How to Elect a “Constitutional” Congress

W. Cleon Skousen. How to Elect a “Constitutional” Congress. 1982.

The next two U.S. elections may turn out to be the most critical American elections in the twentieth century.

America, like Great Britain of just a few years ago, is approaching her point of no return. Great Britain failed to heed a timely warning and it wasn’t long before her people became so dependent on government planning and government handouts that the English felt individually threatened almost to the point of panic if anyone suggested that Britain turn back from socialism and reach out toward the success formula of the past — based on individual freedom.

The failure of England to turn back in time resulted in a shattered standard of living and national bankruptcy. Americans tried to help by taking over the major burden of Britain’s national defense and by loaning or granting her billions in aid just as we have done for all. the rest of Europe’s socialist nations. But it has been an impossible task. Socialism, as a system of economics, has a built-in self destruct.

Time Is Running Out on America

And now Americans can hear the ticking of the same time-bomb on their own shores. Big spending politicians and federal bureau chiefs who dominate the gold coast of Washington D.C. are hauling out every conceivable device from their Fabian bag of tricks to deceive the American people into one more round of Harry Hopkin’s famous socialist nostrum of “tax, tax — spend, spend — elect, elect!”

America’s only hope of reversing this tidal wave of naked power is to implement and strengthen the ranks of those Constitution-oriented Congressmen and Senators who have been trying to hold the line in Washington. Some of them are Democrats and some of them are Republicans. We call them the Constitutional Coalition. Americans can no longer depend upon party labels to decide political issues because the choice is no longer between Democrats and Republicans. It is between Constitutionalism and socialism. Constitutionalists should be supported in whichever party they happen to be affiliated.

The Key is Congress

The Constitution made the United States Congress the seat of power as far as the people are concerned. No matter who is President, the picture cannot change substantially until Americans elect into the House and the Senate, a majority of men and women with ramrods down their spines who are unconditionally committed to the restoration of Constitutional principles in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

An Encouraging Trend

Based on the latest voting record from Washington, we discover that the Constitutional Coalition is getting closer to a majority. If we call Congressmen and Senators “Constitutionalists” who support the Constitution 70% of the time or more, then we only need 45 more Congressmen in the House to have a majority. In the Senate it will take 29 more to have a majority.

The important thing for Americans to realize is that we can win. We can turn it around. And we must also realize that failing to win would force upon the United States an intolerable option. It would simply give Americans a Xerox copy of Britain’s dying economy and threatened collapse.

The challenge is to turn the tide in the next two elections or the odds are at least ten-to-one that America will go through the wringer.

What Will It Take to Win?

The two greatest handicaps facing American Constitutionalists today are voter apathy and voter ignorance. Saving America and the Constitution depends to some extent on whether or not we succeed in penetrating these two chronically ailing areas of the body politic.

Voter apathy is tragically demonstrated in municipal elections where three-fourths of the people don’t vote. Even in all the excitement of a Presidential election, barely half of the people vote. This means that every President, Congressman and Senator as well as local and state officials are actually elected by a tiny minority of the eligible voters. President Carter was elected by the support of merely 25% of the eligible voters.

Therefore, the first task is to get citizens motivated in wanting to vote.

The next task is to get them to want information about the candidates and the issues. This means getting them sufficiently motivated to spend time in digging out or listening to the facts.

One of the most effective ways we have yet discovered to motivate apathetic voters is to have them attend the “Miracle of America” seminars. This is the Founders’ great story of the American Heritage and how they put together their remarkable success formula.

Few people can resist becoming involved once they catch the vision and spirit of the original Founding Fathers.

Some Interesting Political Statistics

One of the reasons many Americans get discouraged is because they can’t see how we can reach enough people in time. If we had to reach all of the people or even a majority of the people, the task would be monumental indeed.

But in view of the fact that only a fourth of the people vote in local elections and barely half of them vote in a Presidential election, here are some interesting political statistics:

To win in a local election you need only about 3% of the eligible voters who are trained and committed in order to influence enough friends and relatives to gain the support of a majority. In a Presidential election year, all you need is 3-5% of the eligible voters who are trained and committed workers in order to gain support of a majority of those who vote.

If you have ever worked in a successful political campaign you will have no difficulty understanding how few people it takes to really make the difference.

Learning How to Pick Constitutional Candidates

There are two basic steps in becoming adept in picking Constitutional candidates.

The first step is studying the Constitution yourself so you know a Constitutional principle when you see one and, conversely, recognize a threat to the Constitution when it arises. This is an exciting adventure in getting acquainted with the original thinking of the Founding Fathers. It is amazing how many of our modern problems were anticipated by the Founders. They even provided specific remedies for the solution of these problems because they had to solve many of them in their own day.

The second step is measuring each candidate against the Founding Fathers’ Constitutional frame of reference. No candidate can claim he is a Constitutionalist who has been voting for sky-rocketing taxation, deficit spending, financing of programs which violate States Rights, or using Federal bureaucracies to invade the privacy of individual citizens.

Of course, the question immediately arises, “How can I find out for sure how my Congressman or Senator has been voting?” That used to be difficult to ascertain, but not anymore. We now have a number of responsible groups in Washington carefully monitoring the voting record of both Congressmen and Senators on every significant Constitutional issue. The results are published at frequent intervals by these various organizations and several of them have granted permission to the Freemen Institute to re-publish their reports for general distribution at our seminars.

