Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed RealClearInvestigations contributor Thomas Hackett to the newsmaker line to discuss the emergence of the diversity industrial complex and the struggle to understand the role of diversity officers.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line for the very first time here and appearing on The Tennessee Star Report, Thomas Hackett, who’s with RealClearInvestigations. Thomas, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Hackett: Thanks for having me. Michael.
Leahy: Thomas, I just loved the story that you wrote at RealClearInvestigations. The Sudden Dominance of the Diversity Industrial Complex. By the way, how did you come up with that name?
Hackett: That just came about in discussions with my editor and just trying to make sense of this massive bureaucratic juggernaut. And what did it compare to? Eisenhower referred to the military-industrial complex and pointed out that it was not just the military, it was all these contractors. It spread throughout the entire culture. And I think the analogy is good here.
Leahy: I would say it’s brilliant because I read that and I said, well, of course! We are facing the diversity industrial complex and it’s ruining the country. Tell us a little bit more about how this all happened so quickly.
Hackett: Whether we need initiatives like this or not, I think these are interesting questions. I think we can all debate them, you and I. Our politics may not align, but we could certainly discuss it and evaluate it and disagree. I think that’s certainly well within the range. The realm of civil discourse is that we look, hey, what can we do to increase diversity? Are we doing too much?
Have we gone too far? Are we not going far enough? These are just reasonable questions I think we can have. But that’s not what happened. We didn’t actually have a discussion. There was no public debate and there certainly was no internal debate within these major institutions. It just happened. (Chuckles)
It happened the way social contagions happened, reflexively, without any real discussion or thought. I think there were some precedents for it. I think the diversity movement of the early 90s laid some groundwork for it, and I don’t know how old you are, but I was working in newspapers back then and the effort was different, the tone was different.
There was this recognition that the country was becoming more demographic. The demography of the country was changing quite a bit. And people said, okay, what can we do about this? How can we make this work for us? How can we maximize human potential?
There were these kinds of meetings and workshops and companies and corporations. What can we do to get the most out of an increasingly diverse country? The effort was not a moralistic or righteous effort. It was about optimizing value.
Chapman: I would propose it was actually an unrighteous effort. This is Gary. You said a minute ago, what could it do for us? I believe that’s exactly what the motivation was. I think it was all about control. I don’t think it really had anything to do with enhancing the quality of our culture at all. I don’t.
Hackett: What years are you talking about? I’m talking about the early 90s. We have a wealth of this great ethnic rich diversity in this country. How can companies and institutions of all kinds make the most of that? And I think, you know, it was really about optimizing potential.
Leahy: So this is fascinating. I’m looking at your story, a very well-done story, by the way. Listen to this. A woman by the name of Tabby Chavous who is the University of Michigan’s top diversity officer. Now it’s in your story so you know the answer to this.
I’m going to ask the question and just leave it hanging there just for a second so our audience can think about this. It shows her annual salary. I’ll let our audience think for a moment. What do you think the annual salary of the University of Michigan’s top diversity officer is? And the answer is $380,000. Thomas that’s a good gig if you can get it!
Chapman: She must be very, very good at it.
Leahy: She’s very diverse, apparently.
Chapman: Yes, absolutely.
Leahy: How did that happen? How did the industrial diversity complex develop so that you can make $380,000 a year talking about diversity?
Hackett: You asked how she got it. I don’t know how she got it, but one thing that’s worth noting is the person who had the job before her was her husband who made $431,000 a year. (Laughter)
Leahy: That’s obviously sexist.
Chapman: That’s embarrassing. That’s embarrassing.
Hackett: These people are paid more than university presidents at a lot of places. In most places.
Leahy: What do they do? What do they do Thomas?
Hackett: Yes, that’s a question. That’s a question I kept trying to ask and not getting very satisfying answers. They have a lot of meetings. I’m not sure they don’t teach and they don’t do research. If you want to complain about leftist liberal professors, but those people are teaching.
