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Should the Modern Whig Party Endorse Garry Johnson for President?

The more I watch and listen to Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, I wonder should our party endorse such a candidate?  I say yes.  He may be a Libertarian but as far as the party goes we are not so different.  There are a few core differences but in the end I believe if you watch and listen to them you will find a team that most of us in the party would actually look forward to voting for.  They both have a proven record as Governors and were both reelected to the office.  I think they are worth listening too and I really hope they get to the 15% in the polling numbers so more Americans can see them in the debates.  It would be nice to actually vote for someone you want instead of picking the lesser of to evils.  (Sorry about the spelling in the title.  I couldn't get back in to fix it.)

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Should rationalizing politics be a Whig concern?

Human cognitive science makes it clear - politics is subjective, intuitive and far more irrational than not. Should the Whigs care about that? Is reasoned politics not an important concern?

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What is the direction that the Party is going/wants to go?

I encourage anyone to respond. I've personally read the principles and platform, but it is the platform I feel that really states exactly what is to be done. Ultimately I feel the Party needs to expand the platform with identifiable policy recommendations and then juxtapose what we propose versus the Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, and Republicans (and how we differ or concur with those other major/minor parties which the public may be more familiar with). And, have an explicit link to candidates who have won elections under the Party banner with what they have implemented as an example of our folks' efficacy in government. To answer this question specifically though, I find it difficult to exactly say where we're going or want to go. I appreciate that we are moderates and have a decidedly centrist attitude towards any political polarization. However, I think that does create difficulty for the casual observer to know where we really stand. As an example I'll use the foreign policy section of the platform: We could offer an official response to what we feel is the use of NATO, operations in Afghanistan, the crisis in Syria, etc. I purposely use the foreign policy section because I feel this should be a little more "clear cut" to explain for moderates as opposed to the Affordable Care Act. Again, I understand the ambiguity for some domestic problems, but if there are areas where we can be more specific and the public can understand exactly what we mean then let's do that. On the other hand though, the education section of the platform has a greater amount of planks than almost any other, so I feel we should at least bring all others to that point. Ultimately both major parties have over 100 planks and I feel we can match and easily overtake that, with well researched and debated policy proposals (which have been voted on in a convention). The more we more offer people the better. And I hope this doesn't seem like rambling.

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The Loyal Opposition

Given that Donald J. Trump is almost certainly our next president, I believe it's more important than ever for all moderates, centrists, reasonable liberals and sensible conservatives to join together in a loyal opposition. Because only by speaking with a loud and unified voice can we hope to blunt the damage this man--and I use the term loosely--could cause to our country and our world. To that end, I propose we start a discussion on the best way to build that opposition. I think at minimum we need a better communications platform to get our word out. We also need to work out some means for people to debate issues in a controlled fashion (like local debating societies or citizen assemblies) so that the people can find and build on common ground. I'm not sure blog posts are adequate for that purpose. This isn't about building a third party movement anymore. It's about the future of this Republic and its people. Trump cannot be allowed to govern unchallenged. With Congress in Republican hands, only an organized, active, and extremely vocal citizenry can provide that challenge.

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Focus on the Federal Budget

The federal debt is not being talked about much in this campaign for the presidency. Why not? Should there be more focus on it? How do we get to a balanced budget and pay down the debt? Right now, as of July 2016 the gross national debt is $19.48 trillion, about 104% of GDP. Here is a little history: In the 1930’s, during the height of the depression we ran deficits of between 0.1% and 5.8% of GDP; during WWII we had deficits as high as 29.6% of GDP, but we also had surpluses from 1947 thru 1949; in the 1950’s we had deficits that averaged 1.04% of GDP and the debt was 92% of GDP, but we also had surpluses from 0.7% to 1.9% of GDP; in the 1960’s we had deficits that ran an average of 1% of GDP and a debt that was 54.3% of GDP; in the 1970’s deficits ran an average of 2.1% the debt was 36.3% of GDP; in the 1980’s deficits ran an average of 3.8% the debt was 32.5% of GDP; in the 1990’s deficits ran an average of 2.88% of GDP with two years of 1.05% surplus and the debt was 54.5% of GDP; in 2000 and 2001 we had surpluses an average of 1.75% of GDP; from 2002 thru 2009 we had deficits that ran an average of 3.3% of GDP the debt was 55.5%; from 2010 thru 2015 we have had average deficits of 7.3% and debt was 91.4%, deficits have dropped back down to about 3% of GDP in 2014 and 2015 but debt was 102% of GDP. Numbers alone don’t give us a clear picture of the effects the economy has on the federal budget. For example, after WWII the economy grew very rapidly at around 10%, today it is a very anemic 1.2%. Tax rates are the other important part of the equation. For example, during WWII and the Korean War individual tax rates were as high as 91% with 24 tax brackets. Today the highest rate is 39.9% with seven tax brackets. The dilemma is, do you cut taxes or increase taxes in order to pay down the debt? It’s obvious that the high tax rates after WWII quickly brought down the debt and annual deficit, but there are two problems with trying to raise taxes today. One is, the economy is not growing as fast as it was after WWII. The second is that, after WWII the country was still pulling together as one, and people understood that the taxes were necessary. Today, businesses are demanding lower tax rates because the rates in most other countries are lower, and Democrats want to increase taxes to expand social services. That poses a political challenge. In the long run, lower rates eventually raise revenue, but would that raise enough revenue to lower the debt? Republicans want to slash taxes and regulations to get the economy moving, and eventually want to balance the budget; Democrats want more social spending and higher taxes but offer no plan for paying down the debt, that is clearly not practical. I think the real solution would be to raise taxes for a few years, make some spending cuts while increasing spending for the military and infrastructure along with cutting regulations. The problem is I don’t see the leadership needed to pull the country together to accomplish that.

