Senate Majority, Voter ID Laws, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Have we ever had a party share the Senate gavel before? When is a super-majority needed in the Senate? Should the minority have more power than the majority? Is there a way to require voter ID without the signature of the Governor? Is there really hope for the future of our nation? Tune in to hear our answers to your questions on today’s Foundations of Freedom!
Air Date: 04/08/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us today at the intersection of faith and the culture. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day, looking at them from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach.
And I’m here with Tim Barton. He’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and also with David Barton, America’s premier historian. And today is Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Okay, David, Tim, time to dive into those questions. We’ll start with Scott. I love the way he signs his email that he sent in from behind the Iron Curtain in California. So he’s saying, look, man, I’m over here trying to fight for freedom, but it feels like I’m behind enemy lines.
Anyway, here’s what he said. “We have a senate run by a Democrat and Republican sharing the gavel. I don’t understand how they say it’s an even split when there are 50 Republican senators and 48 Democrats with 2 Independent. Seems to me someone has a problem counting. How do they justify this? Thanks from Scott.”
A 50/50 Split in the Senate
And guys, obviously, he’s talking about the federal, even though he’s in California, I don’t want to confuse people because I was talking about him being in California, his question is about the US senate run by Democrats and Republicans having to share the gavel. So how does that work if you’ve got 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 Independents, why is it actually a 50/50 split?
Yeah, what you look at is this is more like a local election for a city council or a school board or something else. All the people put up the candidates that want to be on the school board or city council or mayor, whatnot, and then the people in that town or in that body vote for the candidates that sits on the ballot.
So in this case, what happens is the Republicans put up Mitch McConnell, the Democrats put up Chuck Schumer, the Independents did not put up anybody. So you’ve got two folks on the ballot. Well, all of the Republicans, all 50 of them voted for Mitch McConnell. On the other side, all 48 Democrats voted for Chuck Schumer, but the 2 independents also voted for Chuck Schumer.
So what that means, and let me back up a bit to say that each side has a caucus, and when you have multiple parties in a House or Senate, you have caucuses. So you had the Republican caucus, the Democratic caucus, if there was a third party, let’s resurrect the Whig Party for a bit and say you have the Whig caucus.
What happens is with those two caucuses, both of the Independents caucus with the Democrats, they run as an Independent their states. One of them is Angus King out of Maine. He runs his Independent, but he votes with the Democrats. He caucuses with Democrats and he votes for the Democrats.
Yeah, it’s a little bit like understanding that regardless of the title under which you are elected in the sense of what party you are part of, if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, right, Conservative, or Green, or you pick a title, once you get to Congress, once you get to the US Senate in this case, you get to pick which team you want to play on. And in essence, that’s what we’re seeing is the two teams that have been divided up 50 on one team, 50 on the other team.
And with that being said, right now, the President of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States of America, that is Kamala Harris and Kamala Harris is a very outspoken Democrat. And so when you have a 50/50 tie, Kamala Harris is the one who actually gets to preside over the Senate and break that tie.
So she then is on team Democrat, which gives them actually 51 votes and gives republicans 50 votes, which is what puts Democrats in charge of the Senate, even though there’s only 40 Democrats, and there’s two Independents because they’re choosing to play on the same team in this sense. And then Kamala Harris is that additional one vote that makes it 51/50. That’s why the Democrats are in charge of the Senate.
And as Tim said, you choose what team you want to be on the Senate, but you could also choose to start a new team. You could say we’re going to start a brand new team. And you might go get people out of whatever party or whatever philosophy or whatever to say, we’re going to start the progressive team or the conservative team or whatever.
The problem is there’s just not enough people that are going to jump on that team: you will be irrelevant. And so if you want a voice, you usually jump on one of the two bigger teams. And so you do choose a team.
And that’s why it’s kind of like a local election, you choose the candidates and whichever candidate gets the most votes, that’s the one that wins, regardless of how many Democrats or Republicans, even though there’s more Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, the two Independents are on the Democrat team.
