#Never Trump

WeddingThe Bane of the GOP

If you are enthusiastic about the candidacy of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, then this article is not for you. If you don’t find either candidate particularly appealing, but have decided to vote for one of them because “you have no choice”, then this article is not for you. If you are a registered Republican and beside yourself at the thought of casting a vote for Donald Trump, then you might want to read this article because misery loves company.
First, you are not alone. Actually, about half of the Republican voters in this country agree with you. Second, don’t give up hope. Even though Donald Trump is our “presumptive nominee”, the convention is still a few weeks away and there is a preponderance of discord within the party.
Some interesting facts:
1. Every poll since the beginning of the primary season has shown Donald Trump losing to Hillary Clinton.

2. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidates in the history of polling.

3. Three out of Four women do not support a Trump candidacy. (Incidentally, women vote more often and have more influence over votes than men)

4. Trump has very low support among minority and millennial voters.

5. The GOP field was rich with 17 candidates when the primary season began, and the most inexperienced and vacuous among them is now our nominee.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy back in June, most of us did not take him seriously. It appeared to be just another opportunity for him to grab the spotlight, but we obviously underestimated him. My favorite analogy of the Trump phenomenon comes from Greg Gutfeld of Fox News (also anti-Trump), “Donald Trump is like the guy in high school who tries out for the lead in the school play to impress a girl, never expecting to get the part.” The problem for many of us is, now that we have him, what can we do about it? The chances for a contested convention are off the table. With Cruz and Kasich out of the race, Trump will likely get the 1237 delegates he needs pre-convention.
The only real chance we have is with a third-party candidate, and historically this has not proven a winning situation. Most recently, in 1992, Ross Perot ran as an Independent and in so doing, managed to hand the election to Bill Clinton over incumbent George H. W. Bush. This is a risky endeavor, but the conservative movement is already at risk with Donald Trump at the helm of the GOP. Don’t kid yourself, he is not a conservative. Not now, not ever. Many Republicans fear that he will set the conservative movement back fifty years, if not destroy it completely. Trump will say what he thinks the conservatives want to hear, but at heart he is more moderate to liberal Democrat.
Remember, Trump contributed financially to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, to name just a few. Admittedly, he has also donated to Republicans, but more than half his donations have been to the Democratic Party, of which he was a recent member. Another fun fact, his adult children could not vote for him in this year’s New York primary, as they are still registered Democrats and New York has a closed primary. I think if an Independent could ever win, 2016 would be their best bet.
This idea of a third-party candidate is currently being researched by Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and outspoken critic of Trump. A few days ago, he met with Mitt Romney to float the idea and get Romney’s input on the viability of it as an option to Trump. Incidentally, Mitt Romney has said that at this point, he will not vote for either Trump or Clinton. He is not alone, either. Columnist and Fox News contributor, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, said on the O’Reilly Factor this last week that he has no intention of supporting either candidate. These people are highly-respected individuals who take the business of politics very seriously, so this is truly a contentious situation. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, publicly stated his aversion to the Trump candidacy, and incurred the wrath of a lot of colleagues within his party.
Several months back, as Trump began to rise in the polls and was believed to be a legitimate contender for the nomination, a Twitter movement known as #Never Trump emerged. If you are not familiar with Twitter, the “hashtag” identifies a certain topic or subject matter to others who follow Twitter. “Never Trump” means exactly that. These people will not ever vote for Trump under any circumstance. The Never Trump movement took off almost immediately. Media pundits and politicos have spoken derisively of those who refer to themselves as “Never Trump”, but it is a force to be reckoned with. After Cruz left the race, and Trump became the de facto nominee, the media largely quelled the movement. They were premature though; Twitter is exploding with Never Trump tweets.
A majority of the population think we can do better than Trump or Clinton. They don’t feel well represented by either candidate, and they want another option. I am part of the #Never Trump movement because I cannot bring myself to vote for a man I consider vulgar, amoral, juvenile, bombastic, insipid, dangerous and totally inept in foreign policy and government. In my opinion, Trump is the antithesis of a commander in chief.
The fact that Hillary Clinton is every bit as distasteful does not make it any more palatable to vote for him. This is not a decision I make lightly. I love my country and I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to vote. I consider it both an honor and a privilege. However, implicit in this honor is following my conscience and making a decision based on my best moral judgment. I cannot do that and simultaneously vote for Donald Trump.
Nebraska Republican Senator, Ben Sasse, also an outspoken Trump critic, talks of drafting “an honest leader” to run as a third party candidate. In a lengthy Facebook post, the Senator outlined his thoughts on the Trump/Clinton candidacies, and invited open discussion among disenfranchised GOP voters for an alternative.
Will it come to fruition? Hard to say. At this point, only one thing in this crazy primary season is perfectly clear: the #Never Trump movement is alive and well.

