It has long been said that people “vote their pocketbooks.” In 2016, the economy will again be a concern. Despite the Administration’s improbably optimistic claims, the eighteen trillion dollars we don’t have remains a problem that could crush the country in just a few months, given the right set of disastrous events. Beyond the economy, though, as voters assess the nation and the world, we find a bewildering array of things out of place, opportunities lost, values in free-fall, and just plain existential threats.
The moral state of the nation is as much in crisis as it ever has been, with the very definitions of man, woman, marriage, and gender up for societal debate. This month, the Supreme Court will, one way or another, make a pronouncement on homosexual marriage that will infuriate some number of Americans. It is no secret that nearly half the members of the Court are deeply opposed to the traditional definition of marriage. However, to get their way, they will have to explain how they erred in the Windsor case two years ago when they found the federal government has to respect the marriage definition of a state.
Should the Court find that the state can define marriage, those who have made it a project to expand the definition of marriage to suit their agenda will not give up. Nor will those whose marriage definition comes from a divinely inspired tradition thousands of years old. Instead, the American voter will be subject to a long battle on the messy field of American democracy—which, constitutionally, is where it belongs. Should the Court find that the state cannot define marriage in a restrictive way, because it is a fundamental right under the Constitution, a long dark night of litigation and push-back will begin that will make the forty-two year culture war over abortion look like a polite debate between Amish theologians.
Meanwhile, as Ann Coulter points out in her new book, Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third-World Hell-Hole, the very character of the American nation is increasingly undermined by unfettered immigration, legal and illegal, that has entirely abandoned the idea of assimilation. The current administration has no problem with this, since it considers the “American character” something quaint, unnecessary, and probably racist. If the Court does not stop the President from importing as much of the world as he can drag across the borders, much of the America we have known and loved is likely to become a nostalgic dream.
Then there is privacy—an old-fashioned concept that used to mean that Americans held a particular reverence for our right to be unheard, untracked, anonymous, and generally left alone. In the age of Facebook, Twitter, GPS-tracking and a population willing to disgorge its vital information in exchange for the ability to have a conversation about how cute kittens are, play a game online, or obtain a twenty-cent rebate on a box of raisins, privacy seems like an impossible dream. When everyone’s information is everywhere—and at least theoretically obtainable by anyone—who can blame the government for wanting to vacuum up every detail of every American’s every interaction? After all, why should the government (the only thing, the DNC claims, we all “belong to”) be playing informational catch-up with Google or Facebook?
Conversely, there is a crisis surrounding the First Amendment right to speak. The educational establishment has spent a few decades now teaching (erroneously) that there are some things you simply cannot say. There are some thoughts that you must not have. Racism, of course, is a forbidden thought—but so now are ideas like “men and women are different”, “climate change might not be man-made” and “Islam doesn’t seem much like a religion of peace to me.”
Too many Americans today are unperturbed by the fact that a man lost his job (at the company he created) for having contributed many years before to an organization dedicated to protecting the definition of marriage he then shared with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—or that a man lost his liberty because a video he made in free America was blamed for four American deaths that were probably the fault of those same two politicians.
The first clause of the First Amendment is under attack, too. Freedom of religion is consistently referred to by the president as “freedom of worship,” a more circumscribed liberty that applies primarily in churches. Although the Supreme Court has consistently protected free exercise, the president seeks always to restrict it. Who will give up first? Will the president stop trying to violate religious rights? Or will the Court grow tired of repeating itself and stop taking the cases?
And, of course, none of our rights or definitions or debates means a thing if Iran gets its nukes (thanks, Obama!) and decides to use them on us, or ISIS decides to take a shorter route to American Armageddon and just start randomly blowing up things right here at home.
The next presidential candidates need to prove to us that they have responses to these threats. The focus of the electorate won’t just be “the economy, stupid”—it will be the parade of horribles that seems to grow longer every day. And they have to make us believe they mean it, which—after years of political deceit and incompetence–may be the toughest job of all.