And then you throw the vice president on the Democrat team and Tim as you said that’s a 51/50 majority for the Democrats. And that’s why Chuck Schumer is essentially acting like the Majority Leader even though they have a split gavel. Whenever they have a Senate vote that’s 50/50, Kamala Harris will come in and go with the Democrats, it’ll be 51/50.
So this seems really unusual. I don’t remember this happening in my lifetime. But I looked it up, and apparently this happened just 20 years ago with a 50/50 Senate that was back when Trent Lott was leader of the republicans and Tom Daschle was the leader of the Democrats. So we’ve actually been here before.
We’ve Been Here Before
Well, at that time you had a Republican president. So you had Cheney, Dick Cheney, who was the vice president who cast the votes, the 51st vote when there were ties. But I’ll take you back even to Mike Pence just a few years ago. Even though the Republicans had a majority, a lot of Republicans did not vote with the Republican majority. And you recall that Mike Pence cast the deciding vote with 50/50 ties and several things, confirmations as well.
And he kind of set the record for more votes cast by Vice President than anybody in recent history. So even though the Republicans had a bigger team under Trump, the votes weren’t there: there was still a 50/50 split many times. But you’re right. Back under George W. Bush, Dick Cheney was the Vice President and he kind of filled the role that Kamala Harris is filling right now.
Alright guys, we’ll take a quick break. We’ll be right back with more questions from the audience. If you want to send one in, send it into [email protected], right back on WallBuilders Live.
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Abraham Lincoln said. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
When Does the Senate Need a Supermajority?
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You can send your questions into us as well [email protected]. Mark has the next question from Ohio.
He said “Could you please explain under what conditions the senate needs a supermajority to pass legislation and when it is a simple majority? I was under the impression that VP Harris was giving the Senate Democrats a majority to do as they wish.”
So almost like a follow up question here, guys. So we know it’s that split and that Kamala Harris can break that tie, how often do they have to have the supermajority due to the Filibuster versus just a 50/50 split and then Kamala Harris’s tie breaking vote gives them the majority.
If you go back to the Constitution itself, the Constitution establishes a simple majority for everything, except for constitutional amendments. But when it looks at legislation, a simple majority gets it. And so when you look at quotes by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc, George Washington said the fundamental principle of the Constitution requires that the will of the majority shall prevail.
So that’s it, majority vote. There’s nothing in the Constitution that allows a minority to move forward with the policy. It takes a majority vote. And a constitutional amendment, it takes two thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states. But other than that, it’s a simple majority.
That changed in 1913 when Rule 22 was adopted by the Senate that said, well, we’re not going to let anything come to a vote in the Senate unless at least 60 Senators are willing to bring it to a vote. And what it does is it gives the minority the power over the majority. I mean, literally 41 votes can beat 59 votes in that, because unless you can get to 60, you can’t get it to the floor for a vote.
So for the last 100 years or so, what we’ve had is the minority has more power than the majority. If you recall, even when Trump was President, people got really hacked and said, well, the Republicans out the House and the Senate and the presidency and they can’t even repeal Obamacare. That’s because they couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate. They had 54 Republicans, but you have to get 6 Democrats to go with those 54 Republicans to say we want to repeal Obamacare, and they can’t.
And so what’s happening right now is the Democrats are saying, well, we’re going to get rid of the Filibuster rule. And by the way, that Rule 22 is known as the Filibuster rule. And so we’re going to get rid of that and we’re going to go to a straight majority. Now, that’s the way the founders intended it.
But what that means is there will be nothing to stop 100% Democrat agenda on everything they want to do. So what they want to do on nationalizing vote, what they want to do, I’m getting rid of conscience protection and religious liberty, they can do that. And quite frankly, that doesn’t bother me, because I think that people respond well to that and say, we don’t like that…
Well, let’s clarify that does bother you.
Well, that’s true.