The Power of the Press

Trump TriadHow Fox News Has Propelled Donald Trump to the Nomination

I don’t think anyone expected Donald Trump to enjoy the phenomenal success he has since announcing his candidacy for the presidency. Did he have the name recognition? Yes. Was he successful? Yes. Did he have the financial backing? Yes. (His own, mostly) Was he politically savvy? No. Not even a little bit. And, this was not Donald Trump’s first rodeo. Since the late 1980’s, Trump has publicly mulled the idea of a presidential bid in multiple election cycles, and even entered the race as a Reform Party candidate in 2000, dropping out in February of that year.

Also, Donald Trump’s penchant for provocative statements is not exactly a useful trait for someone running for political office. Oddly enough it ultimately worked to his benefit, as voters found his outspokenness and political “incorrectness” a nice change in our current climate. With all this in mind though, he was not seen as a serious contender. Adding to the equation the fact that he was up against sixteen talented candidates, his chances seemed slim to none.

That was last summer. Today, things look much different. That promising field of seventeen has dwindled to three, with Donald Trump leading the pack. Of course, to secure the prize, he has to reach a threshold of 1237 delegates before the Republican National Convention in July. With his current delegate count of 845, he’s still short of the mark. If he does not reach the magic number of 1237, the GOP will find itself in a contested convention where the nominee will be chosen by the delegates. There are all kinds of rules binding delegates to certain candidates through the first or second ballot, but usually by the third ballot all delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Contested conventions are a rare occurrence in the history of the GOP, and undesirable because of the likelihood of a fractured party and “bloodied” candidate.

In 1976, President Ford entered the Republican convention short of the requisite number, and found himself in a competition with Ronald Reagan. Of course, President Ford secured the needed votes on the first ballot, and the suspense was over. The last time a convention advanced beyond the first ballot vote was in 1952, when the Democratic convention selected Adlai Stevenson.

So what has propelled Donald Trump to his current spot at the top of the leader board? In a word, media. In my humble opinion, Fox News is the main culprit. Since his entrance into the primary, Donald Trump has received nearly $2 billion dollars in free media coverage, with nearly $30 million coming from Fox News Channel. I call them the main culprit, because as a well-known and highly popular conservative news organization they carry a lot of weight with those of us who identify ourselves as Republican, and especially, Conservative. I’m a regular viewer of Fox News, or was anyway.

By legitimizing Trump’s candidacy with their unprecedented coverage and their obvious support for him, they have given him the green light among voters. If FNC, the conservative media giant, is for him who should be against him?

The enamor of Trump, other than how it translates to ratings, escapes me. The anchors and commentators at Fox are very knowledgeable politically. There is simply no way they can sincerely believe that he possesses the skill set to lead our country. The man cannot even complete a sentence. His performance in debates, other than his one-liners and insults, is abysmal. Of course, they most often spin it as a win for him, but anyone who has watched him attempt to answer policy questions is well aware that he is in over his head.

As an example, in the CNN debate in December, he was questioned on the nuclear triad. It was clear that he was unfamiliar with the term, and his answer was nonsensical. I’m not trying to slam the man; politics is a complex business and it is not something you can expect to learn in a few months. I don’t see Donald Trump as the type of person who wants to crack the books and start schooling himself in history and geopolitics. That’s just not his thing. He would much rather be on Twitter or calling into a news show with some incendiary remark. However, the presidency should not be an entry level position.

While Fox News might find Trump’s effectively turning the GOP upside down refreshing, I find it downright scary. Just this past week, he announced that he wants to change the GOP platform on abortion, allowing exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother. This is no small matter. We’re talking about a basic tenet of the Republican Party, and Fox News has been mute on the subject. The abortion issue is complex, and I will not get into it here, but anyone who deludes himself into thinking Donald Trump is a Conservative is going to pay a high price in November. He is not now, nor has he ever been conservative. Fox News portrayal of him as such is disingenuous, to say the least. I must add there are a few at FNC who refuse to jump on the “Trump train”. Stephen Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Greg Gutfeld have resisted the urge to fawn over Donald Trump.

Every poll from the beginning of the primary season has shown Hillary Clinton will crush Trump in a general election, so any of the other sixteen candidates would have been preferable as a nominee. A contested convention may be our only hope for selecting an electable candidate. Of course, Trump has continued to fire up his supporters with how the GOP is attempting to steal the nomination from him, insuring rioting at the convention if he doesn’t win. He seems incapable of understanding that going into the convention short of 1237 delegates means he didn’t win. His accusations of delegates being “unfairly” awarded in individual primaries discount the fact that each state has its own rules.

