AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Already on the list of the 2022’s endangered Democratic senators, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan has added dramatically to her vulnerability with a vote in recent weeks that strikes at the heart of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status, a sacrosanct political tradition in the Granite State, even as it also threatens to make small states like New Hampshire largely irrelevant in future presidential elections – something that isn’t likely to sit well with many of her voters.
While Hassan was going to be facing damaging GOP TV attack ads for her consistent support of the radicalism and extreme rhetoric of the progressive wing of her party, her recent vote for the Democrats’ attempted federal takeover of elections is likely to prove the political equivalent of a bridge too far for most of her constituents. The full consequences of what the election takeover would have meant for the entire nation are just now being understood, but no state would have been more adversely affected by its mammoth and largely unconstitutional changes than New Hampshire.
For Hassan, running in independent-minded New Hampshire, 2022 was already going to be a tough reelection bid. Despite attempting to brand herself as a “moderate” since she took office in 2017, Hassan has largely marched to the beat of the Democratic Party’s drum – a drum that has sounded increasingly progressive in recent years. She has voted to end the filibuster, signed onto legislation granting D.C. statehood (which is an unambiguous attempt to cement a permanent Democratic majority in the Senate), and has flirted with the idea of expanding the Supreme Court.
But it is Hassan’s active and open participation in Democrats’ election law push which may truly alienate her voters, even some progressives. Hassan supported the so-called “For the People Act” and later the “Freedom to Vote Act,” both of which had little to do with voting rights and more to do with outlawing common-sense and widely popular election integrity measures like Voter ID, and allowing mass mail-in voting and ballot harvesting, undermining the sacredness of the secret ballot. While both bills have currently stalled in the Senate thanks to united Republican opposition and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s refusal to abolish the filibuster, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer have made clear that passing these laws or something similar remains a top priority.
To begin with, these laws would have altered the entire nature of the traditional American presidential campaign. Besides the corruption brought by abolishing Voter ID and legalizing ballot harvesting, the bill’s passage would have inevitably meant the sheer number of new voters in key and mainly large states would drive New Hampshire into early irrelevancy if not oblivion.
Just as startling, the bill that Hassan voted for would have given the federal government control over primary elections as well as general elections, a provision which would have left the New Hampshire state law which mandates that the state always move its primary ahead of every other state at the mercy of the new federal law and Democrats in Congress. Why would Hassan be so naïve to think that the same party intent on tearing apart every other major American institution from the Electoral College to the Supreme Court to the make-up of the U.S. Senate would suddenly stop when it comes to protecting New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status? By the same logic employed by Hassan and other Democrats, why shouldn’t a progressive stronghold state like California or New York instead hold the mantle and influence of being the first-in-the-nation primary? Aren’t these states—according to Democrats—more representative of America’s diversity than a rural, mostly white state like New Hampshire?
Hassan’s politics of dismantling esteemed institutions and traditions when politically convenient will all but certainly lead to this conclusion—and when it does, she will have no one to blame but herself. As scholar Elaine Kamarck wrote for the Brookings Institution in 2016, “the voters of New Hampshire really care about their primary. They like the attention, the visibility and the economic stimulus that it brings every four years.” She continued: “Unlike voters in any other state, the voters of New Hampshire expect their politicians to protect their first in the nation status. And they do.”
Will Hassan be able to protect New Hampshire’s special status when the left-wing mob decides it’s the next thing that has to go in the name of “equity” or some other nebulous progressive buzzword? What will she say when radical Democrats charge that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status is an instrument of white supremacy oppression and must be abolished?
Even beyond New Hampshire’s primary status, Democrats’ aims to “reimagine” American elections would further jeopardize the state’s influence and relevance in elections. Take, for example, the longstanding progressive goal of eliminating the Electoral College and expanding or doing away with equal representation in the Senate. As it stands now, candidates need to do well in New Hampshire’s primary, and then realize that they may need those four Electoral College votes to push them over the top on Election Day. Without the Electoral College, politicians would focus the vast majority of their time and attention on states with large populations like California, Texas, and New York.
This means that the concerns of people in small states like New Hampshire under Democrats’ new vision for elections in America would become largely irrelevant – something the Founders of our country expressly feared and guarded against by establishing the Electoral College and equal representation in the Senate. As James Madison wrote in Federalist 62, “the government ought to be founded on a mixture of the principles of proportional and equal representation.”
As an elected representative of a state that benefits overwhelmingly from this “proportional and equal representation,” Hassan’s desire to dramatically weaken the voices of her own constituents in the nation’s capital is, to say the least, a puzzling political strategy. The last thing most Granite Staters want is for their representation in the Senate and national elections to be further chipped away at in favor of other constituencies from other states that overwhelmingly support progressive policies and causes.
But as counterintuitive as Hassan’s support for such policies may seem, it may just be the new normal in today’s Democratic Party. As Daniel Roman wrote for AMAC Newsline earlier this month, Democrats have once again adopted a “rule or ruin” attitude—a phrase that derives from Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union address, in which he, as Roman observes, “correctly diagnosed the uncompromising approach of the South” prior to the Civil War, and how that approach sowed the seeds of destruction for the Confederacy before it even began.
“Your purpose, then, plainly stated,” Lincoln declared in the historic remarks, “is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”
So put it together – if the Democrats don’t get their way, they are perfectly willing to destroy the sacredness of the secret ballot, abolish the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, alter the U.S. Senate, and destroy the meaning of citizenship with open borders. Those institutions and the separation of powers they stand for represent the genius of the U.S. Constitution and its capacity to protect freedom and order. As was noted recently, the Democrats seem to be determined to save American democracy by destroying it.
This shortsighted approach to politics, to echo the famous words of another Republican president, ultimately sent the Confederacy to the ash heap of history.
It may already be too late, but Maggie Hassan should be careful not to borrow more—whether intentionally or not—from their playbook. Otherwise, she—as well as her constituents, her state, and perhaps her country itself—will very likely pay the price.
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