacancy opening in 2019 with a Republican president and a thin Democratic majority (51-49) in the Senate. A nominee could squeak through with only one Democratic defection if their was a full Senate vote. If the filibuster remained, however, the Democratic led Senate could more easily prevent such a nomination from ever coming to a vote.
Thinking as pragmatically as possible from the Democratic point of view, we think they should preserve the filibuster and work like mad to win back the Senate. Then they will control whether or not the filibuster remains in place for any future nominees. One thing that has been made clear these past few years is that total power in the Senate will reside with the majority party. Democrats need to think long and hard about the consequences of sacrificing the filibuster for a hollow victory now.
The Republicans have done a masterful job of creating the image that they are the rightful protectors of the Constitution. They use terms like “strict constructionist” and “originalist” to convey that they will be true to the intentions of the drafters of the Constitution. It’s great politics, but is it really accurate?
The convention to draft the Constitution played out over months with many participants coming and going. All of the attendees were sworn to secrecy. What we do know is that it was a highly debated and often contentious affair that resulted in an imperfect document with a lot of compromise. The 3/5th clause is a perfect example of the imperfection of the document.
There is not a lot of recorded history on this remarkable convention. The main documents that have been preserved that come closest to the original intent are the series of essays that comprise The Federalist Papers. These were mainly written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and, to a lesser extent, John Jay. These essays were written as a persuasion tool to promote adoption by the states of the new Constitution. Hamilton and Madison, in particular, would each have an enormous impact on the interpretation of the document during the first government. Madison, as a congressman from Virginia would be instrumental in drafting the first 10 amendments which would become known as The Bill of Rights. Hamilton, as the first Secretary of the Treasurer, would have tremendous influence in defining the powers of the Federal government under the new Constitution.
Almost from the beginning, there was a divide in the role of the Federal government. That divide initially was an urban/rural one. Hamilton advocated for a national bank and a diverse economic society. Madison, along with his mentor Thomas Jefferson, had an inherent distrust of banks and believed that America’s future lay in its vast agricultural potential. To a large extent, this rural/urban divide still exists. So, while Madison and Hamilton were both instrumental in writing, shaping and defining the original constitution, the two of them quickly disagreed on its original intention. The document itself is often vague and open to interpretation. It’s extremely difficult, well over 200 years later, to make a coherent argument to “original intent” when the framers themselves often disagreed on the Constitution’s meaning and interpretation in the immediate aftermath of its adoption.
The genius of the Constitution was the creation of checks and balances between the three branches of government that allowed for our government to take shape and grow all the while being governed by the people and for the people with a smooth transition of power which has remained unbroken.
Many of the arguments over “original intent” stem from what rights should be left to the states as per the 10th amendment. Both sides conveniently use this for their own political purposes. Let’s look at the current administration’s recent position on two separate issues. On LGBTQ issues, the administration has taken the point of view that these issues should be largely left to the states because they want to pander to their evangelical base. Yet, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment seems to be fairly clear that “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Certainly, there are numerous protections of the law that come with marriage. Conversely, this administration has stated that it will look to enforce Federal laws over state ones when it comes to enforcement against marijuana use. Governing an activity that takes place wholly within a state seems to be exactly that kind of right that the framers meant to be left to the states. At the very least, there is a clear inconsistency between these two positions and maintaining a Constitutional purity.
Let’s also remember where the term “strict constructionist” originated. Richard Nixon, during his Presidential campaign and in order to gain Strom Thurmond’s support, promised that he would only appoint “strict constructionists” as judges who would not enforce Brown v. Board of Education.
The more puzzling question is why do Democrats allow Republicans to perpetuate this myth of originalism? In the current political environment, the Democrats are losing ground to the Republicans when it comes to perceptions of defending the Constitution. The Democrats like to point to the concept of a “living Constitution” that is to be interpreted anew by each generation. It’s a lofty and idealistic goal although it is not any clearer that this is what the framers had in mind, either. A better argument for the Democratic party would be to remind us of what we do know as the “original intent” of the framers. That is, they clearly wanted three separate and distinct branches of government that would each play a critical role. As such, the Judiciary plays an extremely important part in being the final independent arbitrator of interpretation of an imperfect 200 plus year document. That doesn’t make them activist judges. It makes them strict adherents to the Constitution in order to fulfill the role assigned to them in the Constitution. The Democrats would also be well served to point out that many interpretations taken by the Republicans under the guise of “originalism” are unfounded, but, are rather politically motivated.
