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N.C. Rep. Michael Decker Switches to Democrat Party (Switches Control to Democrats)

Posted on 01/24/2003 10:59:33 AM PST by jern

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To: mykdsmom
Pretty much expected that question: First of all, I pleaded with other Freepers to help out....see any of my posts.....trying to convince my like-minded friends that DOING something, instead of talking about it on this website, was very important in the mid-term, redistricting elections.

As for other efforts, I worked from May thru November 5th, helping Republican candidates. Registered Republican voters, made phone calls, recruited volunteers, handed out campaign literature.

Tried to focus on efforts that get real votes.

What did you do?
101 posted on 01/25/2003 4:11:20 AM PST by RightOnGOP
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To: ncweaver
not fair to the people who worked in or gave $ to the campaign and not fair to the people who voted for him or her

this guy thought it was HIM that people voted for and worked for. straight ticket voters put him in there. he is toast.

102 posted on 01/25/2003 5:47:59 AM PST by alrea
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To: Constitution Day

Is this too good for'em?

103 posted on 01/25/2003 8:35:45 AM PST by Madcelt (tis better to starve free, than live a fat slave!-Aesop)
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To: All
Forsyth legislator switches parties


By MARK BINKER, Staff Writer
News & Record

Republican state Rep. Mike Decker further confused an already unsettled General Assembly Friday by announcing he had switched to the Democratic Party, creating an even split in the state House and angering his Republican colleagues.

The move by the veteran Forsyth County legislator negates a two-vote Republican majority won during the past fall's elections and complicates an already twisted race over who will lead the state House when it convenes Wednesday.

Decker's switch is considered perplexing given his staunchly conservative voting record, particularly on social issues such as public funding for abortion.

"Decker was similar to the Jesse Helms of the House. You just can't figure this," said Rep. John Blust, a Republican who represents Guilford County. "He could just be turning over all the machinery of the House to the people who are 180 degrees opposed to what he claims to believe in."

Decker did not return phone or e-mail messages sent to his legislative office Friday. But by midafternoon, his party affiliation had been changed on the legislature's Web site.

A phone call to his home was answered by a man who said that Decker was "not here right now, thank you" and hung up without offering to take a message. Further calls went unanswered.

Blust and other Republicans quickly drew comparisons between Decker and Jim Jeffords, the Vermont U.S. senator who switched his party affiliation in 2001 from Republican to Independent, giving Democrats brief control of the Senate.

"This is just double-dealing back stabbing," said a calm but frustrated Blust. Blust said that he would introduce a measure to give North Carolina voters the right to recall legislators, something he said could prevent future party-jumping.

"This is as slimy and perfidious of a maneuver as I've seen in politics," Blust said.

Decker's move creates a 60-60 tie in the state House, yielding clear control to neither party and further confusing the contest for Speaker and other leadership positions. The legislators in those posts generally set the lower chamber's agenda and wield a great deal of power over the budget and other legislation.

During a November meeting of the Republican caucus, Decker sought the nomination for Speaker pro tem, the chamber's No. 2 position. But Republicans backed Rep. Joanne Bowie, a Guilford County Republican. That vote did not secure her election but did give her an edge over Decker and most other contenders.

If Bowie loses to a Democrat, it will not only be a blow to Republicans but also to the Guilford delegation, which has long been criticized for its limited ability to bring home state funding for roads and other projects.

"This is just a little bizarre," Bowie said Friday. "It's unfortunate for the Piedmont area."

Bowie and other Republicans reached Friday speculated that Decker had switched parties on a promise from Democratic leaders to back his bid for Speaker pro tem, another leadership post or a job in Democratic Gov. Mike Easley's administration.

"Does all this mean that (previous House speaker) Jim Black or Mike Easley have made some type of promise to Decker?" North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Bill Cobey suggested in a written statement. "Could that promise involve the Speaker pro tem position, which pays 50 percent more than a rank-and-file member receives?"