They’re going into the classroom, they’re preparing lectures, they’re grading papers, they’re meeting with students, and they’re also at research universities. They’re producing research. Whatever you think of the quality of the research, they’re having to do it.
There’s pressure on them to do that. So they’re actually doing the work of scholars. Again, we can talk about whether this is worthwhile work or whether there are other ways or some perverse incentives there, but they are doing that work. With the diversity bureaucrats or administrators at universities, it’s simply not clear what they’re doing.
Leahy: They’re virtue signaling, I guess, right? They’re writing virtue-signaling manuals and telling all the faculty and students what they can and cannot do. Let me ask you this broader question. The question is why so many of them are white.
Hackett: The question is why so many of them are white.
Hackett: If you say, okay, everybody needs to write a diversity statement now to get hired. That didn’t take 167 people to make that statement.
Leahy: I could do it in half an hour.
Hackett: Right. I am mystified about what they do. I do think they throw their weight around quite a bit.
Leahy: Oh, yes, they do.
Chapman: I thought it wasn’t about control.
Hackett: They go into the office…
Chapman: I thought it wasn’t about control. They throw their weight, do they?
Hackett: What does a plumber go and do? Well, you can go watch him. We can go watch what he does. It’s clear what he’s his work is. What does a dentist do?
Leahy: Fixes your teeth. (Chapman chuckles)
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed 2nd Vote Advisors Dan Grant in studio to explain how banks, Congress, and Democrats are colluding to create a barrier for new competition through legal legislation.
Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend Andy Ogles, mayor of Maury County, and also Dan Grant, head of 2nd vote Advisors. Andy, I just want to bring you in here for a second. What do you think of all this stuff he’s talking about here?
Ogles: Well, it’s amazing because I think people do want options. They want choices because so many of these corporations are going woke and you’ve got your banks now that are leveraging their resources to work against We the People.
Leahy: It’s crazy. They’re trying to crush small businesses by putting all these regulations, all these ESG regulations that cost money. And it’s a barrier to entry to new competition. And it’s anti-American. And that’s what Larry Fink and BlackRock and all these Democrats running in Congress and the regulators are trying to do Dan.
Grant: And that’s the goal. So let me tell you a little bit about how they’re trying to do it. So the banks are all announcing that they’re joining the Partnership for Carbon Financial Accounting right now.
Leahy: I got a headache already. Carbon accounting? Is that a new kind of accounting?
Grant: Is that going to impact Tennesseeans? And I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely going to do it. And this is how they’re doing it. So 110 of the largest banks in the world have joined this.
The third had their press release a couple of months ago. And basically what they’re doing is they are reporting the carbon footprint of their customers, of their loan portfolios.
Leahy: Of their customers.
Grant: Of their customers.
Leahy: It’s none their business.
Grant: So what they’re doing as an industry group is they’re saying, okay, this customers carbon footprint we do not like. They are going to raise the pricing of those loans. And ultimately what they’re going to do is…
Leahy: Is that legal?
Grant: It’s legal. And they’re doing it. And ultimately, what they’re going to do is they are going to throw these companies out of the bank. Well, you can sit there and hear that and say there are 4,500 banks in this country, big deal.
They’re going to go to a smaller, medium-sized bank. And I would say, au contraire mon frere. That is not going to happen. Because what they’re doing is these ESG regulations.
Leahy: ESG. Environmental, social governance. Translation, left-wing junk.
Grant: Right. So the Partnership for Carbon Financial Accounting, this industry group is voluntary for these large banks.
Leahy: Like we’re talking Bank of America, we’re talking Wells Fargo. We’re talking to all these big banks where most people do their banking.
Grant: So what they’re doing is they are doing the societal good. They’re raising loan pricing on bad companies with high carbon footprints and throwing them out of the bank.
Leahy: This is anti-free market! Didn’t Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand of the market and it’s that invisible hand that ends up in the best good for all the economy. Andy, I see you wanted to jump in here on this. You’re a free-market guy, right?
