Protecting Article XII

Well, Trump visited central Indiana yesterday, for a fundraiser and rally. It only increased the intense speculation about whether he would add Indiana’s embarrassing Governor to his ticket.

In many respects, they would be a political odd couple, but they do have one thing in common: neither of them appears to have much familiarity with, or regard for, the Constitution.

In his recent meeting with Congressional Republicans, for example, Trump emphasized his readiness to protect America’s Constitution–including Article Twelve.

Of course, there is no Article Twelve.

We probably shouldn’t be surprised; to the extent that this particular candidate has policies, a significant number of them are patently unconstitutional. Trump says he would authorize torture, round up and deport immigrants (no mention of due process, which is evidently not a phrase in the vocabulary of the man who brags that he has lots of “good words”), and he has proposed “passing a law” to eliminate the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision.

It’s mind-boggling that any citizen of the U.S. knows so little about America’s legal framework that he thinks passing a law can change constitutional mandates. (Even Pence and my least civically knowledgable students know better than that.) The fact that the Presidential nominee of a major political party is so ignorant of the most basic rules that constrain all elected officials–rules that he would be charged with defending and obeying if, God forbid, he should win–is stunning.

I know I am a broken record on the subject of civic literacy, but the ability of a man like Trump to garner 13 million votes in the primaries is at least partially attributable to the fact that too many Americans know little or nothing about the country’s legal framework or governing architecture.

The American Constitution was not handed down by God (although some on the far Right actually have made that claim). There are good reasons to consider amending parts of it, and serious political figures and scholars who advocate for such changes–but no credible source suggests that the Constitution is irrelevant and can simply be ignored.

What separates successful countries from theocracies, autocracies and banana republics is respect for the rule of law. The basic premise of the rule of law is that laws and regulations apply to everyone. It is the obligation of all citizens–including Presidents, Governors, and all other elected officials–to follow the same rules that apply to the rest of us.

Actually, it shouldn’t surprise us that Trump doesn’t understand that. He’s lived his entire life convinced that the rules don’t apply to him, and he’s made it quite clear that, if he should be elected, he won’t let pesky rules or constitutional provisions get in his way.

That attitude and ignorance explains why citizens who are civically literate find the prospect of a Trump Presidency terrifying.


  1. The two mainstream Parties have a similar problem thinking laws don’t apply to them.

  2. Why should we be surprised? There’s no video game or TV series wth the Constitution as the core. You can’t get interest on your investment. There’s no loud band with THE CONSTITUTION for title or sports team, no fancy golf course or casino called TRUMP THE CONSTITUTION. We’re approaching it wrong.

  3. Marge Wood, I agree with your comment. As a teacher, I have always found a value in creating a game, or some type of interactive media to get students interested in a subject. I’m ready to develop of a Constitution game, or a civil literacy app that appeals to the Pokemon Go crowd. What do you think Sheila?

  4. Trump is unreachable.

    His supporters are unreachable.

    The vast majority of the Republican party are unreachable; those who are still logical, rational, thinking elected officials simply do not have the balls to stand up against the majority. They will lose party support if they do so which means they will lose party money; remember Richard Lugar. Their personal gain comes in many forms so they follow the Judas goat like the sheep they have proven themselves to be.

    We are facing the same lack of knowledge and awareness of the consequences within the Democratic party. Will the “Bernie or Bust”, “NeverHillary”, Bernie write-in and Green party supporters see the future of all of us in this country in time to prevent Trump’s very probably election? I do not want to vote for her; will be voting against Trump with millions of others

    Rachel Maddow reported last night that there will be no Minority Report at the National Democratic Convention. This puts Hillary and Bernie ahead of the Republicans before either convention assembles. Again per Rachel, the RNC still hasn’t provided the list of their speakers 6 days before their convention starts. There is a long list of GOP members who have refused to speak on Trump’s behalf; that is working in our favor. Will there be a multitude of Minority Reports filed from the 16 nominee hopefulls who turned tail and ran? I think the Republican convention will be the one to watch; it will also be the one to hope protesters and supporters do not become violent…remember they are backed by the NRA and the misguided pro-gun/anti-gun control reform contingent waving the 2nd Amendment banner.

  5. I noted that the crowd in Westfield last night was even whiter than white bread.

    From the discussions I have had with people about Trump, it seems that the real problem is that his supporters just don’t read. Civic illiteracy begins with the illiteracy part of the equation. His supporters continuously claim that he will “shake things up,” but so will earthquakes and we don’t want those either.

  6. As for being, “above the law”…please not Hillary Clinton’s lies under oath about her personal emails as SoS. I guess she didn’t anticipate an FBI investigation. 😉

    Let’s be clear, both parties are corrupted with money. In order to be accepted into the party and be elevated within the establishment parties, you must pass certain tests. Honest politicians are extremely rare and are also unlikely to receive any press. Honesty is not desired trait in our society.

    Trump is a buffoon who was used by the press and exposed both of them as frauds to U.S. citizens and foreign observers. The current GOP base is merely a collection of dopes conned by Fox News and other conservative media hosts. There is not a trace of legitimacy among them.

    However, what’s sad to watch is Trump and the GOP might be heralded as the “working mans party” if the DNC doesn’t follow through and abandon their Wall Street ways.

  7. I am very curious as to what Trump thought he was saving by protecting “Article Twelve.”

  8. While I’m sure that they exist I have yet to have anyone look me in the eye and say Trump is qualified to be President. The best that they can do is mumble Hillary is a liar.

    It’s well understood and acknowledged that Trump has absolutely no regard for the truth in any part of his life but, Hillary is a liar. He said so.

