Opinion: Time to End Early Voting and the Lame Duck Congress
There are two dynamics in the modern American political landscape that have combined to act as a steady eroding current on the foundational rock of Liberty. One is the lame duck session of Congress that occurs every two years, and the other is the relatively new push for early voting. One skews the results, and one ignores the results.
With the lame duck session, politicians who are retiring or have been voted out of office have one last chance to stick it to the voters, knowing they won’t face another election where they will have to answer to their constituents. Really, really bad legislation has a habit of getting passed during the lame duck session.
In the lame duck of 2010, following the political earthquake that was the Tea Party revolution, which saw Democrats demolished at the polls in a historic fashion after passing the so-called “stimulus” bill, ObamaCare, and other items on the leftist wish list, outgoing Democrats (with the aid of a few dependably undependable Republicans) took one final shot at their countrymen. Democrats extended unemployment benefits up to nearly two years, repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (the prohibition against open homosexuals in the military established under Bill Clinton, the repeal of which changed the focus of our military from being the world’s finest fighting force to a social experiment in the normalization of sexual deviancy and mental illness), and passed the New START treaty, which in practice forced the U.S. to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal while allowing Russia to keep, and even expand, its own.
In 2012, with Republicans demoralized after the defeat of Mitt Romney in the presidential election, the lame duck session yielded “the largest tax increase in history,” a $620 billion hike passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate at 2:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and signed by Obama while he was vacationing (yet again) in Hawaii.
The lame duck session of Congress was a rare occurrence until 2000, with only 13 such sessions between 1940 and 2000, nearly always for the purpose of addressing emergencies. Since 2000, there has been a lame duck session in every Congress, but rather than dealing with emergencies, they have been used to push through agenda items that were not dealt with during the regular session. While hundreds of millions of Americans are trying to enjoy the holidays, Congress has taken advantage of their distraction to pass amnesty measures for illegals, new regulations, and confirm controversial judges to the bench with lifetime appointments. This year, conservatives fear it may get even worse, even with Republicans at the helm.
In short, politicians have used the lame duck session to pass legislation that is unpopular with the American people. It may be time to end the lame duck session altogether, as it was once significantly limited by the passage of the 20th Amendment.