Grant: That’s not what they’re saying to Congress. I can promise you, these banks are not going to Congress saying exactly what you said. What they’re saying to Congress is we are doing this for the good of society.
These customers we’ve thrown out of the bank are going to small and mid-sized banks now. Those money-grubbing midsized companies are not looking out for the greater good of society.
They need to be regulated. So what is voluntary at the large corporate level is regulatory at the small and mid-size companies.
Leahy: Are those regulations in effect now?
Grant: The House just passed the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act.
Leahy: Okay, let me just say whenever the Democrats pass a law that says X, you can be sure that it’s actually going to accomplish not X. That’s an example.
Grant: No, no, no. Maxine Waters was out there last week disagreeing with you, Michael. And she said, “It is surprising that to this day, there are no explicit ESG requirements and our investors are left to piece together the story of a company’s material risk with insufficient information.”
And I will tell you, if there is a material risk to any publicly traded company, it must be disclosed. I’ve been doing nothing but working with the SEC and attorneys for years on these ETS’s.
And if there’s a material risk, it needs to be in writing. But Maxine Waters, she’s here to help. She’s from the government. And she’s going to tell you that there is a whole new risk cloud out there that you need to be aware of.
Leahy: And the government needs to regulate it.
Grant: That’s right.
Leahy: And in other words, crush small businesses, small banks. That’s the plan. This is scary. Now for those listeners who want to do something about it, one of the things they can do is they can buy your ETFs.
Leahy: Exchange-traded funds. Now walk me through it. We talked about one, which is like the Second Amendment. Let’s talk about the pro-Second Amendment fund. Describe what that fund invests in.
Grant: There’s a corporate scale of one to 5, 1 and two Liberal, 3 neutral, four or 5 conservatives. And what we’ve done, we’ve rated all publicly traded companies, and we stick to mid and large-caps. So larger U.S. companies, nothing small-cap for now.
Leahy: When you say a mid-cap company, that would be a company with maybe half a billion in sales?
Grant: It’s more market cap driven.
Leahy: Market value?
Grant: So it would probably be 2 billion and up.
Leahy: In value. That’s a mid-cap. So anything 2 billion and up is something that we would consider.
Leahy: So my company Star News Digital Media would not be a mid-cap company.
Grant: You’d probably be a large-cap. (Laughter) A 100 billion and up.
Leahy: We will be a mid-cap company someday. (Laughs)
Grant: It’s mostly intangible unfortunately for you but highly valued nonetheless. We’ve rated these companies on a scale of one to five. And we’ve done that on issues that conservatives care about.
The First Amendment, Second Amendment, and life. And that is how we issue our security. We have a Second Amendment fund and it’s not necessarily companies that are out there supporting the Second Amendment.
Leahy: It’s companies that aren’t hurting it.
Grant: Aren’t hurting it.
Leahy: The rating would be either three neutral?
Grant: Three or four or five are going to be eligible.
Leahy: Now, there are 1500 companies that you look at?
Grant: So the S&P 500 is a large-cap. There are 400 that are mid-cap. So we look at the S&P 900 for our funds.
Leahy: Of those 900 how many are three, four, or five on the ratings?
Grant: I would say about 600, probably.
Leahy: That many? I’m surprised.
Grant: 90 percent of those are neutral.
Leahy: A three.
Grant: So there are very few companies that would rate a four or five to give you a sense.
Leahy: Do you invest in three, four, and fives?
Grant: We invest in three, four, and five.
Leahy: So I want to buy this. So what do I do?
Grant: Let’s say you have an E-Trade account or a Robin Hood Account You put in the ticker symbol EGIS.
Leahy: So I go to EGIS.
Grant: That’s right.
Leahy: I want to buy it because I like what you’re doing. How much does it cost?
Grant: So the share price today is probably about $30 a share.
Leahy: So I could buy one share for $30.
