Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Our Constitution gave us the tools to move forward

U.S. Capitol
Doug Armand/Getty Images
Molineaux is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and President/CEO of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

Who can honestly say they are satisfied with the government? Government is an easy target for our angst and woes. We pay taxes, but what do we get for it? Seems like an endless and hopeless customer service failure. But the government isn't doing anything to us. The government is us.

When Ronald Reagan identified government as the problem in the 1980s, he intended to promote the idea of smaller government and more personal freedom. Given our endless human dissatisfaction with the government, a majority of people gravitated to his message. At the time, it was a clever turn of phrase that many of us took with good humor. But embedded in his cleverness were the seeds of separation, distrust and contempt for the system of government itself.

At the time, most people considered the government inefficient, but necessary. Business guru Peter F. Drucker is credited with saying he wasn't in favor of small or big government, but effective government.

Today, a sizable percentage of our fellow Americans consider the government to be corrupt, evil and tyrannical. Even elected officials, with power to make the government more effective in serving the common good, share this view.

But what if we have it all wrong?

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

A governing system is a significant part of how we manage to live in groups peacefully. The Constitution of the United States set in motion a governing system that allowed for self-interest to co-exist with common good. Not to dominate the common good, but to co-exist with it. This was radical in the 18th century when we were subjects to the monarchy — where only the monarch's self-interest mattered. Instead, we agreed to abide by the rule of law, and the government was granted credibility by the will of the people.

In order for our democratic republic to function effectively, we have to be as equally committed to the rule of law and the rights of others as we are to our individual freedom. It's a trifecta of priorities that cannot be separated.

Leading into the Great Depression, the stock market was at an all-time high. The oligarchs were profiting from a newly industrialized nation. Workers — from children to the elderly — were paid poverty wages to eke out their living. Alcohol prohibition led to increased violence and crime levels. Streets were filled with hungry and homeless people. The small government advocated by big business was failing to provide for the common good of all citizens.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw a role for government in ameliorating the excess of big business that dominated the self-interests of a few over the needs of the public. Like the Founding Fathers, he sought to disrupt the status quo where big business had influenced the government to benefit themselves. FDR's "New Deal" was a series of reforms that gave us a 40-hour work week, eliminated child labor, oversaw massive infrastructure projects and provided Social Security for the elderly.

Passing the dozen or so laws that made up the New Deal took time — about eight years. It involved obstruction by the Republicans. Some of the laws passed were struck down by a conservative Supreme Court. The Democrats threatened to pack the courts with more progressive judges. Within the Democratic coalition of women, African Americans and left-wing intellectuals, deals were struck.

Sound familiar?

In times of unrest and uncertainty, we look to scholars and pundits to predict the future.

In his write up in The Washington Post, Robert Kagan predicts that Trump loyalists will be running elections in counties across the nation and the state legislatures that have given themselves the power to invalidate election results. He labels this a current and ongoing constitutional crisis, which will lead to civil war. The demagogue wins in his analysis.

Robert Hubbell takes a more measured approach in his rebuttal, arguing that the violence pre-supposed by Kagan is a form of trauma from watching the events of Jan. 6, 2021m in a loop. He states that the Constitution allows for this and will be followed. Should election interference in 2024 invalidate the presidential election, the speaker of the House will become president, the courts will have a say and we'll have a new election in 2028. The rule of law wins in his analysis.

I'm more certain our path will follow the historical pattern. We have 14 months until the midterm elections. And 62 months until the next presidential election. That's a lot of time for Congress to pass legislation in the interests of the common good. It's a herculean task, to be sure. We need more people to vote. The will of the people wins in my analysis.

"Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. " ― Peter Drucker

Yes, predicting the future is fraught with risk. We'll have to live it out.