The big picture is that this is where the we the people are supposed to be in charge. And as long as it’s not unconstitutional, right, as long as it’s within the bounds of what they’re allowed to do, in some regard, it should be the will of the people. And sometimes when it’s revealed, that’s when the pendulum can swing both ways.
And sometimes the penalty goes really far in one direction, and people see it and go, oh, that’s terrible, we shouldn’t be doing that. And then the pendulum starts to swing back in a different direction.
And the danger for us as a nation is that if Democrats have the ability and control to enact all of the things they are proposing, with the massive increase of debt and the spending and paying off of bad behavior of states, and unions and pensions, and right, yeah, I wouldn’t even get into the abortion.
Yet, I was going down the list, right, but not the least of which are the gender issues and the marriage issues and the abortion issues, moral issues, making our nation more pro-socialist than ever, there’s a chance that the nation shifts so far that you don’t recover. Because there is a point at which you finally gone too close to the edge, when you start to fall over, you might not be able to pull it back. That is where there’s a danger.
Now, the other irony the very people have pointed out is the very people right now who are talking about the Filibuster being a racist Jim Crow era something from the Senate, actually, those very people just a decade ago were arguing about how wonderful the Filibuster is. You don’t have to look very far to find former President Barack Obama talking about how great the Filibuster was, former Vice President and former senator, now the US President Joe Biden talking about how wonderful the Filibuster was.
And this is the reality of politics as politicians hope you have a very short term memory and do not remember what they said previously, or what they voted on previously. They hope that we are dumb enough that we think whatever they are saying now is all they have ever said.
Well, the good news is that there are records, there are videos, that you can go back and watch and realize how much of what that’s being said now is just merely political jargon. It’s not genuine. It’s not honest.
Now, again, big picture, the Founding Fathers intent was that the will of the majority would prevail, as long as it was not against the Constitution. And they wanted to follow the principle of Declaration, they wanted there to be morality in what they did. So with all that being said, the idea, original intent from the Founding Fathers was that there would not be a Filibuster.
But it is very hypocritical now, for the people who are on the Democrat side arguing about how bad the Filibuster is to be doing that only because they’re in political power. When just a couple years ago, when they were not in political power, they were arguing in favor of the Filibuster. This is the reality of politics. But this is where there is some nuance even answering that question.
If you go back to original intent, original intent is very clear on what the Founding Fathers intended with we the people that will have the majority to prevail. When it comes to the Filibuster, that’s been something that’s been in the Senate for decades and decades and decades and decades and decades, and for people right now to change their political position based on the fact of who’s in charge, that’s just a political game that’s very skewed and people are being very dishonest.
A Moment from American History
Alright, so we’ve had two questions on how the senate works and how they vote, what makes the difference in whether a piece of legislation actually gets through. We’ve got more questions coming up for you. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. The Second Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self-protection. Opponents argue that only the militia, the military and law enforcement are to have and use firearms.
But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including founding father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of those who actually frame the Second Amendment. He declared “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young how to use them.”
For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment, go to wallbuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Voter ID Cards
We’re back here on Wallbuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Next question for our Foundations of Freedom Thursday program is from Paul. It’s about voter ID cards. Here we go guys. It’s “While listening to your ProFamily Legislators Conference last week, a question about voter ID cards came to mind. If state legislators have even more power than the governor, then wouldn’t it be possible for them to legislate ‘that all voters in a particular state must have a valid voter ID card?’
This would be an end around so to speak of a national voter ID card seen as our politicians in Washington have been rejecting the idea for years. After all, you had to have a state driver’s license. Could that be done or must a state bill be drawn up passed by both state bodies?”
So I think, guys, the question is, is there a way to get voter id at the state level without having the governor involved?
No, because the state constitutions are require that you have to pass a law, a state policy through the House, the Senate, be signed by the governor. If the governor does not sign it, then some number, in some states, it’s only majority of the legislature can override the governor’s veto and make it law or two-thirds of a state or whatever that number is.