Grant: And if you didn’t like it the next day, you could sell it. It is a very liquid stock. You’re not buying it and you’re stuck with it.
Leahy: So I could buy today.
Grant: You can buy it today.
Leahy: One share for 30 bucks or more. And it’s liquid.
Grant: That’s right.
Leahy: But it’s liquid. It’s improved, hasn’t it? If I would have bought this when you started this, where was it?
Grant: So we launched the two funds publicly on November 18. By the end of the first quarter, Egis was up 20.8 percent compared to the S&P 500 at 10.7. And the other fund, LYFE which is a fund that supports life, obviously pro-life. The ticker LYFE, it was up the point versus the S&P 500 at 10.7 points, I think.
Leahy: And you got more of these coming, right?
Grant: We do. We’re launching more funds.
Leahy: When you launch the next one, tell us. But I think what I’m gonna do, I think I’m going to go after the show and I’m going to go buy myself some EGIS.
Grant: That would be great.
Leahy: That’s what I think I’m going to do. And we’ll track it. I think it’s going to do well personally.
Grant: We don’t have to be the size of Larry Fink to be effective. A guy like me can call a lot of these companies and say, hey, we are an owner.
Leahy: You know, one thing that I don’t like that’s going on in Congress right now is the efforts that a lot of these companies that are influenced by Larry Fink’s ESG left-wing junk are then sending letters to Congress.
Andy, we saw this story at The Tennessee Star today. Over 70 companies signed a progressive groups letter supporting the ‘For the People Act.’ Tell us why that struck a nerve with you.
Ogles: This For the People Act has to do with voting.
Leahy: By the way, let me just say they name it the For the People Act. But the real name is the Political Corruption Act.
Ogles: That’s right. They stole an election, and now we have all these audits going on. And so what’s plan B what’s plan C? How else can we try to influence elections? And so what these 70 companies are trying to remove, you have to be able to prove who you are to vote.
And it names race as an issue. But it says, working-class people. They say this in their press release are barriers to voting. Now, wait a second. If you’re working class, I’m assuming that you have a job. In order to get open a bank account, you need identification.
To have utilities, you need identification. All the basic things that we have to do day in and day out require a Photo ID. So why wouldn’t when you go vote, you’d be required to have a photo ID. Because you know what?
I want to make sure that my vote as Andy is cast by me. And so if someone just shows up at the ballot box and says, well, I’m Andy, and I want to vote, I want to be able to them to turn them away.
And so this idea that this is a barrier to voting is nothing more than more this virtue signaling and PC have gone awry.
Leahy: Dan Grant, head of 2ndvoteadvisers.com with these ETS. Electronic exchange-traded funds.
Leahy: See this is the guy that’s been doing this for a while. I stumbled through exchange-traded funds. Okay, so that’s one thing you do.
Listen to the third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed creator of the Huey Report and direct mail expert, Craig Huey, in-studio who identified a coalition of left-wing groups in Nashville actively organizing to get out the vote for Democrats.
Leahy: In studio with us, Craig Huey. The man who’s leading the charge against the Californication and the Georgiafication of Tennessee. Craig, during the break, you told me about an effort to oppose this referendum that will roll back for a 34 percent property tax increase. It’s a coalition of lefties called Save Nashville Now?
Huey: Yes it’s called Save Nashville Now. And basically, what it is, it’s left-wing groups and the Chamber of Commerce.
Leahy: Which is now a left-wing group.
Huey: And the unions.
Leahy: This is like a match made in hell.
Huey: Right. It’s terrible. Lots of money, lots of organization, a lot of political consultants telling them how to get out the vote, how to identify their voter, and get it out.
Leahy: This referendum to roll back the 34 percent property tax increase that our tinpot dictator Mayor John Cooper, that’s my friendly name for him and his left-wing minions on the Metro Council passed. There is a referendum that the Davidson County Election Commission scheduled now to be on the ballot on July 27.