A spokesman for Black, speaker for the last two terms, said that neither Black nor other Democratic leaders had promised Decker anything for his switch.

The Republicans "can speculate all they want to," said Black spokesman Danny Lineberry.

In an e-mail message, Black said, "I deeply appreciate Michael Decker's decision to support me for Speaker of the House. ... I am proud to welcome Michael Decker to the N.C. Democratic Party."

Backing from either party cannot ensure election to any leadership post. Factions in both the Democratic and Republican caucuses are quarreling over their parties' nominees, creating a possible opening for a compromise candidate.

An 18-year veteran of the House, Decker had been a registered Democrat before seeking elected office.

Triad legislators have a history of unexpected political maneuvers.

In 1997, Rep. Steve Wood, a Guilford County Republican, infuriated fellow Republicans by nominating himself for Speaker pro tem; he won the post with Democratic support. In 1999, he backed Black for Speaker.

Wood paid a political price for his moves during the 2000 elections; Republicans backed Blust in a primary race against Wood. Blust won, prompting Wood to jump to the Reform Party and run again Blust in the general election. Blust won that contest as well.

Wood switched back to the GOP in 2002 after his and Blust's district were split. Voters returned him to the legislature for the upcoming term. Wood did not return calls to his home or Raleigh office seeking comment on Decker's move.

Contact Mark Binker at 373-7023 or

See details of all the day's news in tomorrow's News & Record
Subscribe today | Electronic archives
104 posted on 01/25/2003 8:55:12 AM PST by jern
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To: Constitution Day
Decker bolts GOP for the Democrats
Party switch angers Republicans, thrusts N.C. House into 60-60 tie

By David Rice

N.C. Rep. Michael Decker bolted the Republican Party yesterday, throwing the N.C. House into a 60-60 tie and Republicans into turmoil.

Decker, who has spent most of his career as an arch-conservative opposed to abortion, alcohol and annexation, made the announcement after he changed his party registration at the Forsyth County Board of Elections. In the midst of a battle over who will be elected speaker of the House when it convenes Wednesday for the 2003 session, Decker said he will support Democrat Jim Black to continue as the chamber's speaker.

The speaker makes committee assignments and controls the flow of bills on the House floor, and Black has held the job for four years.

"I believe he is the best man for the job, and I know that he is a man of his word and a person I can trust," Decker said in a statement.

He also hinted that other Republican legislators might jump ship, but he declined to name those legislators. The Republicans had a 61-59 majority in the House before Decker's move.

Decker, an 18-year veteran of the legislature, said that his party switch won't change the way he votes on issues and represents no change in his political philosophy.

"I promise to continue to work for the people of my district, both Republicans and Democrats," he said. "I have not changed the direction of my political life, my philosophy or my principles, but I have changed the vehicle in which I travel.

"There are a lot of good conservative Democrats, and I think I will feel right at home with them," he said.

Decker said that the party switch followed talks with Black, but he said he was offered no inducements to change parties.

In the hotly contested speaker's race, Decker had backed Rep. Connie Wilson, R-Mecklenburg, rather than Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, the Republican nominee.

But that changed yesterday.

Black applauded Decker's move.

"He has put his values - and what he believes is best for the people who elected him - above partisan politics. I respect him, and I admire his integrity and his courage," Black said. "I am proud to welcome Michael Decker to the N.C. Democratic Party."

With several Republicans running and Rep. Donald Bonner, D-Robeson, still recovering from brain surgery, Decker's move prompted speculation that Black is edging closer to the majority needed to remain speaker in the 120-member House.

Daughtry said that since Decker asked the state GOP last week to return a pledge he had signed to vote for a Republican candidate for speaker, he wasn't entirely surprised.

"We don't think it changes anything. In the vote count, we never counted him anyway," Daughtry said.

Reaction from Republicans was swift and harsh, though, prompting comparisons of Decker to Benedict Arnold and to Sen. Jim Jeffords, the Vermont Republican who switched to become an independent in 2001, throwing control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats.