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Ranked Choice Voting

It looks like Maine is going to adopt Question 5: Ranked Choice Voting Do you want to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?

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Whig Party Goals

I would love to see some discussion on goals for the party. I signed up and signed a petition, but I have no idea on where the party is going and what to do next. What am a volunteering to do if I sign up? How can I sell this party to those who think that the two party system is here to stay? Here are a few suggestion to provoke a conversation (I know eventually there will be a place to discuss strategy...). 1. Focus on recruiting well know moderate Republicans and Democrats to the Modern Whig Party and promising to fund them in their next election. 2. Increase the size of the Modern Whig party to 100,000 members. 3. Run advertising commercials in states that Presidential candidates are campaigning in. The narrative should be demonstrating that the Republicans and Democrats together have broken American. The right has pushed the financial deregulation on the right which led to the Saving and Loans crisis in the 80s and the crash in 2008. The left in turn pushed house ownership which helped lead to a bubble in the housing market. The left in turn has continually pushed the growth of entitlement programs etc. 4. Get Modern Whig hosting shows on talk radio. 5. Try to get five homegrown Modern Whigs elected each election cycle. 6. The strategy for the Whig party should be to be a powerful minority that can swing the vote on important issues. 7. Open up 100 Whig party clubs on college campuses in the next two years. 8. Have bumper stickers. 9. Try to attract a few household names to the party. 10. Connect to centrist think tanks.

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An interesting article regarding income taxes from my daily reading.

I came across this article on the New York Times website during my daily review of national news. Use the link below to read the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/upshot/carly-fiorina-shows-us-just-how-weird-americas-tax-system-is.html?WT.mc_id=2015-JULY-OUTBRAIN-UPSHOT_AUD_DEV-0701-0731&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=AUDDEVREMARK&abt=0002&abg=1 Now I have long been a proponent of either modifying or abolishing Federal Income Tax to either simplify the system (like a flat tax) or turn the cost of government over to the states in proportion to their populations (using census data), but obviously, certain things need to be worked out. This article seems to support the idea that our tax system needs an overhaul. What are your views?

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Dues or no dues, that is the question...

In any organization's life, there comes a time where that organization must eventually transition from an informal structure to a formal one. During this transition, finances are one issue, as well as formal membership. The Modern Whig Party has reached this juncture. I would put forward that the party needs to establish formal membership, and that party dues are a necessary part of this. At present, while we have many hard working individuals all trying to accomplish rational political goals, we do not have a clear dividing line between those who are "in" the party, and those who, as on Face Book just "like" us. It seems a common sense matter, that the direction and operation of the party needs to be determined by members. It also seems a common sense matter, that members need to be identified by a certain level of commitment. While volunteerism, and participation in discussions do indicate commitment, they are hard to quantify. Money on the other hand is fairly simple to quantify. Money is also one of the key fuels in politics, and the lack of it is one of the biggest barriers to political growth. So given that we need money, and given that we need a way to determine who is and who is not a member of the party, dues make sense. Dues indicate a commitment to the party, provide the necessary financial means for growth of the party, and minimum level of support for the party's activities. Further, given that the party, in many areas of the country, has not yet grown to a level where state or regional structures can yet exist to handle finances, it makes sense that a certain portion of dues and donations paid be reserved for the state organizations responsible for party activities in the areas that such funds originated from, and that the national party treasury hold such funds for those states and manage the funds in such a way as to insure their use for party development in the states themselves. With this in mind, I propose that there be a $25 annual dues structure adopted for party membership, and that of that $25, $5 dollars be reserved for use within the state that the member is from. Further, I propose that the same 20% rate be used for all donations to the party, and that 20% be also reserved for use within the state that the donation originates from. By doing this, we can identify our membership, determine who can and cannot vote on party policy and platform matters, and eventually who can vote in party caucuses for candidate selection. We can also raise needed funds for operating costs, and for party development at both state and national levels. I don't think $25 is too much to ask. In this day and age, that is only about the cost of burger and fries for two. I don't fear that we will drive people away, because if someone is unwilling to pay party dues, they really are unwilling to commit to joining the party in the first place. The equivalent of Face Book "likes" do not equate to membership. Before we can move forward, we really do need to know who is actually with us. ---- Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET) MWP Director of Veterans and Active Duty Affairs