And this goes back to what we were talking about at the ProFamily Legislators Conference, which called Legislative Supremacy. The policies of the state are largely to be initiated by the legislature, not by the governor. So it actually takes the governor to sign it for it to become policy, but it needs to be initiated by the legislators here. Now, here’s what’s interesting.
Right now, we have 34 states that do require voter ID. And that’s a lot more than just the red states, has some blue states as well. So we’re kind of close to a national voter ID. But what we saw in this last election was that governor’s or secretaries of state or election officials said, well, we’re not going to require you to have that ID. No, wait a minute, that’s state law, you don’t get to set aside state law.
In All 50 States
So the concept of requiring some kind of identification is actually there with all 50 states, but a voter ID is there with 34 states. All the other states, you have to be registered somehow; your name has to appear somewhere. That doesn’t mean they check it like they should, or that they make sure you really are the person you say you are.
But at least on paper, all 50 states have some kind of a voter ID, but 34 states do require a voter ID card. So in that sense, yes, we have kind of a national voter ID. But you really can’t pass a state law without the governor being involved with that and putting the signature on it, or the legislature override the governor’s veto to make it law.
Alright, guys, we got time for one more question. We’re going to take a quick break, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like man, the classes are boring, or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago, or I don’t know where to start? People want to know, but it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive! With David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the Quickstart Guide to the Constitution, because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizen’s guide to America’s Constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive! With David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at wallbuilders.com.
President Calvin Coolidge said, the more I studied the Constitution, the more I realized that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity, to live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us for Foundations of Freedom Thursday, more of those programs available at our website wallbuilderslive.com. Last question of the day goes to Jared. And he’s from the great state of Nebraska. He says in his subject line, and I don’t always say great State of Nebraska, only great state of Texas. Right?
But no, no, there are other great states. Okay. He says “I would like to know, since you do programs for young people, if you see hope for America? The reason I asked this question is because I’m 22 years old.” Jared, great question. Do we see hope for America? I’m going to let you guys dive first. But I got to add into this one at the end. Go ahead.
Is There Hope for America?
Well, yeah, Rick. So first of all, yes, Jared, absolutely, we see hope for America. And we do a lot of work with young people, with high school students, college students, with young adults. And it’s one of the reasons we have hope for America, is because of people like you. The fact that you care, the fact that you are taking an interest, the fact that you are trying to figure out what can you do to make a difference.
How can you follow God and how can you reach people, how can you take a stand? There are more and more people, young people every single day that we are seeing asking those questions.
And one of the things that, guys, we’ve talked about for a couple years, we think it’s very possible. We are right in the middle of the third Great Awakening and understanding the context of history, understanding the first two Great Awakenings, and arguably, there were more revivals in America than just the first and second Great Awakening.
But understanding big picture that when you look at the awakenings, they spanned for decades. It wasn’t a weekend revival service held at somebody’s church. These were things that were momentum and cultural shifters in the nation: that if you look at the Second Great Awakening, right, it’s argued that it was 40, 60, 70 years long.
The first Great Awakening is 30, 40 years long, these are decades going on. And in the midst of those decades, God was doing something in the hearts and minds of people that God was helping shift them from where they were to where they needed to be.
The first great awakening, it stirred up the hearts and minds of the people that they were getting back to understanding what the Bible said. Well, the people who were beginning to understand what the Bible said, ended up being the Founding Fathers who are helping lead the charge in the call for independence and freedom and inalienable God given rights and the role of government is to protect our God given rights.
This is what the first Great Awakening help stir up, was a biblical understanding of freedom, of truth, of reality. The second Great Awakening arguably helps spur on a lot of the abolitionists who are advocating for the end of slavery in America.
Looking at the Big Picture
It’s just interesting, when you look big picture, the reason we would argue now that we think we are perhaps in the third Great Awakening, God is stirring up something in the millennial generation and Gen Z, the young generation right now that we are seeing statistically polling, they are different in certain areas than any other generation that’s been before them.
And why would they be different on some of these respects? Why are the younger generations the most prolife we’ve ever seen in the history of our nation? God is doing something with them.