"Given Mike Decker's conservative voting record in the General Assembly, I find this to be irrational and bizarre behavior," said Bill Cobey, the chairman of the N.C. Republican Party.

"Mike Decker will unfortunately go down in history as North Carolina's own Jim Jeffords, switching a closely divided state House from the party that was elected to the majority - the Republican Party - to the party that lost the majority in the November elections - the Democrat Party."

Despite Decker's denials, Rep. Frank Mitchell, R-Iredell, and others speculated that Decker cut a deal with Black to become speaker pro tem, make $10,000 more than other legislators and pad his legislative retirement pay. "He's a political whore," Mitchell said.

Mitchell and others questioned how Decker will reconcile his fierce opposition to abortion with the Democratic platform. "How can he claim to be such a devout Christian and now switch to the Democrats, whom he has constantly criticized for their views on abortion and alcohol?" Mitchell asked.

"He needs to resign. The honorable thing for him to do is resign. I mean, that is a strongly Republican district," Cobey said. "I would hate to be him. How do you go to church? How do you go to the drugstore? People look at you and say, 'Have you sold out?'"

Anchored by the 6,000-member Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walkertown, Decker's district is 47 percent Republican and 37 percent Democratic in registration, ranking it the 13th most Republican among the 120 House districts.

"It's just stunning," said John Davis, the executive director of N.C. FREE, a group that tracks legislative election trends.

"In my mind, Decker would be the last Republican I would expect would switch parties - which means anything could happen," Davis said. "I think we're going to see more surprises."

Local Republicans were incensed at Decker's move.

"It was a betrayal to the voters of the 94th District who supported Michael Decker as a Republican. He has sold out the Republicans here in Forsyth County," said Bill Miller, the chairman of the Forsyth GOP.

"If we had the opportunity - and I understand in North Carolina there is no such thing as a recall - by God, we'd ask for a recall."

Cobey said that if the rumors are true about Decker looking to become speaker pro tem - a largely ceremonial position - in order to pad his retirement pay, "it smells very bad. It's the sort of thing that really makes the public more cynical about politics. Because this is a selfish and greedy act if that's why he's doing it."

In an interview Thursday, Decker said he had hoped to become speaker pro tem before Republicans instead nominated Rep. Joni Bowie, R-Guilford.

"There were some things done in the caucus that didn't set too well with me," Decker said. "There were some deals cut and some lies that were told."

But he denied rumors that he and Rep. Steve Wood, R-Guilford, were making a deal with Black to make Decker speaker pro tem.

Decker has successfully beat back primary challenges from more mainstream Republicans, and he said he had little fear of retribution from GOP leaders if he didn't back a Republican for speaker. Yesterday, he again denied the rumors that he had been promised a position by Democrats. "I don't have any wish list at all," he said.

Wood, meanwhile, declined to answer questions yesterday about whether he might switch party affiliation as well. Wood briefly joined the Reform Party after Republican legislators ousted him from their caucus in 1999, but last year he rejoined the Republican Party.

But despite their obvious excitement that it could help Black, even some Democrats were puzzled by Decker's move.

"We advertise ourselves as the all-inclusive party," Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson, said. "I didn't know we were that inclusive."

• David Rice can be reached in Raleigh at (919) 833-9056 or at

105 posted on 01/25/2003 8:56:54 AM PST by jern
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To: jern
Saturday, January 25, 2003 10:30AM EST

Party switch stirs up House
Michael Decker's move to the Democrats gives new life to Jim Black's efforts to keep speaker's post


A state lawmaker from Forsyth County was reborn a Democrat Friday, leaving the two major parties with an even grip on power in the state House of Representatives and sending an already tumultuous race for speaker into further chaos.
Rep. Michael P. Decker, an 18-year veteran of the House, has voted with staunch conservatives over the years on such issues as liquor sales, abortion and corporal punishment in schools. His defection stunned Republicans and Democrats, and instantly gave House Speaker Jim Black, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, new momentum in his efforts to retain his job. "I'll tell you what," Decker said, reached at his home in Walkertown. "I just decided that Jim Black was the best man for the job. And I felt like the only way to make sure that he had a chance at winning was to switch parties. And so I did."

