Former Sen. Jim DeMint Takes Post To Lead Right Wing Movement Calling For A Convention Of The States

USA Today reports:

Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, ousted last month as head of the Heritage Foundation think tank, is joining a fast-growing, conservative movement that is pushing states to seek a constitutional convention to rein in federal spending and power.

DeMint, a prominent figure among the Tea Party activists who helped Republicans seize control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, will serve as a senior adviser to the Convention of the States Project, providing a jolt to its efforts to marshal grassroots support for a state-led movement to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Under Article V of the Constitution, there are two avenues to propose amendments: Two-thirds of each house of Congress can vote to do so or two-thirds of the states – 34 in total – can request the convention. In either case, three-fourths of the states – or 38 states – must ratify any amendment proposed by convention delegates.

The USA has not held a constitutional convention since the first one in 1787, but proponents of a state-led conclave see growing momentum for their cause. Twelve states already have adopted the group’s call, and its leaders hope to add 10 to 15 next year. A separate effort demanding a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment already has the support of 27 states.

Far-right groups have long advocated for the convention so that same-sex marriage and abortion can be banned nationwide with constitutional amendments. The resolution passed in March by the Arkansas legislature explicitly calls for exactly that.

  • Tiger Quinn

    Best of luck with that.

  • Frostbite

    How about banning stupid while we are at it? Can we do that?

    • bambinoitaliano

      That will leave many states with no government or representations.

      • Frostbite

        And this is a problem?

        • bambinoitaliano

          Too good a fantasy to realize. Government institutions always attract the deplorables. The profession of grifting and scamming is too good to past up.

          • Frostbite

            I’m confused. Are you talking about Government or Religious institutions?

          • bambinoitaliano

            I was referring to the government institutions. However, the line between the government and religion institution in the country is merging.

  • Hanwi

    First convention in 230yrs just to stop the gayz from being happy and to control what women do with their bodies, sounds readonable. /s

    • You really think it’s going to stop there?

      • canoebum

        That whole “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” thing, gone. Goodbye Wall of Separation, Hello Christian Sharia!

        • narutomania

          hello Republic of Gilead (cf. The Handmaid’s Tale).

        • Kruhn

          Don’t forget banning the brown people by stripping the birthright citizenship, enshrining stripping citizenship rights for (primarily black) convicts, severely limiting the interstate commerce clause to just mean unfettered movement of goods and people, but very limited power to regulate the market (meaning no environmental or consumer protection, no FDA, no EPA, no CFPB, etc to the delight of the Kochs and other multibillionaires), an unfettered Second Amendment, perhaps even limiting the franchise to property owners only. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

      • bambinoitaliano

        It will stop when the earth as a planet is destroyed if the human species does not extinct first.

    • Kruhn

      Don’t forget banning the brown people by stripping birthright citizenship, enshrining stripping citizenship rights for (primarily black) convicts, severely limiting the interstate commerce clause to just mean unfettered movement of goods and people, but very limited power to regulate the market (meaning no environmental or consumer protection, no FDA, no EPA, no CFPB, etc to the delight of the Kochs and other multibillionaires), an unfettered Second Amendment, perhaps even limiting the franchise to property owners only. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

    • Gerry Fisher

      “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“We were all still sleeping when they shot all of Congress” ?!!)

  • TexasBoy

    Conservatives always seem scared the Liberals will change the constitution…yet it is the conservative Tea Party that has been calling for a constitutional convention for the last 8 years.

  • Tawreos

    They played by the rules and lost so now they want to change the rules.

    • canoebum

      I wish your statement were true, but they stopped playing by the rules in 1994, and certainly haven’t been losing.

      • Ninja0980

        Nope, especially when it’s come to stacking the courts and on the local and state level.

      • Tawreos

        On the gay marriage issue they lost

    • crewman

      They cheat the rules as it is, with voter suppression campaigns and laws, gerrymandered districts, etc. Even still, when they lose, they look at how to stack the deck more.

      • Ninja0980

        And Democrats let them do it in so many cases.

        • Daveed_WOW

          Can we please refrain from blaming Democrats for the devilish deeds of Republicans?

