Saturday, October 22, 2016

Four Debates: Very Little Constitution and America Missed the Point...Again

(I wrote this, obviously, just after the debates between Trump and Clinton, and their VP choices. However I still think a lot of the underlying principles apply now as well as into the future. As such, I will continue to post it. Thank you for your interest!—Brett)

As a presidential candidate and founding member of the I Will Follow the Constitution Party (IWFTCP) I tend to look at presidential debates through a slightly different lens than most Americans. Of this I am certain. I don't think in terms of what a president can do for me or give me, unless it would have something to do with my constitutional liberty. In the hopes of furthering my cause I offer my own estimation of the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

It should be mentioned here that the main purpose of a president, under Article Two, Section One of the Constitution, is contained within the presidential oath. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

As we know each of these debates was an hour and a half long, totaling six hours, give or take a couple of minutes. In that time there were only sixteen mentions of the Constitution.

For the sake of definition I divided these mentions into two classes. The first being direct mentions, where the candidate said the word "Constitution." The second being indirect mentions, where the candidate said something like "unconstitutional" or "constitutional."

Secretary Clinton mentioned the Constitution four times, twice were oblique. Donald Trump mentioned it four times as well but all of them were direct. Tim Kaine mentioned it three times, two were oblique. and Mike Pence didn't mention the Constitution at all. You will notice that the math works out to be five mentions short. Well, those were the moderators and three of them were oblique. So the people who did the most to bring the Constitution, by name, into the debates were the people who aren't even running for the office!

Now I realize that this isn't exactly a fair evaluation, mostly because there are other ways to mention the Constitution than by name. This would be done by citing an Article, Section, Clause or Amendment to it.

Taking the amendments first: Clinton mentioned the Thirteenth once and the Second eight times. Trump mentioned the Second twelve times, the Fifth once and "all amendments" one time. Kaine mentioned the Second twice and the First once. The moderators mentioned the Second four times. Mike Pence didn't mention any amendment to the Constitution.

There is something else that should be noted here; this count is a count of the number of times in the transcripts that they said the word, "amendment" and thus does not take into consideration how many times they machine gunned (see what I did there? funny isn't it?) the term at us in a single paragraph, which should, I suppose, be only counted as one time actually talking about it. For example when Trump said this; "We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the second amendment and all amendments, but the second amendment which is under absolute siege. I believe, if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don't think will happen, we will have a second amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now. But I feel that it is absolutely important that we uphold because of the fact that it is under such trauma. I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint, and I've named 20 of them. The justices that I am going to appoint will be pro-life. They will have a conservative bent. They will be protecting the second amendment. They are great scholars in all cases and they're people of tremendous respect." See? That's five mentions of amendments for the price of one. They all did it, particularly in the third debate when talking about the Second Amendment.

As for the main body of the Constitution there are a whopping ZERO references to it at all, by anybody. Yep. Zero. Just as if the main part of the Constitution and Bill of Rights didn't exist.

Do you want to know what deplorable really is? I'll show you.

My word count on the debate is just short of sixty-nine thousand words. By that word count, divided by six hours, equals eleven thousand five hundred words per hour and one hundred ninety-two words a minute. Again by word count, paragraphs that mentioned the Constitution directly, indirectly or by amendment totaled three thousand seventy-eight. This was a very optimistic calculation, based on the total word counts of the paragraphs in which they were mentioned. Doing the math that comes to about sixteen total minutes, out of six hours of debate, where the actual main job of the president, by oath and under the Constitution, was even mentioned. That's less than four and a half percent of the time, in all of the presidential debates, that the main purpose of electing a president in the first place was discussed.

For the sake of fairness I should mention that there are some other topics, like border control and immigration, which do have something to do with the constitutional power of the federal government, were talked about. However for the most part everything else discussed, which was clearly most of it, has nothing to do with the powers they are supposed to have at the federal level under the Constitution.

That's what deplorable really is.

I have rather frequently, and to the annoyance of many liberals, made the claim that the first lie any president tells is the oath of office. I think it is time we got a president who will tell the truth and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. 


  1. Brett, I find your posts to be very enlightening. I enjoy someone who understands the frustration of an electorate that doesn't realize how unimportant government should be outside of the basic enumerated functions. I commiserate with you on the frustrate of writing a vlog that is read, but never commented on. I won't concede to you being right all the time, but if no one says anything what is a Brett to think? I have followed your blog in hopes of reading more of your philosophy, even if we won't always agree.

    1. Brett, First I have to say, GREAT NAME!!!

      I'm really glad you're following. I don't always expect or want people to agree. One of my guiding philosophies is "The widest point of disagreement between two intelligent people who can talk to each other is where there is the most to be learned."

      On Twitter I have a friend who is from Denmark. He's a flagrant and dedicated Socialist. Yet I sincerely call him a friend because in spite of the fact that we disagree on almost everything, we always treat each other with respect, and we always learn something from each other.

      I'm happy for the places you agree with me. You are always free to disagree and I would give my life for your right to do so. If you ever feel like talking to me about something you disagree with, you know where to find me. :)