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Is this the end of civilization as we know it? From my daily read, 12/1/2015

Sometimes, as I go through my daily ritual of scanning the news feeds, I get that deep feeling of unease that I imagine the last Roman Centurian standing atop Hadrian's Wall had, as he looked back over his shoulder toward Rome and saw.... nothing but chaos and anarchy. I spent decades in the military defending the Nation. I've spent nearly 20 years working in the Department of Corrections. I'm just going to tell you that there is a plague running rampant through society which is destroying our educational system and threatening the very roots of democracy in this country. When people think that they can resort to legal action just because someone else's religion or opinion offends them, when popularity becomes more important than truth or fact, when "entitlement" displaces responsibility, duty, or rationality, it's all over folks. Life isn't intrinsically fair. Some people will do better than others. The Whig Philosophy is one of meritocracy. If you are willing to work harder, longer, smarter, study more, apply yourself more diligently, then you do deserve to reap the benefits of your efforts. This is what is meant when we refer to the United States as a land of opportunity. In my reading today, I came across this article on the NBC News website, wherein Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Dr. Everett Piper makes these points quite eloquently. Since when have we turned our institutions of higher learning into daycare facilities? How do we reverse this trend? If we don't immediately take corrective action in our schools and society I fear we are rapidly approaching the Brave New World that Aldous Huxley predicted. The United States has been eclipsed industrially. We have been passed by educationally. There isn't much left to lose before it is all gone. Rome rotted from within and collapsed. I believe we still have time to reverse the trend, but the signs are there. Read the article at the following link and give me your ideas and suggestions: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/oklahoma-wesleyan-university-president-dr-everett-piper-not-daycare-n472066

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Are the whigs isolationist/protectionist?

So far, I'm all in. Unless the answer to those questions is yes and then I have to think

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The Growth of Modern Executive Power in the U.S.