          • Ninja0980

            When it comes to things like the courts where Democrats have rolled over, we have to if we want to learn in the future.

          • UrsusArctos

            Nope. I live where Dems (primarily under WJ Clinton and accelerated under BH Obama) ceded state/local offices to the GOP. WJC his “triangulation” drove a lot of the losses down ballot losses. Obama not being aggressive and failing to promote actual progressivism, instead counting on things to take care of themselves led to enough state house losses for this to be thinkable. The DNC/DCCC/DSCC have been fossils intent on incumbent protection for a long time. The price for that has been an atrophy of the Democratic party outside of “safe” places.

          • Daveed_WOW


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        • Todd20036

          Democrats play by the rules, and GOP exploits them.
          If democrats sink to the GOP, they might win more, but they’d win as alt-GOPers, not as democrats.

          • Ninja0980

            When it comes to the courts, if that’s what it takes, so be it.

    • Do Something Nice

      How are they changing the rules? I hate these people, but they seem to be using legal means.

      • Tawreos

        Changing the constitution would change the basis of the rules

    • teedofftaxpayer

      They have never played by the rules.

  • TexasBoy

    Why do conservatives hate the constitution enough to want to permanently change it? It sounds prohibition all over again, and you know how well that worked out.

  • Treant

    Yeah, I can see the Jesus Amendment being proposed now.

    The only good thing is that three quarters of states must ratify any given amendment no matter how it’s proposed. I don’t think you’ll get 38 states voting to ban gay marriage or most other rights. Historically, amendments are a struggle to get past the states.

    • Ernest Endevor

      Hence the constitutional convention. Once that happens they only need majorities.

      • Ninja0980

        And they will be glad to pass it.

      • Treant

        Actually, Article V does require that, “to become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states.” From Wikipedia.

        • Ernest Endevor

          Exactly. But I thought that if a constitutional convention was called those rules don’t apply and that the states all get together and vote in a room. It doesn’t involve Article V.

          • drbrentzenobia

            If they only pass amendments to the existing constitution then those amendments would then have to be ratified by 38 states after the convention adjourns. If the delegates adopt an entirely new constitution, the required number of states to ratify would be determined by the delegates themselves. It could be anything: 38 states or 50 states or 16 states, whatever they want. We did not adopt the current constitution under the rules of the articles of confederation, and so it would be here. The new constitution would not be bound by the rules of the old constitition.

            States are considered sovereign entities during a constitutional convention – a powerful but easily overlooked fact. The federal government has no role whatsoever.

          • Ernest Endevor

            I see. Many thanks.

          • Treant

            Even for the first Consitutional Convention, it had to be ratified. It took a while, too! However, they changed their own rules.

            There’s nothing saying that a convention couldn’t change that rule to something simpler or easier to pass.

            That having been said, the level of fury from many blue (and quite economically powerful) states would be something to see. The balkanization of the US would be much more likely.

          • drbrentzenobia

            Let’s say, hypothetically, that 38 red states vote to ratify a new reactionary constitution. What can the blue states do to fight back?

            It’s simple: don’t ratify it. Any state that refuses to ratify is declaring that it is no longer part of the United States and no longer subject to its laws. All perfectly legal, unlike the Civil War which was a violation of the constitution that the states had pledged to obey.

            The result would be the dissolution of the United States into a group of smaller nations.

          • Ernest Endevor

            Thanks. I can hardly wait to revisit the 18th cent. Though truth to tell, I loath the musical version.

          • Kruhn

            It still needs to be ratified by the states.

          • Ernest Endevor

            I see. So I can sleep at night?

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    hopefully they’ll make abortion harder to obtain and life harder for immigrants…

    • Do Something Nice

      Troll flagged.

      • The_Wretched

        read it as sarcasm

      • liondon#iamnotatraitor

        its called being snarky… no trolling intended.

        • Do Something Nice


  • billbear1961

    If they succeed in gutting the Constitution, in turning it into a NAZI RAG, that would be the signal for progressive states/regions to LEAVE the Union!

    We must NEVER submit to the elimination of the EQUAL protection of the laws in a GENUINE democracy, to genuine democracy’s replacement by FASCISM, which can NEVER be acceptable in a truly FREE society!