Personally, I hope he does as he threatened early on and leaves the GOP to run as an Independent. With Trump, it’s a lose/lose anyway, and I would rather lose with a credible candidate who reflects the brand of the GOP, than see our party trampled by the likes of Donald Trump. No one man is worth the destruction of the Republican Party.

Fox News is complicit in Donald Trump’s success. They have elevated him over the other candidates, promoted his platform, and given him a pass on hard policy questions. (Again, I am not referencing all the commentators at Fox News). Their selective representation of his policies, failure to hold his feet to the fire on releasing tax returns and total dismissal of his past liberal views, should weigh heavy on them in November.

Rubio’s Path Forward

 

Where Does He Go From Here?

 Rubio on Time

The evening of March 15, brought the end of Senator Marco Rubio’s bid for the White House. Losing his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, and along with it, all 99 delegates, Rubio suspended his campaign. Although he still has more delegates than John Kasich, even with Kasich’s Ohio win, Rubio took one for the team, and backed out of the race with a speech that was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan in 1976. Reagan delivered a speech to his tearful campaign staff in Kansas City, Missouri, after he failed to win the Republican nomination that was akin to the upbeat message Rubio delivered. Both candidates entreated their constituents to remain optimistic in the face of defeat, but struck a tone that left them wondering if their beloved candidates would rise again.

For those of us who supported Marco Rubio, it was a heart-wrenching evening, indeed. I am still mourning the loss. It felt like 2012 all over again, when I sat on the floor in my family room watching the election returns as Mitt Romney challenged incumbent President Obama. I really thought that Romney would prevail, as did pundits like Dick Morris who predicted a landslide win for Romney. Karl Rove infamously thought news stations had called the race too early and continued working the delegate math on his dry erase board, but it was not to be. The voters had spoken and returned Obama to Washington for another four years. I remember staring blankly at the television wondering how this could happen, and when I saw Barack Obama head to the podium for his victory speech, I hit the “off” button on the remote. I prepared for four more long years, and prayed for a winning candidate in 2016. For me, Marco Rubio was that candidate.

I will admit I did not support Rubio initially. I was really a fan of Ben Carson and his common sense approach to politics. After watching a few debates, and reading Rubio’s autobiography, “An American Son”, I became a believer. I have never cared for Trump or Cruz, and now, after seventeen candidates, this is where we are. Kasich has no path, so he will be gone in due time. I have negative feelings towards Kasich anyway, and I think he should have departed the race before Rubio. He cost Marco a minimum of a win in Virginia, and if Carson and he had just put aside their egos earlier, as they polled in single digits, this race would look quite different. Even now, Kasich refuses to throw in the towel.

Winning Ohio is not the coup most would think for his campaign, as he is their sitting Governor. I read a great analysis of Kasich’s character on twitter some weeks back, “He’s the guy in the office who drinks the last cup of coffee and doesn’t make a fresh pot.” Some think he is bucking for the vice-presidential spot on a Trump ticket and that could be, but I really believe he thinks he can win and so refuses to cede the floor.

Where does Rubio go from here? He opted not to run for reelection to the Senate, so his term will be up in January 2017. Rubio hit the political scene as a rising star in the Tea Party movement in 2010, after winning a hard-fought election against “establishment” favorite, Charlie Crist. Time Magazine and many among the GOP referred to him as, “The Republican Savior”. I think it is highly unlikely that he is finished in the political arena. He has too much talent and an intrinsic motivation to serve in public office.

A logical move after his time as a State Representative and Speaker of the Florida House would be a run for Governor. The current Governor, Rick Scott, will be term limited in 2018, and rumor has it he will seek election to the United States Senate. At 44, Marco Rubio has a lot of time to make a second bid for the White House, as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan did before him.

This election cycle has been like none other. I do not think anyone expected Donald Trump to be the frontrunner, edging out the more qualified candidates. I think we will most likely have a contested convention in Cleveland, as even Trump with a plurality of delegates will have to secure over 55% in each state going forward to cinch the nomination. In true Trump fashion, he has already promised, “rioting in the streets” if the GOP tries to deny him the nomination. Ted Cruz will need 78% of the delegates going forward to win the nomination outright, so the chances for him to be the de facto nominee are even slimmer.image

In addition, Marco Rubio still has 164 delegates, and most remain his until after the first ballot of the convention. In his concession speech in Florida, he said he was “suspending” his campaign. In 1992, Ross Perot reentered the race as late as October against George Bush and Bill Clinton, so stranger things have happened. We could even see a deal prior to or at the convention where a Cruz/Rubio ticket emerges, which would be formidable.

 

One thing is for sure, neither Trump nor Cruz is the first choice of the GOP. They want to win and Donald Trump loses in every poll against Clinton, and Cruz does not fare well in most. They would much rather have Rubio, because he is the only candidate who has polled consistently to win a match-up against Hillary Clinton. Will they bring him back in as a unity candidate at the convention? Doubtful maybe, but then again, politics is a strange science.