Throughout the history of presidents since the 1930’s a multitude of presidents have expanded and influenced their presidential executive powers. One of the initial and prominent examples was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From the time of his election in 1933, Roosevelt was intent upon issuing plans with his executive power to lift the nation out of a crippling depression. His establishment of the New Deal in the 1930’s brought a new perspective to the powers of the president. The New Deal itself was a critical example of executive power because it demonstrated how the president could institute massive reforms to the nation created under executive orders. Some of these orders included the establishment of a plethora of agencies and actions that were often labeled by letters prompting criticism of the plans as “submerged in an alphabet soup”. Regardless of the criticism Roosevelt received, and the seemingly overbearing authority of the president, the plans Roosevelt instituted strengthened and confirmed his ability to carry out his executive powers on the nation. Since then executive orders have been used countless times in many different scenarios; however, the sweeping reforms achieved by Roosevelt have, undoubtedly, been a crowning executive achievement of the last century. As a whole, the actions, orders, and reforms promulgated by F.D.R. during his presidency were legal under my interpretation of the Constitution and although the creation of the New Deal agencies was believed to be unjust or unconstitutional, the reality is that many of the agencies formed during the New Deal were passed by Congress, and, under executive orders, they were necessary for sustaining the fiscal security of a nation in distress. Another president in this time period who utilized and strengthened his executive powers was president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower's major contribution to executive power was his use of executive privilege. The concept of executive privilege, a privilege used by many presidents after Eisenhower, outlines the right of the incumbent executives to resist and reject certain actions of intervention by the legislative and judicial branches into the actions of the executive. This privilege was used frequently and extensively during Eisenhower’s period in office. Specifically, the privilege was invoked during the infamous Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954. In total, President Eisenhower used the executive privilege nearly fifty times from 1955 to 1960. The lasting effects these actions had on the executive power was in the president’s ability to use the executive privilege as a veritable shield from government scrutiny and judgement. Moreover, although the executive privilege is not explicitly outlined in the U.S. Constitution, its use and implementation by Eisenhower was pivotal in establishing executive powers in the 1950’s. In my perspective, Eisenhower’s use of executive privilege during his time in office was justified due to the intense political climate around him that, from a Constitutional perspective, was not legal because it was not included anywhere in the document; however, it is a reasonable protection that I believe should fall under the president’s authority as an executive. Harry S. Truman, the presidential predecessor to Eisenhower, was also a president that was able to expand executive powers while in office. During Truman's presidency, he was able to enact executive orders, that, unlike his predecessor Roosevelt, were not massive or expansive; instead, they were highly controversial at the time and affected a largely contentious area of U.S. politics. This contentious executive order was Executive Order 9981, which, at the time, was revolutionary. Order 9981 effectively ended racial discrimination in the armed forces in 1948. This order was a critical example of the president's ability to act and enact tradition-shattering laws outside of a time of national crisis. Before Truman’s presidency, most sweeping reforms to the national system made by presidential executive orders were, in the majority, mad in times of great imminent crisis, such as the World Wars or the Great Depression. This executive order was pivotal in establishing a firm precedent to which future executives could live up to, the ability to institute executive orders in times of peace and, more importantly, the ability to enact orders that deal directly with granting liberties to people who need them. Therefore, Truman’s executive order was monumental in shaping the roles and usage of executive orders. In my perspective, Truman’s actions were completely legal under the constitution because they were lawful in their enactment and they also effectively provided a means for minorities in the army to have essential access to liberty and equality in the armed forces. Another president who expanded executive authority was president Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson, throughout his career, in many different ways, sought to increase the executive power in the United States. One major example of this expansion was the response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in which the president ordered an exponential increase of the number of personnel present in Vietnam, which, in turn, increased casualties in the Vietnam War. This clear use of overruling executive power to initiate this massive troop transfer into Vietnam was one of the pivotal events in which a U.S. president has initiated “war” in a military sense, without express backing from Congress. Moreover, the congressional establishment of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution granted Johnson the legal ability to take any course of action that he believed to be necessary in securing peace and safety in Southeast Asia. This action massively opened up the possibilities of Johnson’s power in Vietnam and granted him immense power and set a precedent for nations intervening in conflicts without the express need for a declaration of war, as was the case in Korea and Vietnam. From my own Constitutional interpretation I believe that it is (in the broadest sense) Constitutional because Section II of Article II of the Constitution states that the president is Commander in Chief of the United States and from a reasonable position, the Commander in Chief should have the ability to intervene on behalf of the safety of the nation and the world. Finally, one president who expanded executive powers was president Barack Obama. During Obama’s administration, the president has issued a wide variety of executive orders, (over 200 total) one of the most controversial and monumental ones being on the topic of immigration. The president has, in previous years issued a number of reforms on immigration policy that has changed the immigration climate of America dramatically. For example, Obama’s executives orders that have granted more leniency to immigrants in this nation, some of whom have come illegally, has come under intense disapproval from political critics for issuing too large of a change to allow immigrants when the nation is needing to accept less immigrants. However, Obama’s reforms have been completely legal under the president’s exercised and precedented right to executive order and the president also has made reforms that have benefitted the lives of many. Moreover, although these presidential reforms have not single-handedly solved immigration conflicts, the pushes, strides, and executive orders that Obama has issued demonstrates how a president in the 21st Century can institute policies that increase executive authorities by granting liberties to many, even if many in the nation disagree with his actions. Additionally, Obama's efforts to create economic sanctions to the Russian Federation over the previous year also illustrates Obama’s new positions as an executive, a national and international leader who has the ability to communicate and organize internationally recognized initiatives that over the past few decades have become more consolidated. From my perspective, the actions of president Obama are legal by the Constitution because over the course of these reforms the president has not broken any laws or codes of conduct for the executive during the time of these reforms. Moreover, the orders and reforms made by the president also illustrate the president's ability to conform to the Constitutional goal of providing the blessings of liberty and attempting to establish a safer and firmer union by using executive precedents set by other strong presidents before him.

