Closing in on nine years as president of the Institute for Free Speech, David Keating long ago cemented his status as one of the foremost conservative forces in the money-in-politics debate. The nonprofit's aim is to safeguard First Amendment rights, particularly unfettered political speech, and views deregulation of campaign finance as central to that goal. Keating took charge after a similar group he started, SpeechNow.org, won a federal lawsuit to end donation and spending limits on independent political groups — thus creating super PACs. He had top posts at two prominent fiscal conservative organizations, the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union, earlier in a D.C. advocacy career dating to the 1980s. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.
What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less?
Stopping government from discouraging dissent.
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With legal fights over the election being waged across the country and disinformation clouding the truth about voting systems, Americans can be forgiven for their confusion about how to cast a ballot this fall. Because each state sets its own rules — for registering, getting and returning vote-by-mail ballots, timetables for balloting in person and so many other things — keeping it all straight can be difficult for both voting rights advocates and individual voters.
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Organizer: Reform Elections Now
The 2020 election could result in a stalemate, or worse. Donald Trump should lead on election night, but as mail-in votes are counted, Joe Biden could gain a lead. These mail-in votes could take weeks or months to count. Election results could be challenged. Republican legislatures in swing states could approve slates of Trump electors, while Democratic governors in the same states approve slates of Biden electors, leaving both sides with less than 270 electoral votes.
Loopholes in the 12th, 17th and 20th amendments could lead to an impasse in Congress. Nancy Pelosi, as third in line, could claim the presidency. The Senate could approve Mike Pence as vice president, who then would claim the presidency. Protests and chaos could erupt. With disorder, Trump could invoke the Emergency Powers Act and indicate he would remain as president until the emergency has ended. With counting continuing, Biden could claim he has won the election and should be president. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group in Congress could try to resolve the impasse by invoking the 20th amendment and appointing George W. Bush and Al Gore as interim president and vice president.
If this stalemated scenario plays out, how should investors and businesspeople react? This webinar will attempt to answer that question and more.