The switch also wounded the candidacy of Republican Leo Daughtry of Smithfield. Daughtry has lost the advantage of a Republican majority and the confidence of dozens of remaining Republicans who now question his ability to keep the group together.

On Friday, 17 Republican newcomers to the House agreed to meet Tuesday, the day before the General Assembly is scheduled to convene, to nominate a new Republican candidate for speaker.

"The events of today have shown that there is a fracture in the Republican House caucus and that it's due to a lack of leadership," said freshman Rep. Stephen Laroque of Kinston. "The Republican leadership in the House needs to be changed from top to bottom."

Decker switched his voter registration at 10 a.m. Friday, according to the Forsyth County Board of Elections. Before the switch, Republicans controlled the House 61-59; now, the balance is 60-60.

Those numbers will determine the next speaker, who in turn appoints committee chairs and wields tremendous power over the flow of legislation through the chamber. The numbers also will influence the outcome of every piece of legislation, from the budget and beyond, to emerge from the legislature this year.

And the numbers could shift again. Speculation swirled Friday that Decker's defection is only the beginning, and several lawmakers said they share his view that GOP leaders have resorted too readily to intimidation on the speaker vote. Republicans boasted privately, as they have for weeks, that they remained poised to snatch a few Democrats of their own.

Decker and others criticized Daughtry for forcing a pledge to support only a Republican for speaker. They also resent the work of a new group called "Republicans Watching Republicans," which sent letters to some lawmakers urging party loyalty during session votes and threatening to send an "evaluation" of individual voting records to constituents.

"They're saying, you've got to vote Republican or we're going to intimidate you or look over your shoulder every time you vote," said Rep. Cary Allred, a Burlington Republican who has not committed to Daughtry. "They're going to expect me to vote on the Republican caucus position on everything, rather than vote for what's best for my Alamance County constituents?"

At the same time, Republican Party officials and Daughtry supporters speculated about Decker's motives.

State GOP Chairman Bill Cobey said he suspects Decker has been promised a leadership job under Black, such as speaker pro tem. And he suggested that Decker was after the additional pay and retirement benefits that come with a leadership post.

"Is this what we've lowered ourselves to, that positions are for sale?" Cobey asked. "And of course, I don't know. But I'm going to be watching what happens. Here's a guy with a very conservative voting record. It can't be about ideology. It has to be about something else."

Decker, a substitute teacher with little income other than $20,600 in legislative pay and office allowance each year, denied that he struck a deal with Black.

"I didn't ask and he didn't offer," he said.

But Decker did say he is interested in a leadership job. And he acknowledged his disappointment that he was not nominated speaker pro tem by Republicans when they selected their leadership team in the fall.

"There are a lot of political operatives who are upset, and all the Republican members of the House are upset over this," Decker said. "But the rank-and-file people realize that this is a struggle over who is the speaker, who is going to control the House. And that is what it really boils down to."

Black was unavailable Friday but issued a statement welcoming Decker to the Democratic Party.

Gov. Mike Easley also issued a statement that avoided all partisan rhetoric and reiterated his promise to work with all lawmakers "regardless of party affiliation" to balance the budget.

But on the Republican side, the opinions were less tempered.

Rep. Sam Ellis, a Raleigh Republican, said Decker must have "lost consciousness." Daughtry, who learned of the news from Decker's son, said: "If he was promised speaker pro tem, then that would make sense."

In Forsyth County, local party activists began organizing a picketing campaign to force Decker to resign. They will be in Raleigh on Wednesday with "Impeach Mike Decker" signs, said Joyce Krawiec of Kernersville.

"We have stood in a lot of rain working polls for him for a lot of years," Krawiec said. "I was just outraged that he had sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver."

Decker should prepare, some said, for intense pressure over the weekend from local political figures, church friends and even neighbors. Next Wednesday, when the legislature convenes, he might face a few unfriendly stares.