There are, in fact, several legal efforts to stop that. Our friend Jim Roberts says they’re not going to succeed. He thinks it’ll be on the ballot. I think he’s probably right. That’s going to be voted on July 27th. Now, this alliance out of hell from the Chamber of Commerce and the unions and these left-wing groups are funded by the Democrat National Committee and other usual left-wing billionaires. They’re putting together a big campaign to oppose this rollback. Tell us who the left-wing groups are.
Huey: The left-wing groups include Equity Alliance.
Leahy: You know, (Huey chuckles) nothing says left-wing social justice like the Equity Alliance. I think this guy who’s involved in it was a former member of the Community Oversight Board who was a convicted felon and resigned suddenly. I think he may be affiliated with that group.
Huey: It’s a left-wing organization that’s dedicated to the mobilization of the voters. And then Stand Up Nashville, which, again, they’re trained on how to register and get out the vote.
Leahy: So Stand Up Nashville has been around for a while. Isn’t that this group that kind of held up the soccer stadium guys and got, like, $100 million community benefits agreement.
Huey: And part of what they do are these lawsuits and legal actions. They have a team of lawyers. That’s part of their strategy because they know it works as intimidation.
Leahy: And they basically threaten lawsuits against the soccer state guys. And again, that itself was a bad deal. But nonetheless, taxpayers are footing the bill for that. And then they gave a whole bunch of money in this. It’s kind of like a community development arrangement or something like that. Community benefit agreements are what I think it is. They got around one million bucks to play around with.
Huey: Well, see, here’s the thing. They are going to put together an organization to defeat this initiative. The people who want to pass this initiative, the business owners. I mean, I’m a small business owner. And the fact that I moved to Nashville, not knowing I was going to be hit with this extra tax, that’s horrific.
Leahy: So if you had perfect information when you moved from California you would have set your offices up, not in Nashville, but probably in Williamson County?
Huey: I don’t want to get anybody upset with me, but I will speak the truth and that is I tell companies in California all the time, move to Tennessee, and I tell them, don’t go to Davidson County. Don’t go to Nashville. You have to go outside. And that’s because of what Cooper has done.
Leahy: Yeah. Don’t you wish somebody told you that? (Laughter)
Huey: Yes. But I’ve got a lease.
Leahy: You got a lease. (Huey chuckles) Downtown Nashville, a lot of good things about downtown Nashville.
Huey: I love it. I love it. I’m in a historic building. We got everything we need.
Leahy: But you’re gonna get pain. You are going to get dinged.
Huey: I’m going to see the initiative passes. There’s a group called Speak Up Tennessee. You’re going to see them involved in this too because they understand how to mobilize the voters with data and identification.
Leahy: Where does all this money come from? It just says that this is sort of a truism. But I’ll just tell it to everybody. If you are a conservative nonprofit group and you are trying to raise money, lots of luck because it’s going to be, you know, it’s really something. It’s hard to do it because the reason it’s hard to do is that the wealthy people on the right just aren’t generous. But there are exceptions.
Huey: There are exceptions, yes.
Leahy: But on the left, they are going to give you tons of money.
Huey: Because they’re trying to transform America.
Huey: The government is our God. Their religion is to be able to expand the coercive power of the state over the lives of the individual. They want to take away individual freedom. And they basically want to have an elite control of us.
And the fact is, they are dedicated to donating these groups between foundations. And the Chamber of Commerce is involved in this. You’ve got these business elites and top corporations doing this against the small business owner.
Leahy: As a graduate of a top business school, I can say this. If you think that most Fortune 500 companies support free markets, you are dead wrong. They want monopolies.
Leahy: They want power.
Huey: They want favors.
Leahy: And they structure it so that they can maintain those favors. And as a result, they end up getting barriers to entry. All sorts of small monopolies. They want to crush small business guys. There’s no question about that. You’ve experienced it your whole career.