How About Candidates Who are Not Incumbents?

It is a little more difficult to check candidates who have never been in public office because we have no positive track record by ‘which they can be evaluated.

In these instances, we are compelled to resort to the ancient test of “witnesses.” We must find someone with Constitutional discernment who has checked out the candidate or who knows him personally. This was the Founders original idea behind the Electoral College. They felt that if responsible, experienced and politically astute persons were selected by each State to survey the candidates, we would be likely to get higher quality leaders. In other words, the selection would be based on the principle of “witnesses” rather than having the people vote blindly on the basis of campaign propaganda. Although the politicians have kept the Electoral College from functioning according to its original design, the philosophy of “witnesses” remains a sound one.

Discovering a Candidate’s Political Attitudes

The principal task in finding a Constitutionalist is identifying his or her basic political philosophy, as well as the candidate’s personal attitudes toward critical issues.

In the process one must avoid becoming puritanical and expect a candidate to vote perfectly every time. Even God has to work through imperfect human beings to accomplish his purposes, and the Bible assures us that God has had to be tremendously patient. The citizen can do no less. Occasionally, the best intentioned politician in existence will pull a blooper. The remedy is not to hate him. Just write him. It will help reduce the number of bloopers in the future. But all correspondence should be polite and respectful.

My experience is that sincere Constitutionalists genuinely appreciate a carefully prepared letter or telephone call pointing out respectfully how you think your distinguished Representative or Honorable Senator went wrong.


The whole tax structure is ten times higher than it should be, and this is true on all levels, federal, state, and local. There are a few exceptions in small towns and sparsely populated counties, but generally speaking the lawmakers across the nation have gone tax crazy.

A Constitutionalist will fight for the elimination of hundreds of unconstitutional, unnecessary and counter-productive programs on all fronts and demand a reduction on taxes in substantial chunks. He will resist any form of increase in taxes the same way he would resist the bubonic plague.


A Constitutionalist knows that deficit spending and government borrowing have proved a curse to the nation. The Federal interest which is being paid out each year on the national debt amounts to more than the total cost of World War I. The United States now owes more money than all the rest of the nations of the world combined, and this debt saddles a burden of several thousand dollars on every man, woman and child in the United States.

A Constitutionalist will categorically oppose any further effort to borrow or indulge in deficit spending in time of peace.


A Constitutionalist knows that inflation is the direct result of the government adding to the money supply faster than the goods and services being produced. As more and more, money chases after a proportionate amount of fewer goods and services, prices escalate, wages rise after costly strikes, savings shrink in buying power, insurance policies lose their value, and retired people are forced back on the work force in order to survive.

A government policy of inflation is a cruel, immoral device used by politicians to buy votes with Federal projects and services paid for with highly inflationary printing-press money. A Constitutionalist will hold down inflationary forces in every way possible.

The Sinking Dollar

A Constitutionalist knows that it is impossible to keep politicians from indulging in inflation unless the money system is tied to precious metals. Gold and silver are relatively stable in production and availability and, therefore, remain fairly constant in their intrinsic value. This is why they are so useful in backing up paper currency so that it will maintain relative stability in value.

It took the political master planners from 1934 to 1971 to get the United States completely off the gold and silver standard required by the Constitution. The results have been catastrophic. The sooner America backs her money with precious metal, the sooner America will restore stability to our economy and the hope of a promising future for the next generation.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the Environmental Protection Agency are both completely outside the original Constitution. Had it not been for the completely anti-Constitutional dictum of the Supreme Court in the 1936 Butler Case, both of these acts would never have seen the light of day.

A Constitutionalist will return all regulations of this nature back to the states unless a particular situation involves navigable streams or other areas of federal jurisdiction.

Interstate Commerce Commission

The federal government’s regulation of interstate commerce was never intended to fix prices, designate routes, grant monopolies, or do anything else except to insure the “free flow” of goods throughout the nation. Before President Carter initiated the deregulation of the trucking industry, one-third of America’s trucks traveled empty on their return trips because of the ICC regulations. Every railroad in the .nation faces bankruptcy because of overregulation by the ICC.

A Constitutionalist will work for the restoration of the Founders’ original concept.

Views of the Founding Fathers

Based on Madison’s Federalist Paper number 45, it is obvious how many counterproductive experiments of the government during the past forty years would have been rejected by the Founders. Madison said the individual states should have complete charge of everything “which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

Based on this general policy of the Founders, there are several hundred current government programs which they undoubtedly would have strongly opposed because of their unconstitutionality.

Are Constitutionalists Against Everything?

When Constitutionalists list all the things they oppose, there are those who say, “You’re too negative. You’re against everything!”

But the truth of the matter is this. The Constitutionalist is for everything which contributes to freedom, independence, human dignity and prosperity. But he opposes socialism. He is against everything which contributes to smothering taxation, excessive regulations, devouring inflation, a backbreaking national debt, a weakening of our security, or the strangling of our free-enterprise economy with mountains of unreasonable regulations.

In a very real sense, a Constitutionalist is like a physician. A doctor is so strongly for good health that he is categorically opposed to pneumonia, diphtheria, polio, scarlet fever, venereal disease, typhoid and anything else which would destroy human health and happiness.

The Founding Fathers were the political physicians of their day and now it is high time that we raise up millions of Americans who will take the time to become informed and become the healing political physicians of our own day.

It all begins with a careful study of the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers. When all else fails, read the instructions.

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