Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul

This should have been a conservatarian revolution.

The Republican Party is composed of three main wings. The first is the neoconservative ‘old guard,’ which has been the pragmatic, centrist, and unrelentingly dominant force in American right-wing politics for a long time. The second is the ‘tea party’ or, in older parlance, the ‘religious right,’ which is a kind of populist paleoconservatism that is rooted in traditional values and has relatively little patience for pragmatism or compromise. The third is the ‘conservatarian’ wing, which is made up of true-believers in limited government and strict constitutionalism, and whose members tend to lean toward at least some of the positions of the Libertarian Party.

There is a lot of overlap between these groups. Few Republicans, and even fewer conservative independents (like myself), fit cleanly into one wing or another. But I have always said that my views generally fall somewhere between the platforms of the Republican and Libertarian parties, and so conservatarian describes me better than almost any other political label. If I was a Republican, that is the wing I would likely find myself in.

Just one year ago, conservatarians seemed poised to wrest control of the Republican Party from the old guard. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the poster-boy of Republican conservatarianism, was winning straw polls and seemed to be a real contender for the presidential nomination. Tried-and-true members of the old guard like former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Governor John Kasich (R-OH) failed to gain traction. Republicans seemed ready for a change in direction, and Paul seemed like he could be the beneficiary of the old guard’s impending fall. . . . Continued

Melissa and I try to go on a cruise every-other year, but this year we broke our usual cadence and went on a cruise in two consecutive years. Following our 2015 cruise to Alaska, this year we went on a cruise to New England and Canada on Royal Caribbean’s MS Grandeur of the Seas from September 29 to October 8. Why did we break our cadence? Well, this cruise was organized by my Knights of Columbus council (and others) as a fund-raiser for KOVAR, which is a charity serving Virginians with intellectual disabilities. Sixteen couples went on the cruise, ourselves included, and a portion of our fare goes to KOVAR (about three thousand dollars in total).

The cruise was a nine-day round-trip out of Baltimore, Maryland, stopping along the way at ports in Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This was our first time visiting any of those places. There were also three lovely, relaxing at-sea days, one at the beginning and two at the end.

It was overcast and a bit drizzly leaving Baltimore, and the same on our first at-sea day, and the same in Boston. It started the same in Portland, but got nicer as the day went on (though it was still pretty overcast). From then until the end of the cruise, the weather was sunny, lovely, and comfortable. I took a bunch of pictures, and we had a great time. . . . Continued

Seal of the President
Seal of the President

In the race for President of the United States, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) faces former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) (now a Libertarian) and real-estate mogul Donald Trump (R). Also on the Virginia ballot will be two minor candidates, Evan McMullin (I) and Doctor Jill Stein (G). Incumbent President Barack Obama (D) has reached his constitutional term limit and is not permitted to seek reelection.

The United States has a unique system for electing presidents, where the citizens of each of the fifty states (and the District of Columbia) vote for a slate of electors who are ‘pledged’ to a particular presidential candidate. Each state has a number of electors equal to the size of its total congressional delegation, counting both representatives and senators. The District of Columbia has three electors as well, which brings the total number of electors to 538.

Maine and Nebraska allot their electors based on the majority vote in each congressional district, with the remaining two electors chosen at-large based on the statewide vote. All other states and the District of Columbia allot their electors under a ‘winner take all’ system, where the winner of the statewide vote receives all of that state’s electors. The candidate who receives a majority vote of at least 270 electors wins the election.

If no candidate receives a majority vote, the House of Representatives is then called upon to choose a president by a ‘majority of the states’ vote. Presidents are elected to four-year terms, and may serve up-to two terms. . . . Continued

Seal of the U.S. House of Representatives
Seal of the U.S. House

In the race to represent Virginia’s Tenth District in the United States House of Representatives, incumbent Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10th) is seeking reelection and is challenged by LuAnn Bennett (D).

The Tenth District encompasses Clarke County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, the cities of Manassas and Winchester, and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Comstock was first elected in 2014 and is nearing the end of her first term.

All seats in the House of Representatives are up for election every two years. There are 435 seats, representing each of the fifty states in rough proportion to their population as recorded in the most recent national census. There are an additional six non-voting delegate seats representing U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The Republican Party currently holds a 247-186 majority over the Democratic Party in the House, and two seats are vacant. Virginia has eleven seats in the House, with eight held by Republicans and three held by Democrats. . . . Continued

Seal of Virginia
Seal of Virginia

Article XII, Section 1, of the Constitution of Virginia establishes a process for amending the constitution. The state Senate or the House of Delegates proposes amendments and, after having been passed through both houses, they are then presented to the voters for approval. Once approved by the voters, the state constitution is amended as specified, and that change can only be reversed by repeating the amendment process.

Citizens of Virginia will be voting on two constitutional amendments in this year’s November election, each of which would change or add text to the Constitution of Virginia.

Worker Rights

The Code of Virginia includes a number of protections for workers, including a prohibition against employers denying employment to nonunion workers or compelling employee membership in labor unions, and restrictions against the establishment of abusive union monopolies. These restrictions, commonly (but incorrectly) called ‘Right to Work’ laws, are in-place in twenty-six states. . . . Continued

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.