Danny Malouf: Candidate profile, U.S. Senate
In the race for the U.S. Senate, incumbent Dick Durbin of Springfield, a Democrat, faces a challenge from former Lake County sheriff Mark Curran Jr. of Libertyville, a Republican.
Three third-party candidates also share the ballot: philanthropist and businessman Willie Wilson of Chicago, Libertarian Danny Malouf of Crystal Lake and Green Party candidate David Black of Rockford.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates to respond to a series of questions. David Black did not complete a questionnaire.
Q. What has Donald Trump's unconventional leadership taught us about politics in the United States? What is the best thing his presidency has done? What is the most significant criticism you have of it?
A. We've learned American voters are divided and polarized. Good news! There's a solution for this. Localization is the cure to polarization, and this is what Libertarians offer. We need to stop issuing one-size-fits-all solutions out of Washington, D.C., for the country, just as we need to stop issuing one-size-fits-all solutions out of Springfield for all of Illinois.
I believe the best thing to come from the Donald Trump presidency is his rhetoric -- in talking about less war, smaller government, and more liberty. Unfortunately, though, actions speak louder than words. And that's my most significant criticism -- his actions have not aligned with his promises and alleged principles, and he's achieved the opposite of much of what he talks about. The Trump administration has, unfortunately, added nearly $8 trillion to the national debt in just four years, maintained troops overseas in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, and has grown the federal government so much in response to COVID-19 that even Bernie Sanders is blushing.
Q. Many critics of governmental process complain that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump governed too much through executive orders rather than in collaboration with Congress. Is our system in danger of veering toward authoritarianism? From a structural standpoint, does Congress need to place stronger limits on the power of the presidency? If so, be specific on what some of those limits might be. If not, please explain your view.
A. Yes! Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump have abused the power of the presidency, but Congress is also guilty. The entire system is broken and corrupt, and the two-party system has failed the American people. From a "structural standpoint," we simply need Congress and the President to start upholding their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
As a U.S. Senator, I would gladly draft a bill to prohibit executive action that infringes on the bill of rights. I would reference H.R. 410 of the 113th Congress as a foundation for drafting a bill that would limit the executive order authority of the President while maintaining the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
Q. Protesters have massed in the streets throughout America calling for greater social justice. How significant a role does systemic racism play in limiting equal opportunity in America? To the degree that it exists, what should be done about it? Do you favor reparations? Should police be "defunded?"
A. "Social justice" is a vague term. Some people relate it to criminal justice reform so let's talk about that. Real criminal justice reform starts with shrinking the size and scope of the federal government, not looting and destroying private property. Real criminal justice reform means ending the federal government's war on drugs, ending qualified immunity, ending the militarization of police, ending civil asset forfeiture, and ending warrantless spying on American citizens. And, no, we shouldn't "defund the police." But we should consider the solutions presented above. Most Libertarians would prefer privatizing, not defunding, the police because it should lead to a more voluntary, cost effective, and accountable solution.
Q. Does today's climate of polarization reflect a natural and necessary ebb and flow in the tone of civic debate? Or does it reflect a dangerous divide? What, if anything, should be done about it?
A. There is no civic debate anymore because most political hobbyists only seek to validate their existing agenda and biases rather than seeking answers and the truth. As mentioned, localization is the cure to the polarization. So, we need to localize the decision making process as close to the individual as possible rather than one-size-fits-all solutions out of Washington, DC.
The solution is more Libertarians in Congress, because over the course of my entire adult life we've had a two-party system that has put special interests over the Constitution, that steals 20%-50% of the money we earn, that engages in endless war, that spies on its own citizens, that has created the most imprisoned country in the world, that has inflated away the value of our money, and that has wastefully accumulated a $26 trillion national debt.
We need to shrink the size and scope of the federal government. We need to elect Libertarians to Congress.
Q. Is there a "cancel culture" in America?
A. Yes, and we need to cancel "cancel culture." Freedom of speech and thought are vital to a free country. "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Q. What do you see as the most important issues to address regarding immigration reform? If you oppose funding for a wall, what steps do you support to try to control illegal immigration?
A. The most important issue to address is the incentives and subsidies that attract people here for the wrong reasons. So, we need to limit the taxpayer-funded aid that is redistributed by the federal government that discourages people from being productive. While I oppose amnesty, we do need to allow more people into this country for job opportunities that improve the quality of life for them and their families.
Q. Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.
A. When it comes to health care and insurance, the federal government needs to get out of the way. The federal government has had over 50 years to get it right, and after decades of intervening in the health care market with trillions of dollars spent and thousands of regulations created, what do we have to show for it?
They need to stop writing thousands of pages of regulations that enable big pharma and big insurance lobbyists to write the rules. We need to unleash the power of the free market and limit the government's footprint in the industry in order to allow for more affordable care.
Q. Should everyone wear a mask? Should our schools be open? What has the country done right about the pandemic? What has it done wrong? How optimistic are you that we'll ever get back to "normal?"
A. Not by force nor threat of fines and penalties -- and considering the CDC and World Health Organization begged us NOT to wear masks into March and April, I am not confident in the government's ability to make the right decisions for us anyhow. As a member of Congress, I would not want to run your life, I would not know how to run your life, and the Constitution would not permit me to run your life. It should be your choice if you wear a mask. It should be your choice if you leave your house or stay inside. It should be your choice how you peacefully live your life.
But that doesn't mean you have the right to tell others how they should live their life. And if a private business owner requires you to wear a mask in their place of business, then you have a choice to comply or shop somewhere else.
Overall, the government's response to COVID-19 was a complete failure at the federal and state levels, and in taking advantage of the situation, the government is bigger and even more powerful than ever before ... even with a Republican in the White House.
Q. What do you consider America's role in world affairs? What are we doing correctly to fill that role? What else should we be doing?
A. America's role in world affairs should be limited to diplomacy, peace, and free trade. Unfortunately, neither Democrats nor Republicans are diplomatic, peaceful, or proponents of free trade. What we need to do is bring our troops home and end all sanctions. The lives, limbs, and liberty lost as a result of America's interventionist foreign policy over the last 50 years has not been worth it. Not to mention the trillions of dollars wasted.
Q. Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
A. Perhaps, but that doesn't mean it's the role of the government to fix it. I care about the environment, that's why I don't want the government in charge of it. Taking care of the environment starts with individual responsibility, which requires a sacrifice that many people aren't willing to make. When it comes to larger environmental factors such as waste, dumping, and/or pollution, we need to rely on the court system rather than Congress.
Q. What role does Congress play with regards to the growth of conspiracy theory groups like QAnon?
A. No role at all. And any candidate who thinks the federal government should play a role in policing ideas and thoughts should not be considered for public service.