Read More

Ripped MAGA sign
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Ask Rich: An ex-Trump supporter and MAGA activist answers your questions

Logis, a former member of the Republican Party and conservative pundit, is the founder of Perfect Our Union, an organization dedicated to healing political traumatization and building diverse, pro-democracy alliances. This is the first in a series of articles titled “Ask Rich.”

I left MAGA in the summer of 2022. As we get to know each other, I'll get into more specifics as to why I left. Yes, I did agree with some of former President Donald Trump's policies; and, I assure you, most Trump voters are good, decent people who had some valid reasons for supporting him. However, I feel I was led astray, but accept full responsibility for my decisions.

When my doubts about supporting Trump and the MAGA movement commenced in summer 2021, I began diversifying my news, opinion and information sources; this dramatically bettered my understanding of the nuances of complex political, cultural and social issues.

With that in mind, here’s what readers can expect from "Ask Rich":

Keep ReadingShow less
George Santos

Why was it so easy for Santos to lie throughout his campaign? As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to scam a broken system.

Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

George Santos and a system built for corruption

Nate is a communications consultant for RepresentUs, a nonpartisan organization focused on minimizing corruption in the U.S. political system.

In 2009, comedian Robin Williams quipped, “Politicians should wear sponsor jackets like NASCAR drivers.” Just one year later, the Supreme Court decided to drive in a different direction. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates to dark money, exacerbating our existing political corruption problem.

George Santos was expelled from the House of Representatives on Dec. 1 for defrauding campaign donors and members of his district, but the entire saga should be seen as a broader indictment of a broken system that enables (and seemingly encourages) political corruption. Santos was enabled by insufficient reporting laws and ineffective federal oversight. As the Campaign Legal Center reported, “Dysfunction at the FEC has reduced transparency in our elections and faith in our political system.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Trump is the king of the bogus 'witch hunt' defense

Corbin is professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

A lot of politicians throughout the world have claimed they are the victims of weaponized, political persecution and a witch hunt when they encounter legal trouble. Among them: former President Bill Clinton, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Donald Trump.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was nominated for speaker by his fellow Republicans, but still needs to secure enough votes to win the post.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

McCarthy faces pressure from new watchdog group in campaign for speaker

David Jolly, a former Republican member of Congress who has become a leading figure in efforts to break the two-party hold on American politics, has turned his newest organization's efforts toward Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s campaign to be speaker of the House.

Jolly and Maria Cardona, a public affairs veteran and Democratic strategist, recently formed Facts First USA with the goal of preventing lawmakers from using their oversight powers for political gain. This week, the group is focused on McCarthy’s negotiations with his fellow Republicans as he seeks to shore up enough votes to be the next speaker.

As first reported by Politico, Facts First President David Brock has sent a memo to the group’s allies warning of deals McCarthy may make with “ultra MAGA extremists” in the House in exchange for their votes for speaker.

Keep ReadingShow less
Stop the corruption
Vasil Dimitrov/Getty Images

Ending corruption requires a 100 percent commitment

Molineaux is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and president/CEO of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

Last week, we asked our readers and the larger community of the Bridge Alliance to give us your take on corruption. Specifically, we asked, “Is all corruption equal?” My quick take is yes, all corruption is equal. But the impact of corruption is not.

I have long held that as a society, we have allowed small corruptions to become normalized. Then when obvious or public corruption is revealed, we take corruption less seriously. We make excuses about “so-and-so is worse.” Small corruptions leave us dirty and slimy, but we quickly forget them and wash off the residue. These could be incidents of disrespect, where we could have spoken up or “forgot” to take out the trash because we just didn’t feel like it. Neither will have broad impact, and if our conscience is not easily pricked, what will we allow next? A personal growth training I once attended had a saying, “99.5 percent effort is hard, 100 percent is easy.” Why? Because if you make a 99.5 percent commitment, you’ll constantly be maneuvering the exception. If there are no exceptions, it’s easy. This is a good strategy for personal exercise plans, dieting and commitments to our ethics.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Keep ReadingShow less