    • crewman

      For what it’s worth, it is known that Russia has operatives actively stoking divisions between us and advocating for states to secede. The person who drafted CalExit declared himself as living in San Diego, but in reality is now known to live near the border of Siberia.

    • bambinoitaliano

      I’m curious to find out when it comes to military power state wise, do the progressive states have control over the military properties and personnel? My thinking going to the extreme in case the secession becomes messy.

      • drbrentzenobia

        In the event that the threshold is met and a ConCon is called, the preparations would take probably 2-5 years. First, there is the question of where to hold it. Washington DC would be right out; the convention would only be necessary because DC had failed. Likewise non-neutral locations would be ruled out: neither Texas nor California would do. It would have to be held in a city with a large convention center: Kansas City might be a strong contender, or perhaps Nashville.

        Next, the states would have to pick their delegates, and therefore their selection process. Each state would be on its own, and the process would be highly contentious. Some states would elect their delegates, which would introduce problems if the legislature decided they wanted to recall a delegate. Other states would have their legislatures choose a slate of delegates. That would likely result in a backlash in states where citizen initiatives are easy to put on the ballot.

        Meanwhile events would unfold elsewhere. The US economy would tank and pull the rest of the world into recession. The lame duck US federal government would be largely paralyzed and other nations would be quick to step into the vaccum, causing other nations (e.g. the EU) to react to them. Political groups of all stripes would vow to disrupt and destabilize the convention, if not in the host city then around the world.

        Security would be tight tight tight at the convention, potentially creating a crucible. There is no telling what would result, but my guess is that they would do much more than just pass a balanced budget amendment.

        Coming out the other side, if a new constitution results then the non-ratifying states would be declaring themselves as free agents, in effect. There would no longer be a federal government in the same sense as there had been, so the free agent states would assert ownership over their own national guards and also probably assert sovereignty over federal assets of all kinds including military bases.

        Let’s hope some hothead doesn’t start shooting like Beauregard did under like circumstances at Ft. Sumpter.

  • Michael R

    Would he be happy if we just gave him a title and crown
    ” Miss Sharia Law 2017 ” ?

  • JDS

    Good luck with that asshat. There is to much infighting in the Rethug tea party loons.

  • Ernest Endevor

    The long-term goal of the Koch brothers, etc. Hence the drive to overwhelm state races with dark money.

    • Mark


      • Ernest Endevor


  • shellback

    DeMint has that “I suck Putin’s dick” look.

  • Ernest Endevor

    Right-wing welfare truly is the grift that keeps on giving.

  • we’ll see. they are notoriously bad at this kind of stuff, and that was before the age of the Traitor. they might get outside help this time, but i don’t think that’s going to work at the level of a Convention. for lots of reasons, now that i think about it. the Founders were pretty smart about this kind of stuff, and i’ve often even bitched about that.

    anyway, we’ll see. the modern grifter conservative model is actually failing, as a populist tide. these guys are on the wrong side of history and they know it. i don’t see them rallying a mess of people to the cause of cutting SS and other important programs as the economy tanks. which it is; all the coverage about the traitor has meant fewer people noticing that policy, or lack thereof, really does have consequences.

  • Ninja0980

    If you want to know why it’s so important to focus on the local and state level, this is why.
    Republicans couldn’t do this if they do control so many legislatures.
    The fact they do shows that ALL elections matter, not just the ones for the WH.

    • Vista-Cruiser


  • DaddyRay

    OT: Israel Successfully Hacked ISIS Computers; Trump Leaked It to the Russians, NYT Reports

    Israeli cyber unit managed to penetrate Islamic State bombmakers’ cell in Syria; intel led to laptop flight ban

    • Skeptical_Inquirer

      If Israel wasn’t headed by Netanyahu, Mosad would have a few words with that orange asshole.

  • geoffalnutt

    Idiots. Tea People are very quickly reaching the nadir of their existence. With Trump’s “grand disaster” playing out any “mobilization” will be truly pathetic (at best). Thirty-eight states is just ridiculous.

