Also on the Ballot
Railing Against the New World Order
Constitution Party candidate would tariff imported goods to bring jobs back to America
Chuck Baldwin is nothing if not passionate.
In his more than 40-minute interview, the Constitution Party's presidential candidate used the phrase "fighting to the last breath of my being," or something similar, a half-dozen times.
Baldwin sees an America whose leaders trampled her Constitution and infringed on individual freedom. The pastor, radio host and syndicated columnist never held public office. To Baldwin, that's an advantage, not a liability. "If experience was the chief requirement and the best asset, then why are we in the mess we're in?" Baldwin asks. "We have career politicians leading us, and they're the ones that have created the situation we find ourselves in."
Baldwin's campaign got a boost in late September when former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul threw his support behind the Indiana native. Baldwin says the endorsement boosted contributions and increased traffic to his website. "It's been a huge shot in the arm," he says.
Today, parts of Detroit look like Beirut, Lebanon. Our jobs are still there, but they're in Mexico, India and China. We need to get our country producing again.
Compared to the other presidential candidates, Baldwin's policy positions are most closely aligned with the Libertarian Party. He believes in slashing federal spending and is also staunchly opposed to warrantless wiretapping. He is pro gun ownership and an abortion opponent.
Baldwin would eliminate the federal income tax but would not replace it with a national sales tax. Instead, Baldwin would put a tariff on all imported items. This, he says, would bring jobs back to America.
The thinking goes that if foreign-made products cost the same amount as goods produced in the U.S., people would be more inclined to buy American. That would mean more production on U.S. soil, he says, and more jobs stateside. "Today, parts of Detroit look like Beirut, Lebanon," Baldwin says. "Our jobs are still there, but they're in Mexico, India and China. We need to get our country producing again."
Baldwin has made several eyebrow-raising statements during his time in the public spotlight. He called President Abraham Lincoln "one of the worst presidents we've ever had." And he also asserted that "the South was right in the war between the states."
Even today, I think states should be allowed to secede.
Lincoln draws Baldwin's ire because the 16th president "acted without conscience in the way he was willing to violate constitutional government," Baldwin says. The Pensacola, Fla., minister says Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned a state legislature in Maryland and paved the way for future presidents to disobey the Constitution when they see fit.
As for his kind words toward the Confederacy, Baldwin says all states have the constitutional right to secede from the union. "Even today, I think states should be allowed to secede," Baldwin says.
When asked whether he thinks slavery would still exist had the Civil War not happened, Baldwin says it was already coming to an end before the conflict. "It would have died a natural death," he says.
While he commends Martin Luther King Jr. for his work in bringing about civil rights reform, he is critical of King's alleged adulterous behavior and of the tendency to idolize historical figures. "We either demonize somebody or we make a saint out of them," Baldwin says.
Baldwin would get rid of free trade agreements like NAFTA. He would also end America's participation in the World Trade Organization and pull the U.S. out of the United Nations. Baldwin says he would support yanking the humanitarian funding the U.S. sends to foreign countries, as well. "These governments mostly hate us," Baldwin says. "For the most part, the money goes to despots and their cronies. The people we're trying to help usually don't see it."
In many ways, Baldwin's candidacy is defined by his opposition to what he calls the New World Order. According to Baldwin, the term was first used by President George H. W. Bush in the '80s and has been propagated by politicians for decades. Baldwin says the goal of the New World Order is to form a North American alliance similar to that of the European Union.
Once it's completed, the New World Order would consist of a merged European and North American Union that, Baldwin says, would drastically reduce individual freedom for the sake of powerful corporate and political interests. "Individual nation-states would lose their independence and their sovereignty," Baldwin says. "When I'm president, the New World Order comes crashing down."