Huey: All my career I’ve seen this happen and we’ve got to stop that in Nashville.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed retired attorney and blog creator of Misrule of Law Mark Pulliam to the newsmakers line to outline some aspects of his recent essay regarding nullification in dealing with the Biden-Harris administration.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmakers line now by our good friend, California refugee, retired attorney, and blogger at Lawliberty.org from East Tennessee, Mark Pulliam, Good morning, Mark.
Pulliam: Good morning Michael.
Leahy: Mark, first, before we jump into the topic at hand, which is, I think, an excellent essay that you’ve written about nullification, which some people are talking about as an option in dealing with the legal but not legitimate Biden-Harris maladministration. I just want to get your reaction to the big story over the weekend. Major League Baseball decides to punish the state of Georgia for passing a common-sense election law that will make it easy to vote but hard to cheat. They’ve moved the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia. What do you make of that?
Pulliam: It’s bewildering and very concerning to see what’s happening. And I think that Major League Baseball is basically acting as the surrogate for the corporate sponsors that have gotten woke. Corporate America is a result of chasing after a consumer base that they view as having been indoctrinated and therefore susceptible to a social justice message.
And also the leadership of these corporations as a result of a generation or more of affirmative action. And then the top ranks have been infiltrated by woke social justice warriors, and corporate America is no longer concerned about making a profit for shareholders or providing a quality product for consumers. They are like a lot of other echelons of the ruling class pushing an agenda. So not even baseball is free of politics. It used to be. People would go to the ballpark to escape reality. And now it is just one more aspect of this all politics all the time.
Leahy: Yes. It’s utterly detestable to me as a baseball fan my entire life to see this ignorant politicization of the exercise of the constitutional privilege of the state of Georgia to determine their own election processes.
Pulliam: And based on a false narrative. The Georgia law, even after these changes, is no worse than the law of many other states. And then the hypocrisy of it where you have these NBA and baseball and nobody says a word about China. And China is off the charts in terms of human rights violations, lack of democracy, freedom, etc. On top of everything else, it’s cowardly and hypocritical.
Leahy: So I saw this funny meme late Friday night that said, Major League Baseball has announced they’re moving the site of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2021 from Atlanta, Georgia to Wuhan, China. And I thought that’s a funny meme. Then there was an article late that night at Breitbart: “MLB Expanding Presence in China While Pulling Out of Atlanta.” It’s incredible.
Pulliam: Well, you’ve got billions of consumers in China thanks to American trade policy that now are wealthy and in a position to purchase American goods. And corporate America shows where its loyalties are when it is chasing after profits in China over the interest of the American public.
Leahy: You know, back in the early 1690s Nikita Khrushchev, who at the time was the head of the Communist Party in the old Soviet Union said, capitalists, will sell us the rope with which we hang them. I’m paraphrasing that. And we thought, oh, my goodness, that might be the Soviet Union. It’s not so much the Soviet Union now. It’s Communist China.
Pulliam: Well, and he took his shoe and pounded it on the table and said, we will bury you! And that is, in fact, what China is doing. And at least back in the Cold War, Americans became concerned with Sputnik and realized that we were falling behind and we needed to catch up. Right now, people are so complacent about what’s going on with China, they still don’t care. There’s just very little in the way of public awareness or concern about this military and economic regression by the world’s largest, most populous, and increasingly dominant country.
Leahy: See, I’m not sure if I agree with that, Mark. I think people do care. But the way it manifests itself is perhaps not as productive as many of us would like. I think to some extent the lack of participation by Republicans and Conservatives in the Georgia Senate special election races because they were so upset about all of the electoral procedures that were not lawful in that state and we’re so upset with the way that the Republican establishment didn’t stand up for the rights of the average voter.
That led to anger which led to non-participation. But you’ve actually written a very interesting article for those of us who have a bit of a history bent about a concept that some states are looking into called nullification. First, tell us what nullification is and what the historical use of the term nullification has been.