  • craigbear

    Do they really think they’re going to get 38 states to sign onto such divisive amendments?

    • Treant

      Yes, but they’re hopeful that Congress will choose to convene ratification conventions post the Constitutional Conventions rather than call for a full vote from the states. That…doesn’t seem terribly likely, and even as it stands, I’m not at all certain that 38 states would go for it even in the case of conventions called to ratify.

      • Beagle

        I doubt any of the 6 New England states would go for any amendment that DeMent would consider idea. Add NY, CA, HI, MD, WA, OR — that’s 12 right there without any real thinking. Add any one of DE, IL, or MN — and that’s the game.

        • Treant

          Hell, I’m not so sure about VA, NC, or OH, for that matter. 🙂

  • j.martindale

    Let me put it in words you understand: Nyet, nyet, nyet, no, never, not in my lifetime, hell no.

  • drbrentzenobia

    At the convention the first thing the delegates would do is throw out any limitations on their freedom of action. The second thing would be to throw out our creaky, increasingly dysfunctional 230 year old constitution. And the third thing would be a breakup of the United States when no single coalition of 38 states is able to agree on a compromise solution. My guess is that the more populous but outnumbered blue states would walk out, lead by California, and convene a rump convention to adopt their own blue constitution to rival the red constitution. The end result would either be an amicable divorce or a second civil war. I’m hoping for the former since it may be the only way to stave off the increasing liklihood of the latter.

    There is no legal force that can stop a ConCon except the states. Neither SCOTUS nor the federal court system could have jurisdiction, nor would Congress nor the President nor the military, for all those institutions were creations of the old constitution. Only the states would control the process.

    • The_Wretched

      And the insane nutjobs have more States.

      • drbrentzenobia

        Texas would probably walk.

        • and i’d hold the door for them on their way out.

    • meltedrubbersoul

      It has been mentioned that many of the “blue” states are net contributors to the “red” states. If that’s the case, then maybe after this convention goes through as you say, an amicable divorce would not be possible. California and New York would be too valuable to let go.

      • drbrentzenobia

        Depends on what form a new constitution would take. If they are wise, the delegates would compromise around some form of regional governments. The federal government would have jurisdiction over national defense, foreign policy and (probably) treasury. The regional governments would have jurisdiction over their own courts and have their own supreme courts. They just might be able to compromise over something like that – everybody gets some of what they want but nobody is completely satisfied. Some people would end up thrown under the bus if the alternative was civil war.

        Guessing that both the Republicans and Democrats would disintegrate into warring factions since there each have some constituencies who are invested in preserving as much of the status quo as they can, while other factions are determined to change it. You might see progressives and the religious right forming a coalition of convenience for breaking up the US against corporations and establishment D’s/R’s who are determined to preserve it. There will be strange bedfellows.

  • sword

    The glorious Confederacy is rising again! Just wait until they repeal the Civil Rights laws, strip women of their voting rights, bring back slavery, and kick out any one who with a brown skin (if you’re not pure white you obviously are here illegally).

  • Karl Dubhe

    While not all Conservatives are idiots, most idiots do seem to be Conservative…

    I’ll hope they get what they wish for, but not get what they really desire.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Way too many R Controlled states makes this sick idea possible. I wonder what the odds are for them to actually succeed ? And if so, what then ??

  • Wesinoregon

    Just another dead end tactic to get their base of knuckle-draggers to send money so people at the top can get richer.

  • lymis

    Want to rein in federal spending and misuse of power?

    Stop electing Republicans.

    Look at the facts and the history of the last couple of decades.

  • Uncle Mark

    I have to wonder what got Jim DeMint tossed out of the Heritage Foundation think tank. I also wonder how much of this new senior advisory commission job is more grist than anything ideological.

  • I sincerely doubt anyone is serious about opening THIS particular can of worms … but if such a “Convention of the States” took place, the potential for violence at that particular location would be spectacular.

    • BobSF_94117

      Yes, but can you imagine the propaganda opportunities…

  • Dejerrity Mycron

    So this is how the Second Civil War begins.

    This time it won’t be so civil.


    • BobSF_94117

      Well, fuck with it incrementally, one amendment at a time.