    The fact that Trump’s party has turned Congress from their Constitutional mission, legislating, to replacing the Supreme Court as the judicial branch and spent every resource available trying to prove that she did something wrong and come up completely empty handed each and every time, what do we the people say? Hillary is a liar.

    Is this possible?

    I would urge you to read this article by a reporter who has been close to Hillary for years who wonders about “the gap” between the perception of Hillary by the vast majority of those who have worked for and with her and the public besotted by GOP generated airwaves for the last 3 decades.

    The conclusions surprised even me.

    The wreckage of the GOP can only strive to claim the country as damage collateral to theirs now. They have nothing left to offer except to try to bring America down with them.

    Apparently though their brand is so addictive that millions of Americans would rather give them the country to wreck rather than countermand their orders.

    How is this possible?

  9. Sheila, one of the reasons we have civic disengagement is because states such as Texas have removed Civics from their curriculum. Keep ’em dumb and unquestioning, the mantra must be, so that they will vote for a Trump or a Pence or a Palin. These Republicans once upon a time gave us a McCain (almost last in his Naval Academy class and who might have been expelled but for the fact that his dad was an admiral) and a Sarah Palin (duh!) as a choice for the executive suite – so perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked with a Trump and a Pence. or double duh. Pence does cover an important sector of the electorate that Trump hasn’t mentioned, i.e., the toilet seaters, so I presume now that all the bases are covered. Now it’s on to the fence, waterboarding etc.

  10. The article and comments can all be expressed more concisely: the GOP voters, and especially the Trump voters, are the stupid white people.

  11. Over It, certainly some are. I’m afraid that many though are just Republican loyalists. I’d like to think that most Democrats are not blindly loyal like that but I could well be wrong.

  12. Pete; I began voting the straight Democratic ticket almost 20 years ago, NOT because I am blindly loyal but because the Republican party is no longer an honorable organization. I worked 20 years for the City of Indianapolis; began in 1972 under Richard Lugar, 16 progressive years and years of clean government under Mayor Bill Hudnut and traumatized by Goldsmith for 2 years, 3 months and 11 days. I was an Independent voter; recognized good and bad, right and wrong in both parties. I resent being forced into this narrow little box but will cower here till I am no longer terrified of and by the Republican party. That sure as hell ain’t gonna happen in 2016!!!

  13. I can’t believe I’m defending Trump, but in his defense there really are two parallel justice systems in this country. People who can afford to hire $300/hr trial lawyers get different treatment than everyone else at every stage of the process, from arrest on up.

    He’s spent an entire lifetime being coddling & isolated from the real world, and the only business he knows is the especially fictional & vaporish ‘business’ of real estate development. It’s no surprise he’s a know-nothing, because he does in fact know nothing.

  14. JoAnn, I’m a registered Republican and always have been.

    My experience is as you go from national to local the party affiliation of candidates gets less important. It’s critical for national elections but for local town or village stuff I find that the party doesn’t matter much and I’m more likely to know more about the individual candidates so I can vote for local issues and personal qualifications.

    I’m afraid though that home team loyalty is more pusuasive in many people than makes sense.

    The net result is that a relatively small fraction of us, the swing voters, make the call. This year will be a great demonstration of that. There will be zero informed votes for Trump, only loyalty votes. He’ll still get 40-45% of the votes cast. That’s an awfully high percentage of us voting blindly for the home team IMO.

  15. Pete; you obviously don’t live in Indiana or you wouldn’t be able to get your fingers to type this nonsense.

    “My experience is as you go from national to local the party affiliation of candidates gets less important. It’s critical for national elections but for local town or village stuff I find that the party doesn’t matter much and I’m more likely to know more about the individual candidates so I can vote for local issues and personal qualifications.”

    Do you not include cities in your equation? Indiana local villages and towns are the victims of Republican gerrymandering where often for years there is only one candidate – a Republican – running for office. It isn’t that it is less important, it is that there are NO options. To me that makes party affiliation more important. That also happens in gerrymandered districts here in Marion County, where city limits are the county lines but gerrymandered districts straddle the county line in some areas.

    We, as individuals, as residents of states and as Americans are in jeopardy due to staunch party affiliations which has brought us to where we are today – Donald Trump could be elected president. I would not stick to my current voting habit of straight Democratic ticket if Trump was the nominee. I would rather see either George Bush back in the White House than Trump…and I wouldn’t trust either of them to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roller without declaring a war over whether to roll the paper over the front or over the back.

  16. I’m not a city person JoAnn and that probably is a big factor in my experience.

    I know personally some highly qualified local politicians who are Republicans mostly because they’ve always been.

    My experience is that when we elect national politicians we get the national party through them. Much less so for local politicians.

    Maybe big city politicians are somewhere in the middle of that.

  17. Ya gotta love this very presidential-sounding thing from Drumpf’s mouth today: “Pence might be your governor or he might be your vice president…who da hell knows!” What a class act!

  18. As we all sit on the edge of our chairs, waiting with baited breath for the announcement of who (or is that whom?) Trump honors with his invitation to join him on the ballot, there appears to be a Republican movement to bring Daniels back to run for governor. The hits just keep on coming.

    I have already blocked the name of the group from my memory; started to block them from my Facebook page but decided it would be better to keep track of their movement. Movement is a word that fits here, as in bowel movement by the anally retentive Indiana GOP wanting to return Daniels to continue Pence’s work which consisted of continuing Daniels’ work.

    Please excuse my over-long sentences and the subject matter but…these people are nucking futs and driving me to distraction.

Comments are closed.