'A well-funded operation': Inside the far-right movement hoping to dramatically rewrite the US Constitution

'A well-funded operation': Inside the far-right movement hoping to dramatically rewrite the US Constitution
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A movement among far-right MAGA Republicans and Tea Party members is hoping that if enough state legislatures get on board, there will be a constitutional convention — one that would rewrite the U.S. Constitution and give it a MAGA makeover. And the movement, according to The Guardian, has a major ally in Steve Bannon, host of the “War Room” podcast, former White House chief strategist in the Trump Administration and former executive chairman at Breitbart News.

Journalist Ed Pilkington, in an article published by The Guardian on October 19, reports, “Bannon has devoted recent episodes of his online show ‘The War Room’ to a well-funded operation which has stealthily gained ground over the past two years. Backed by billionaire donors and corporate interests, it aims to persuade state legislatures to call a constitutional convention in the hope of baking far-right conservative values into the supreme law of the land. The goal is, in essence, to turn the country into a permanent conservative nation irrespective of the will of the American people.”

Pilkington notes that the constitutional convention that MAGA Republicans have in mind “would promote policies that would limit the size and scope of the federal government, set ceilings on or even abolish taxes, free corporations from regulations, and impose restrictions on government action in areas such as abortion, guns and immigration.”

READ MORE: A far-right movement to 'rewrite the Constitution' has 'immense potential for lasting harm': historian

In September, Bannon told “War Room” listeners, “This is another line of attack strategically. You now have a political movement that understands we need to go after the administrative state.” And Pilkington explains what Bannon means by “administrative state.”

“By ‘administrative state,’ Bannon was referring to the involvement of the federal government and Congress in central aspects of modern American life,” Pilkington observes. “That includes combating the climate crisis, setting educational standards and fighting health inequities.”

One of the Tea Party activists who is hoping for a constitutional convention is Mark Meckler, founder of Convention of States Action (COSA). During a “War Room” appearance, Meckler told Bannon, “We need to say constitutionally, ‘No, the federal government cannot be involved in education, or healthcare, or energy, or the environment’…. The problem is, any time the administration swings back to Democrat — or radical progressive, or Marxist, which is what they are — we are going to lose the gains. So, you do the structural fix.”

Pilkington points out that “by cementing the policies into the U.S. Constitution, they would become largely immune to electoral challenge.” The journalist outlines two ways in which the U.S. Constitution, under Article V, “can be revised.”

READ MORE: 19 states have joined a new right-wing effort to remake the Constitution with their fringe ideas

“In practice, all 27 amendments that have been added over the past 244 years have come through the first route: a Congress-led process whereby two-thirds of both the U.S. House and Senate have to approve changes followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states,” the journalist explains. “Meckler, working alongside other powerful interest groups and wealthy right-wing megadonors, is gunning for Article V’s second route — one that has never been tried before. It gives state legislatures the power to call a constitutional convention of their own, should two-thirds of all 50 states agree. The state-based model for rewriting the U.S. Constitution is perhaps the most audacious attempt yet by hard-right Republicans to secure what amounts to conservative minority rule in which a minority of lawmakers representing less-populated rural states dictate terms to the majority of Americans.”

Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold is warning that the efforts of groups like COSA need to be taken seriously. Along with Peter Prindiville of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. Feingold addresses this threat in their book “The Constitution in Jeopardy: An Unprecedented Effort to Rewrite Our Fundamental Law and What We Can Do About It.”

Feingold told The Guardian, “Our goal is not to scare people, but to alert them that there is a movement on the far right that is quietly getting itself to a point where it will be almost impossible to stop a convention being called.”

READ MORE: 'Today’s Republicans are fascist': Conservative activist slams authoritarian GOP candidates

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