  • Blake Jordan

    So laughable that these red states are bitching about federal spending, when most of the money comes from the Blue States!!!
    It is the Blue States keeping the red states above water!!!!!

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      So laughable that they try to use the excuse of balancing the budget. The last president who left us a surplus was Bill Clinton. I like to remind Republicans of that every chance I get.

  • Kelly Lape

    A Constitutional Convention is the death knell of the United States. If you don’t like the Constitution then fucking move you god damned traitors.

    • MBear

      When the traitors are in control, who ends up being labeled “traitor”?

      • Kelly Lape

        You just labelled them.

  • pj

    if they were able to do this there is no end to the the way they could change the constitution. gay marriage would just be the start

  • Clive Johnson

    A new constitution is a good idea, but not the one the Republicans have in mind.

    A new constitution could take everything we’ve learned from the human experience over the past 200+ years and assist in a massive overhaul of law and regulation to best reflect our highest ethical aspirations. It could be a visionary document informed by the best science and thinking up to this point, pointing to ideals of justice and well-being that only a few right now have the ability to achieve.

    It might include provisions like:

    1. Everyone has the right to adequate housing. The state must take all reasonable measures to ensure the realization of this right. [adopted from the South African constitution]

    2. Everyone has a right to health care.

    3. Every child has a right to love.

    4. Every child has a right to be afforded the ability to achieve all known excellencies and capabilities of mind, not limited to the right to reason, the right to robust development of his or her creative abilities, the right to develop capacities of empathy, the right to unrestricted access to knowledge, the right to freedom of expression, the right to education without undue financial burden to the highest levels of her ability.

    5. Everyone has a right to live on a climate-safe planet.

    6. Non-human nature, in all its forms, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. The states and its people have the duty to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. [adopted from the Ecuadoran constitution]

    6. All public policy must take into account the best scientific thought.

    7. LGBT people have full equality under the law without exception.

    8. Women shall have full equality under the law. Principles of reproductive justice—access to birth control and abortion, bodily integrity—shall not be abridged.

    9. Workers shall have a broad spectrum of basic rights—the right to strike, to safe working conditions, to a livable wage defined as one that affords retirement security and leisure time. [adopted from the Tunisian constitution]

    10. Optimal public health shall be a primary state priority, with all necessary resources marshaled to achieve this aim. All public policy and law must adhere to the findings of research in public health.

    11. The disabled shall have full equality under the law.


    What’s interesting is that when you start to research constitutions around the world you quickly figure out that the US doesn’t have the most advanced or progressive constitution. You then realize that what the Republicans want is nothing less a constitutional order that is almost designed to lower living standards, public health, environmental protection, and overall degrade the conditions of human prosperity—which conservatives and libertarians refer to as freedom.

    Recall the poll in 2015 that found that 57% of Republicans want to establish Christianity as the official religion:

    Globally you can see this clash playing out. Progressive forces want constitutional documents reflecting our best thinking as a species. Reactionary and conservative forces, which are utterly oblivious to that perspective—virtually clueless about the evolutionary nature of scientific understanding and thought and ethics, want their crude totems. Conservatism is what happens when you fail to understand that the totality of knowledge is what we should be learning from, and not just that which is heard on right-wing radio or in a church.

    The choice for the US: Adopt the Republican constitutional perspective of small government and prove to ourselves that we’re as dumb as we suspect we might be. Or, adopt a visionary progressive and cultural evolutionary constitution proving that we could be as smart as we hope we are.

    • The_Wretched

      The republicans control more States than the mostly sane people do.

    • MBear

      I stopped at your first mention of “science”.

      The most chilling aspect of those who run the American government is their unwillingness to accept science in favour of farcical stories that glitter and gleam in the vacant eyes (and minds) of the bulk of the voting population

      • Clive Johnson

        I hear ya.

        When I think about what should be the minimum standard relative to adherence to scientific knowledge, and how even that is not met, it seems almost fanciful to be speaking of ideals.

        But, other countries with less education and wealth have more progressive constitutions than we do. And, if we’re constantly playing defense against the forces of reaction and ignorance, it’ll be harder to get ahead.