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A Historical Consideration of Significant Eras in the Supreme Court of the United States

Throughout the history of the judicial system of the United States, different Supreme Court Justices have taken a different approach to the functions and abilities of our government. Over the 226 years of the Supreme Court’s existence there has been a multitude of different approaches to government which have been illustrated via their decisions on significant Supreme Court cases. These rulings can determine an immense amount about a justice’s political preferences, affiliation, and beliefs as a public officer in a critical office. One such example is our current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts. In many respects, although Roberts is a Republican, he embodies many key attributes of a liberal and has, in the past, sided with many liberal policies. One example of Roberts more liberal side is his ruling in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in 2012. John Roberts’ decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act was absolutely pivotal in establishing his tendency and ability to side with pro-left and more liberal policy that have given him a more liberal appearance to many politicians over the last 4 years. Additionally, although Roberts has identified himself as a conservative Republican in the past, the modern Chief Justice has been approving plans that, by his fellow Republicans’ standards, have been relatively liberal. Although not all of Robert’ decisions have been liberal, his more pro-liberal stance in his conventional and expected rulings have lead many to hail him as a powerful moderate (and by some perceptions a possible emerging liberal). For example, Roberts’ ruling in the cases of Morse v. Frederick in 2007 and United States v. Stevens in 2010 were demonstrations of the moderate and liberal approach Roberts’ tends to take in his political rulings. This case specifically deals with the First Amendment and its applicability into messages that portray illegal activity or even violence. Contrary to Roberts’ claimed conservative stance, he makes a more moderate and liberal decision that such areas of speech are not conclusively protected by the First Amendment and this type of speech can be can be stopped and limited, a critical step in the evolution of jurisprudence of the modern Supreme Court. Another critical justice of the Supreme Court was Chief Justice Earl Warren. Warren was pivotal in implementing several levels of liberalism in the Supreme Court of the 1950’s through 1960’s. Specifically, Warren’s career was marked by massive reform in the United States including the transition of African-American Civil Rights which witnessed the desegregation of public schools. This institution of desegregation is critical to the history of the nation and the ke court case that illustrated the liberality of Warren and his fellow justices was the Gideon v. Wainwright of 1963 and the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education. Warren’s decision in the latter case was considered extremely liberal during its time and it encompassed the wider reforms made by the “Warren Court” under Warren’s office of Chief Justice. Another case that has made Warren a historically renowned liberal is his ruling in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp in 1963. This historically vital case centered around the constitutionality of bible readings in public schools, a common practice in america prior to the case. Warren’s decision, which concluded the case, made this action unconstitutional on the basis of its violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. In this specific case the clause was used to explain that have school-sponsored religious practices is tantamount to forcing a religious ideology on a child and that it is not in anyway the right or responsibility of the school system to make any form of prayer and have children recite it in the school. According to the Cornell University Law School’s account of the case, Chief Justice Warren declared that “the First Amendment, in its final form, did not simply bar a congressional enactment establishing a church; it forbade all laws respecting an establishment of religion. Thus, this Court has given the Amendment a broad interpretation . . . in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress” The significance of Warren’s opinion in this case is the solidification of his liberal perspective on American law and the American judicial system. Moreover, Warren’s perspective on this religious topic reaffirms his predisposition to support secular liberalism, a position that believes in the firm separation of public affairs from the authority of spirituality and the church, during his time as Chief Justice. Along with Warren, another important and influential Chief Justice of the 20th century was William Rehnquist. Rehnquist was influential in his time for being a powerful Chief Justice and a conservative. Throughout his life as a Chief Justice, Rehnquist made several conservative and controversial rulings on cases along with holding relatively conservative views on religion and its necessity and implementation in the public. One of the most crucial examples of this was in Rehnquist’s fervent belief during his time as Justice in the constitutional division of authority between the states and the administrative national government, a concept also known as federalism. Throughout Rehnquist’s time as Associate then Chief Justice on the Supreme Court he advocated for politically pro-conservative policies. As a conservative Rehnquist fervently advocated, during his time on the Supreme Court, for the restitution of prayers in school after it had been taken away and revoked by his predecessor, Earl Warren. Rehnquist also made massive advocations and defences for the separation of government from certain issue; moreover, as a conservative Rehnquist fervently opposed overbearing national policies, and, as is typical of a conservative, advocated for less national regulation on many issues and comparatively smaller government. This sentiment was expressed in several landmark Supreme Court Cases. One such case was the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade. In this case, Rehnquist then an associate justice dissented the majority decision of on abortion law and claimed in his dissent that the United States and its law simply had no business in determining the life or death of a mother’s unborn child. To