The Constitution, despite its imperfections, is a brilliant document -- all the more remarkable when considered the circumstances under which it was adopted. It belongs to all of us as the preamble begins “We the people.” We have a democratic process that allows for the smooth transition of power under which all citizens can participate. The Constitution does not belong to either party and the Democrats would be well served to remind the electorate that they as well are standard bearers and protectors of it.
We have been reading various commentaries opining on which past President our current President Trump most resembles in personality and style. The most common comparisons have focused on LBJ and Nixon. LBJ had an outsized ego and Nixon had his "enemies" list. Both spent the bulk of their adulthood years immersed in politics and loved the political theater and gamemanship. LBJ was a master manipulator of his contemporaries whereas Nixon possessed a more awkward demeanor. Both were skilled politically and extremely savvy at reading the tea leaves of both the political climate and potential legislation.
So far, regardless of what you think of Trump, either personally or of his political positions, he has undeniably shown an ability to judge the political landscape and touch the electorate. Trump, however, has spent a lifetime in the private sector albeit with many interactions with governing bodies on behalf of his businesses. That experience is no match for the years immersed in Washington that both LBJ and Nixon had before becoming Presidents so it's difficult to imagine Trump possessing the same legislative skill. Trump is without a doubt an original and, for better or worse, will make his own mark on the Presidency in his own style. I think any comparison to a past administration when it comes to Trump is a waste of time and energy.
As far as personality, many of our past Presidents have had rather large egos. We would argue that in today's climate, it's virtually impossible to run, let alone get elected, without a healthy ego. The sheer amount of events, fundraising, and 24 hour news cycle requires it. Theodore Roosevelt and LBJ are often credited with having two of the largest egos to ever hold the office.
We'll throw one other name out there for comparison's sake -- John Adams. Our second President was smart but paranoid with little tolerance for his critics. It was under his adminstration that the ill fated Alien & Seditions Acts were passed which laws, among other things, tried to criminalize statements critical of the administration. (See our previous post for a more detailed discussion.) Every time period in our country is unique and so is every President and administration. While comparisons can be fun, they are mostly futile in offering any predictive value. What value they can serve is when Presidents themselves study their predecessors to learn and grow in an incredibly demanding job. Our wish is for President Trump to do just that.
We've been hearing a lot about so called "fake news" lately. No doubt, that in the 21st century when information travels around the world in nanoseconds and anyone with access to a computer (like us) can disseminate information under the pretense of authenticity, the climate is ripe for misinformation. (Contrast that with the early days of our nation when updates on the French Revolution would take months to reach our shores.)
As many hard core partisans choose to live in an echo chamber that suits their personal tastes, there is often little incentive to stop the spread of obviously false -- and at times vicious -- information. In and of itself, that presents a real danger to keeping all of our citizens adequately informed. In some regards, we have gone from an ill informed electorate to a misinformed electorate.
There is a flip side to the proliferation of "fake news" which is the defense mechanism to quickly label any story we disagree with as "fake." Therein lies the real danger to our fundamental freedoms. When the President talks about retribution and changing the libel laws, we should all take pause. Think our freedom can't be threatened?
In the early days of our budding government when the nation was still struggling with defining the scope of the freedoms we take for granted, a combination of four laws were passed that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. These bills increased the time it took for immigrants to become citizens, granted broad powers to the President to deport or imprison non-citizens from an enemy country or otherwise deemed dangerous, and even criminalized statements that were critical of the federal government and determined to be false by a judiciary appointed by the President. These laws were passed under the Federalist term of our second President John Adams. The Sedition Act which allowed for the prosection of critical statements of the government (while providing for the truth to be a defense) was widely used by the Adams administration to prosecute newspapers friendly to the often contrary views of Vice President Jefferson. The fundamental bedrock freedom of the press that we take for granted today literally hung in the balance in the early days. Ironically, the resistance to the Sedition Act helped Jefferson defeat Adams in his bid for a 2nd term. Under Jefferson, the Act expired. This 200 year plus episode should still serve as a cautionary tale for our citizens to remain vigilant in the protection of our freedoms and the democratic process.