        I keep wondering, in terms major political parties globally, if the GOP isn’t some kind of abjectly backwards outlier. And if the US isn’t being held back in its social advancement in a profound way by its regressive values.

        • We are being held back by the views of the majority of the GOP voters and party planks. The GOP has been spending untold money and effort since the ’60s to hold back the tide of social change. Just imagine what we could have attained if the GOP wasn’t so reactionary.

          • Clive Johnson

            Hello biki,

            I often do wonder about this. It seems that every advance for humanity, no matter how well grounded in science, or compassion, or human experience or wisdom, meets a militant challenge from the right. How do we change society such that resistance to positive change is decreased?

          • Howdy there Clive! The free love/anti-war movement completely blasted many church going folks bedrock ideas. Things began moving to fast for them, women’s rights, LGBT folks marching demanding rights, the rise of militant Black activists, and birth control availability. All these ideas occurred within a few short years, small town folks and those who weren’t well educated pulled inward, clinging to a past they understood in the face of a confusing now.
            Our only hope is to educate our young as to how every single person is equal, with no one standing above anyone else. That science and equality should be our platform for our future decisions, not bronze age thinking.

    • very well done, i shared that with some people. suggestions include an article on preventing dynastic wealth, and an article on regular (every generation or two) conventions tweaking and modernizing the document, and changing #6 just a bit to make sure germs and diseases aren’t classified as having rights. concerns about doing it now are multiple; it would be dangerous to try in america right at this moment.

      • Clive Johnson

        All good points.

        I agree that it would be dangerous right now given Republican control of many states. At the same time I think progressives need to begin to have conversations about a new constitution in order to build greater public support.

  • joe ho

    Too bad the DNC ignored Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy, opting instead to concentrate on DC and the presidency.

    Now that the GOP controls about two-thirds of the states’ governments, draconian constitutional amendments are within their reach.

    Meanwhile the far-left dresses up in Che Guevara costumes and sabotages crucial elections. 2000. 2016.

  • kaydenpat

    I’m trying not to panic but dang!! These people are monstrously scary and there is a madman at the helm.

  • The_Wretched

    DeMint’s openly stating the plan is a bit on the scary side. He’s not making a metaphor, he literally wants to scrap the federal Constitution and set up a christian theocracy in the U.S.

  • Hank

    Sure, call a Constitutional Convention…. This from a country, that could NOT even pass the ERA = Equal Rights Amendment 1972:

    The E.R.A. was ratified by 30 states within a year, but the ratification process slowed as anti-E.R.A. organizations mobilized, like the conservative activist Phyllis Schafly’s Stop E.R.A. Anti-E.R.A. activists warned that the amendment would deny women privileges such as exemption from the military draft and the ability to be supported by their husbands. Many conservative women also turned against the women’s rights movement for its support of abortion rights, contraception, gay rights and other issues, weakening support for the E.R.A..

  • juanjo54

    These wonderful folks want to destroy the 14th Amendment. They are trying to sell it by saying it was used to give gay people equal rights. But the reality is, the 14th Amendment is what the far right hate because it does not allow them to treat racial and ethnic minorities different from white folks. Also it does not allow them to make Christianity the first among equals when it comes to its position here.

  • barrykyle415

    Grifters gonna grift.

  • Gerry Fisher

    This is a serious, serious threat, IMO.

    • Yes, we would be stupid to belittle this movement.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    So, they really DO want another bloody civil war. Well that’s fucking scary.

  • andrew

    DeMint is such an extremist that he couldn’t even keep his job at a right wing “think” tank.

  • If this happens, it will literally be the end of the United States.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    A constitutional convention is the equivalent of opening Pandora’s Box. Once you have done so there is no stopping what you’ve unleashed.

  • Vista-Cruiser

    Once Republicans are finished amending it, the Constitution won’t look anything like it does today. And for this, we can thank the millions of Americans who lean Democratic but just don’t bother to vote in elections.

    • TallBearNC

      They will never get to amend it

  • deaconrta

    This, my friends, is (and has been for quite some time) their end-game. It’s the reason they have sought, and now control, the legislatures in 32 states.