Pulliam: Well, nullification is a term that has many meanings. At first, it recently got onto my radar screen because some of the conservative circles I travel in and it’s being offered up as a panacea solution that no matter what happens in Washington at the end of the day, the states and can simply refuse to go along with it and declare whatever happens in Washington to be invalid under the Tenth Amendment on the grounds that the states have the ability to determine what’s constitutional and what’s unconstitutional and we’re not handmaidens of the federal government.
Now that’s the most extreme use of the term. It’s been used and liberals have been using it for a long time to offer sanctuary to illegal aliens and to legalize certain drugs like marijuana that are prohibited at the federal level. And if you go back far enough all the way back to the late 1700s it was used as a way for the states to express opposition to federal laws like the Alien and Sedition Acts.
And the more recent advocates of nullification are using the earlier precedents, the 1798 precedent, and then also in the 1830s when South Carolina was objecting to federal tariff laws and was threatening to refuse to comply with these federal tariff laws. They are using those precedents to show that, yes, the states can defy federal law. The problem with those arguments is that never before in American history have states actually defied federal authority with the Alien and Sedition Acts.
It was basically an elaborate protest that ultimately led to, among other things, Thomas Jefferson who became President in 1800 and who contributed to Congress repealing this objectionable Alien and Sedition Act. And in the 1830s, South Carolina ultimately rescinded its nullification ordinance where they were threatening to defy federal law, in part because President Andrew Jackson was saying that if you try that, we will use military force to crush you. And then also, some of the more recent proponents look back and find comforting words in the Federalist Papers to show that the framers agreed that the states could thumb their nose at the federal government if they disagreed with policies.
Leahy: We’ve been talking about the concept of nullification. So, Mark, we’ve talked about the history of it. Where is it now? And why do some people think this is a good idea?
Pulliam: I think people always look for easy, simple solutions, and we are facing unprecedented challenges with what’s going on in Washington. But people should focus on the long run, not the short run. There are no easy solutions. Politics is hard work, and it takes a sustained effort to turn things around. When we’ve seen the Tenth Amendment tried to be used as a magical solution, it didn’t work.
The massive resistance to integration in the 50s. The Tenth Amendment didn’t work for the South when they tried to secede. So people, instead of getting all wrapped up in nullification efforts and passing laws that somehow there will be a magical defense against federal overreaching. They need to be on the phone pushing their representatives in Congress to oppose the Biden-Harris agenda tooth and nail and to use every procedural device to obstruct and delay, just like Chuck Schumer did during four years of the Trump presidency.
And we need to exhort our state attorney’s general to challenge each and every one of these unconstitutional laws if Congress lacks the will to oppose it. And we can’t lose focus that in the long run, people need to devote their energies where they can make a difference. And that’s at the state and local level. And so citizens need to be more vigilant than ever in becoming engaged in their communities and make sure that we are electing the right people to the City Councils, to the school boards, and partisan and non-partisan offices.
People need to be getting involved in their local Republican parties and become citizen activists. And that is how we’re going to turn the ship around. Not by passing magical laws as somehow if we pass them will immunize us from the effects of what’s going on in Washington. That has historically proven to be an illusory solution.
Leahy: So let me play devil’s advocate here. Okay, so step one is to tell your representatives to oppose the agenda of Biden-Harris. Well, they are opposing it right now, but they’re not succeeding, at least in the House of Representatives, because there’s a slight majority, and every single Democrat walks in lockstep with anything Nancy Pelosi wants to do.
There’s not a single constitutionalist among any elected federal Democrat that I can see. And then in the Senate, it’s 50/50 and any tie can be broken by Kamala Harris. Look, you know what’s going to happen. The big deal right now is this Corrupt Politicians Act, otherwise called by the Democrats the Fair Practices Act, something like that. HR1, S1, which is basically going to nationalize federal elections and make it impossible if it were to pass and be implemented to elect Republicans because they’re going to codify the cheating that was done in 2020 and make it even worse.
