The Trump/Carson/Fiorina phenomenon explained

If you're an outspoken, Jesus-loving, gun-toting, Confederate-flag-bumper-sticker-having American, thank the Bill of Rights. If you're an atheist, protest-attending political activist who owns a Che Guevara t-shirt and sympathy tweets the Black Lives Matter hashtag, you can thank the Bill of Rights, too.

If you're a politician who seeks to control the citizenry, hate the Bill of Rights. Hate it with a vengeance.

After the Christmas party attack in San Bernardino, Calif., last week, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFederal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world Intercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care Biden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members MORE (I-Vt.) couldn’t wait to blame freedom. Both of them tweeted more blame directed at the Second Amendment than at the terrorists.


But it goes both ways. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Rubio signals opposition to Biden Cabinet picks Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (R-Fla.) also thought he saw freedom at the scene of the crime aiding and abetting the terrorists. "At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency, Sen. Cruz in particular," Rubio stated, "have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs just in the last month-and-a-half."

Actually, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (R-Texas) voted to protect our Fourth Amendment rights.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch — not wanting to let a good freedom grab go to waste — pointed out what looked to her like a glaring First Amendment flaw, saying her "greatest fear" is the "incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric."

So, in the end, members of our political elite have determined that the biggest problems facing this nation are the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. What a coincidence! Those three constitutional amendments happen to be the only three which contain the phrase "the right of the people." They are also the three amendments most constantly under attack by politicians because they're policy roadblocks — great big signs that read "Do not feed the leviathan."

Don't fool yourself into thinking this is a matter of Republicans vs. Democrats. It's not. It's the politicians vs. the people, and the politicians seize upon the people's most fearful moments. Every time there's a tragedy, politicians scream, "The country's going down! There's too much weight. Quick, toss out the Bill of Rights!" Then, the frightened oblige.

Those who support Republican political outsiders Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE, Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after being 'extremely sick' with COVID-19 Ben Carson says he used unproven COVID-19 treatment recommended by MyPillow CEO Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine MORE or Carly Fiorina aren't know-nothings; they're flat-out tired of career politicians — of what Abraham Lincoln called "the voracious desire for office." A desire much more destructive to this country than any civil liberty.

The Anti-Federalist writer, known to us simply as "Brutus," wrote Anti-Federalist Paper No. 84 on an issue upon which he had noticed "an entire silence." Why did this document which would soon become the supreme law of the land have a Bill of Rights-shaped hole in it? It might be a good idea, Brutus thought, to expressly guarantee the rights of the people. After all, "Those who have governed, have been found in all ages ever active to enlarge their powers and abridge the public liberty. This has induced the people in all countries, where any sense of freedom remained, to fix barriers against the encroachments of their rulers."

Today, there seems to be a consensus among many of our rulers that the people are too free, and our freedoms are causing unmanageable chaos. Well, here's some bad news wrapped in a little history lesson. Without the Bill of Rights, there would have been no ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Without the Bill of Rights, there would be no United States of America. The Bill of Rights was the compromise, and the people are not willing to renegotiate. So, dear rulers, if you encounter a policy roadblock, kindly take a detour and never forget that the rattlesnake you mustn't tread on has always represented the American people. As Benjamin Franklin put it:

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her. Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

Those who aren't creative enough to solve America's problems without trampling on the Bill of Rights do not belong in office. Period.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.