"I wonder what he was thinking," said Rep. Jim Gulley, a Mecklenburg County Republican. "He comes from such a religious side of the Republican Party, and now he's going over to the Democratic Party, which supports abortion and supports the things that he was purportedly against. And I just don't understand what he's thinking."

Staff writer Amy Gardner can be reached at 829-8902 or
106 posted on 01/25/2003 8:57:34 AM PST by jern
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To: Madcelt
Heh heh.
Like I said in post #31, I'd prefer a good old-fashioned tarring and feathering.

107 posted on 01/25/2003 9:46:43 AM PST by Constitution Day ("Liberals have many tails, and chase them all." - H.L. Mencken)
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To: mykdsmom
I just heard your call on the Jerry Agar show. Good job!!

Mrs. CD thought what I said sounded "extreme". She doesn't listen to Agar much. :)

108 posted on 01/25/2003 9:48:42 AM PST by Constitution Day ("Liberals have many tails, and chase them all." - H.L. Mencken)
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To: jern
what is it with the North Carolina Republican Party?
109 posted on 01/25/2003 9:49:29 AM PST by TLBSHOW (Slamming the liberal bias media but GOOD!)
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To: guaguanco
The Mississippi Dems didn't change the minority party to the majority with their switches. Obviously this guy is a political whore, selling his loyalty to the highest bidder. Southern Blue Dog Democrats have more in common politically with the Republicans than the leadership of the Democratic party. That's even more true if they are also Southern Baptists since that religion is completely opposed to Liberal Dem support for abortion and homosexuality.
110 posted on 01/25/2003 10:04:01 AM PST by Tailback
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To: RightOnGOP
Constitution Day and I both started the NC FR chapter. He's the President I'm the Vice President. Where in the state do you live?

We've been holding monthly meetings with a pretty DISMAL turnout I must say. November's meeting was well attended because it was on election night.

I've had political signs in my yard and bumper stickers on my car.

I'm an independent and don't agree with a lot of what the GOP is doing in this state. In fact it seems like Republican legislators back stabbing and arguing has contributed somewhat to this defection.

I've attended protests against increases in taxes several times, not that it's done any good. I've attended a legislative session, which got dismissed REAL early because of a bomb scare, that was fun. I've e-mailed, called and faxed my elected representatives.

I've given several interviews to the N & O in which I've been quoted in multiple articles. I've written a few letters to the editor which have been published.

I feel I'm doing my share in this state to try to help the conservative cause. Basically I'm tired and discouraged after doing all of this because it never seems to do any good.

I didn't mean to sound snippy in my post to you but this whole thing has REALLY made me mad. Everything we've done had seemed to finally be paying off and now this. AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!


111 posted on 01/25/2003 11:48:54 AM PST by mykdsmom
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To: mykdsmom
I didn't mean to sound snippy in my post to you but this whole thing has REALLY made me mad

Yes, there's no need to be snippy about it, George!!! ;-)

112 posted on 01/25/2003 1:09:16 PM PST by JohnnyZ (Everyone knows that square is the shape of evil! -Spongebob Squarepants)
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To: Constitution Day
Yeah,but.....can ya torch'em after the tar and forget the feathers? (hee hee) Roast the Bird!

113 posted on 01/25/2003 2:16:31 PM PST by Madcelt (tis better to starve free, than live a fat slave!-Aesop)
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To: Madcelt
I find it interesting that he ran un-contested last November. Perhaps the deal was made before the election.
114 posted on 01/27/2003 4:14:08 AM PST by VikingFan
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To: VikingFan
Deal made prior to election is highly unlikely. He happened to be an incumbent Republican(re-elected many times), in a (fairly) safe GOP area (Forsyth County voted for Dole over Bowles by more than 8,000 votes). I believe this was one of the races that did not attract a Dem opponent.

Also, it was unknown at that time, that the GOP had won a majority in the state house.