So when we play Devil’s advocate here, I don’t think that the House is very effective at stopping the unconstitutional laws being passed by the Pelosi-led House. I think Schumer is going to pull every trick in his bag of tricks to jam through this unconstitutional HR1 and then it will be the law of the land. So when that happens, what’s your response to that?
Pulliam: Well, the House has always been a simple majority wins body. Democrats have the majority there and they can pass anything they want, and they have passed virtually anything they want. And this stuff is always stacked up where the log jam occurs in the Senate. And the Senate is not a simple majority-run institution.
We have a very powerful impediment to the majority, imposing its will in the minority with the filibuster rule where it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture to stop debate so effectively at the present time and this has been the rule for 100 years that it takes 60 votes to make anything happen in the Senate. And what we have to do is make sure that our Republican senators do not lose the resolve to vote no on all of these bills.
And there’s a whole list of them. HR1, the ProAct, the Quality Act, the statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. All these trillion-dollar stimulus bills. There’s a long laundry list of bills that would be disastrous if they were passed. In addition to the filibuster rule, there are all kinds of other procedural rules where you can extend debate. You can delay votes, et cetera. And this is why President Trump, even though he got a lot of federal judges confirmed, a lot of them weren’t confirmed because it took so long to get a vote on each one of these judges.
And we need to use those rules to our advantage, just like the Democrats did when they were in the minority. And so we need not only Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty because I think they’re pretty solid but the entire cadre of conservative Republican Senators Rand Paul, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and the whole cast of characters know that basically, they are the line between us and progressive hegemony in Washington, and we expect them to fight and to fight hard to keep this agenda from being enacted.
Leahy: But, Mark, they’re going to fight. All 50 Republicans are going to oppose this Corrupt Politician Act that makes it easy for Democrats to cheat and nationalize the elections and gives them extra money from the federal government to cheat. That’s basically what that law does. They’re going to oppose it. I promise you that you’re gonna see some shenanigans going on on the Democratic side. They’re going to do a filibuster carve out. They’re going to do reconciliation. That bill is better than 50/50 that it’s gonna pass using those shenanigans.
Pulliam: Well, I certainly hope you’re wrong, because if the filibuster is breached, then we do have a serious problem. But in that case, these nullification arguments, some of them boil down to simple civil disobedience. How did civil disobedience work out at Ruby Ridge? How did civil disobedience work out at Waco?
It’s not a viable strategy. Look at what happened at the capital on January sixth. We cannot expect that simply by resisting this agenda, that somehow we’re going to prevail and some of these other things that are being proposed, that would pass a law that would create a sanctuary. All of the sanctuary states can up to a point, refuse to cooperate with the federal government, but you cannot prevent the federal government from enforcing federal law.
So I think patriots need to work harder than ever to fight this through legitimate means, through the political process, and through the courts. And I think that a lot of these bills that are being proposed by Biden-Harris that even if they pass, they’re going to be vulnerable to constitutional challenges. And this is why litigation will be important.
I know a lot of people have lost their confidence in the Supreme Court as a result of the election, but I think that we still have a sound originalist majority on the Supreme Court. And if some of these bills pass, they will be vulnerable to challenge. And we have to rely on our state attorney general to fight those battles in court, and in the long run, I think they will prevail.
Leahy: Yeah, but I understand what you’re arguing. I understand your nullification. I understand all of your arguments. I’m just looking at the reality. I would say the odds that the Senate will pass this Corrupt Politicians Act that federalizes all elections throughout the states, which is unconstitutional in itself.
But I think the odds that the Senate actually passes it on 50 to 50 with Kamala Harris providing the tiebreaker by some carve out of the filibuster. The odds that happens in the next 30 days, I think are better than 50/50. So let me pose this question to you. Okay, this law passes. They begin to codify the federalization of state laws.
You start filing challenges in court. That’s a bit of a toss-up it seems to me. Why don’t you think about that a little bit Mark over the break because I think that this is where we’re headed, and I don’t think that just asking senators to pretty please work hard against it is going to be sufficient. So think about that.
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