On top of that, Jared, some of the programs we do is we see that so many young people are hungry for truth: they’ve just been given very bad information. Young people want to make a difference. They just don’t always know what to do to make a difference.
It’s why you see so many young people involved in a lot of these protests, and a lot of these marches. They want to make a difference, but they’ve been given bad information, which has led to bad outcomes. But when people get good information, Jared, when young people are getting better information, when they’re getting truth, they are clinging on to it and standing up for truth and righteousness.
Which is why what we do with our summer institute program, what we do with Patriot Academy, this is things that we are literally seeing lives be changed, God stir up and fire up in people the understanding truth, that boldness to stand up and be world changers and difference makers. And Rick, I know that’s part of what you’ve seen in all these years you’ve been doing that too.
Man, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, that is why we stay more optimistic, probably the most people is because we get to have that interaction with these young people just like Jared. Man, I echo everything you said. And you know, even if we didn’t get to see those results, our hope is in who’s we are, not where we are, what’s happening in the country.
And so just be reminded, you can be joyful, regardless of the direction you see the country going. But we actually see a lot of things in the culture that are very encouraging. And God is raising up a remnant and you are part of it. And I’m thankful that a listener would ask a question like that, at 22 years old.
Let’s keep teaching the truth that they give people the equipping that they need to then go actually make a difference. So it’s not just as empty hope, they’re really doing things to make a difference, and we get to see that happen. That’s why we’re so optimistic here.
Standing for Truth
Well, and Jared, let me also throw out for you and every other young person listening, check out patriotacademy.com. Go to the WallBuilders website, look for the Summer Institute, there are things that you can do to come spend time with likeminded people, like-minded patriots, like-minded believers that you can come and connect and you will realize you are not alone.
One of the great stories from the Bible there the prophet Elijah, when he feels overwhelmed, he stood up for truth. And he’s under persecution, right, the culture is trying to cancel him, and he cries out to God and says, why am I the only one left? And God rebukes him and says, there’s 7,000 people who have not bowed their need to Baal, you’re not alone. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.
Jared, one of the things that’s very true in this culture is it’s very easy to get isolated, and not recognize how many other great young patriots and leaders there are that God is raising up. Come to the WallBuilders Summer Institute, the American Journey Experience Summer Institute, come to Patriot Academy, find out more of these people. And for every mom and dad out there, for every grandparent out there, this is something that you want your kids to be a part of. Have them come get equipped with truth so they can stand up for righteousness, they can make a difference in culture.
And guys, also part of the big deal that we are doing, even as we have this daily radio program, we have people that come alongside and support and sponsor what we do. And first of all, for those of you who already support WallBuilders Live who support WallBuilders or patriot Academy, we’re so grateful for your support.
We are really unable to do so many more things, because we have sponsors and donors along the way. If you’re not already supporting and sponsoring, understanding this Cancel culture, it is literally a matter of time before organizations like WallBuilders like Patriot Academy will come under the chopping block, so to speak, where culture will try to cancel us because we are promoting biblical truth.
We’re promoting the US Constitution, and it will take us working together with supporters like you saying, you know what, for $5 a month, for $10 a month, for $100 a month, for whatever you can do to come along and support so we can continue to convey this truth and continue to reach people and change lives.
If you want to find out more, you can go to wallbuilderslive.com, there’s a donate button, you can click there. Certainly, Patriot Academy, look it up the American Journey Experience Summer Institute, the WallBuilders Summer Institute, you can look it up and find out more, but come alongside and help us as we make a difference in the next generation.
Check it out today at wallbuilderslive.com. That’s where you can make the donation. That’s where you can get all kinds of archives in the program over the last few months and where you can get engaged in the process as well.
Senate Majority, Voter ID Laws, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
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So I hope you’ll come join us, check it out at constitutioncoach.com. You got to register in the next 24 hours to be able to attend this April 25 course, it’s going to be amazing. Check it out at constitutioncoach.com. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending against all hazards and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
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