All combined, makes it all the more bitter for his constituents. Hope they remember, come primary time in '04. :(
115 posted on 01/27/2003 8:33:16 AM PST by RightOnGOP
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To: jern
I am hopping mad, Michael Decker is a member of the church I go to in Walkertown, NC , it is an Independent Fundemental Baptist Church. Usually the most Conservitive type of Baptist Church. If you really want to express constitutional rights like I will, He should be kicked out of our church for being dishonest. The pastor of the Church is the most impecable man i know and if he would recieve letters pertaining to Michael Decker's dishonesty I am sure he would seriously consider it. The pastors name is Dr. Bobby Roberson, who I know is not fond of politicians, especially of the dishonest kind. Turn up the heat and send a letter, no email to:

Dr. Bobby Roberson
Gospel Light Baptist Church
P.O. Box 70
Walkertown, NC 27051

Check back to this thread for on the scene updates
116 posted on 01/27/2003 8:55:25 AM PST by manumission
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To: jern
Here you go, found this on a message board:

Grass Roots North Carolina, P.O. Box 10684, Raleigh, NC 27605
919-664-8565, GRNC Alert Hotline: (919) 562-4137

GRNC Alert 1-26-03:


[Analysis] As you may have heard, NC House Representative MIKE DECKER, formerly
R-Forsyth, has now defected to the Democratic Party, potentially costing
Republicans control of the NC House, which they won in the November election.
Other rumored defectors are Rep. STEVE W. WOOD (R-Guilford) and Rep. RICHARD
MORGAN (R-Moore).

Let's make one thing very clear: GRNC is a non-partisan organization; we
promote gun rights, not Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians. Moreover, under
the direction of Speaker JIM BLACK (D-Mecklenburg), the
Democratically-controlled NC House has been fair to gun rights.

The Democratically-controlled Senate, however, has been another matter. Under
the control of Sen. MARC BASNIGHT (D-Dare), the Senate has consistently
undermined the rights of gun owners. And although the three defectors have
excellent voting records on gun issues (Decker has even sponsored reciprocity
legislation), and although their defections are undoubtedly related to
intra-party bickering rather than Second Amendment issues, their pettiness
stands to damage your interests, and here is how.

Political districts changed for the 2002 elections. In fact, due to lawsuits,
they were drawn by the courts, and gave Second Amendment supporters far better
representation in both the NC House and Senate.

BUT THESE DISTRICTS ARE TEMPORARY!! In the upcoming session, the NC legislature
will create permanent districts which will impact gun rights FOR THE NEXT TEN
YEARS. By giving control of both bodies to the Democratic Party, Decker et al.
effectively cede more control of the redistricting process to Basnight and the
more anti-gun Senate.


Although it is probably too late to sway Decker (he has already registered as a
to get the message to them ASAP, contact these Reps. AT HOME, not at the
General Assembly. Difficult though it may be under the circumstances, GRNC
continues to advise civility when contacting election representatives.


STEVE WOOD: at 336-883-9663, 1221-E North Main St., High Point, NC 27262. If
unable to reach him at home, contact his legislative office at: Phone:
919-733-5749, E-mail: Stevewo@n...

RICHARD MORGAN: at 910-948-4238, 8688 NC Highway 705, Eagle Springs, NC 27242,
Fax: 910-295-4578. If unable to reach him at home, his legislative office is
at: 919-715-3010, Richardm@n...

Remind Wood and Morgan that you didn't elect them to subvert your rights and
your representation in the governing process. Also contact:

MIKE DECKER: Again, it is probably too late for Decker, so contact only if time
permits. Let him know that you are disappointed that a conservative gun rights
supporter who even sponsored reciprocity legislation would willingly give
anti-gun liberals a greater voice in the legislature. Contact Decker at
336-595-3008, or at his legislative office: 919-733-5988, Miked@n...

117 posted on 01/27/2003 11:13:07 AM PST by Copernicus (A Constitutional Republic revolves around Sovereign Citizens, not citizens around government.)
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