I can promise you this: we have not seen the last of Marco Rubio.

Vote Rubio Not Trump

Marco Rubio Best Chance Against Hillary Clinton

imagesVE442OWMToday is Super Tuesday, and twelve states are casting their votes for the GOP candidate that they support. Oklahoma is one of these states. Today’s election, in my opinion, is actually more important than the general election we will have on November 6, 2016, for this reason; Oklahoma historically votes Republican. For example, in 2012, President Obama did not win a single county in our state. On Election Day in November, Oklahoma will be Red.

Today is our chance to select the candidate we believe is most likely to defeat the Democratic candidate and win the presidency. If we do not get this election right, we will lose the election in November. Voters have to think ahead to the end game. No matter whom you might personally like, if they cannot win the White House, then this primary is an exercise in futility.

At this point, Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are alternately second and third. Hear this; Donald Trump cannot defeat Hillary Clinton, the de facto Democrat nominee. She will wipe the floor with Trump, and every poll shows that to be correct. She can call him out on his insubstantial knowledge of the issues, his plethora of past business and personal indiscretions, the fact that he supported Democratic candidates, including donating to the questionable Clinton Foundation, and the list goes on. If you do not trust the polls, then trust common sense and political strategy.

First, the Democrats want Trump to win the primary, and that is a telltale sign. If you follow the news, you know this is true. He will be the easiest candidate for them to defeat in November. He has no political experience, no depth as a candidate, and he has a controversial background. When the primary is over, the media will tear him to shreds.

Second, the media wants Trump to win because he drives ratings, and because most of them are liberal and they know he will lose in a general election. They have given him the benefit of more television, newspaper and internet coverage than any other candidate has received. That translates into millions of dollars that would be cost prohibitive for the other candidates. In the televised debates, they have deferred to him on airtime, and given him a pass on tough questions.

A case in point: Anderson Cooper of CNN hosted a Town Hall in South Carolina, with all the Republican Candidates. Jeb Bush was still in the race, so they divided over two nights, three and three. They were on an individual basis, and the candidates answered questions by voters and by Anderson. While the other candidates answered questions on policy, Trump and Anderson discussed what kind of fast food Trump likes, his favorite music, and his tips on parenting.

When Trump refused to participate in a Fox News debate, because he objected to Megyn Kelly as a moderator, (she does not treat him fairly) the media shrugged it off. When he said he could stand on Fifth Avenue in New York City, shoot someone, and still not lose supporters, and when he did not immediately disavow the KKK, the media just quoted him. I can list dozens of cases where the media mitigates Trump’s disrespectful and inappropriate behavior and comments. They would destroy any of the other candidates for acting in a similar manner. The disparity is undeniable. Make no mistake though, if Trump secures the nomination, the kid gloves will come off and the media will obliterate him, and there is ample material for them to do so.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are the other viable options. They are the only two who have a chance to defeat Donald Trump. The polls have consistently shown that Marco Rubio is the ONLY candidate that beats Hillary Clinton in the general election in November, and this is why the Democrats DO NOT want Marco to be the nominee. Joe Trippi, a Democratic consultant, came right out and said that last week on Fox News. In an off-handed comment, he said Democrats would rather run against Trump, or possibly Cruz, but not Rubio. Bill Burton, another Democratic strategist, has echoed that repeatedly ever since the primary season began.

I will take Ted Cruz over Donald Trump every day of the week, but Rubio has a much better chance to win in November, and that is the point of this elective process. Ted Cruz does not have the support of his own party, and Hillary Clinton will capitalize on that fact. He has a reputation in Washington for being difficult to work with and he is more concerned with promoting himself as an “outsider” in the beltway, than he is with working across the aisle to enact legislation. Hillary will depict his as polarizing and extremist. A president must be able to negotiate with both parties, or nothing is accomplished. Ronald Reagan is an excellent example. He knew he would be unable to further his agenda without some support from the Democrats. That’s just the way Washington works.

Marco Rubio has the endorsement of conservative Senators like Tom Coburn, Trey Gowdy and Tim Scott, to name just a few. His list of endorsements is extensive, including Oklahoman David Green, a Christian conservative, and founder of Hobby Lobby. His likeability and reputation for a willingness to work alongside the Democrats is widespread. Despite how the media and other candidates portray him, he has an ACU (American Conservative Union) rating of 98%, and he was the Tea Party favorite when he ran his senatorial campaign in Florida. His personal biography is the American dream, and his own life experiences uniquely qualify him as a contrast to Hillary Clinton. In Glenn Beck’s words, “He will crush Hillary Clinton in a debate. He will make her look like she is a 1000 years old”.

Everyone has to make their own decision about whom they will support in this primary. I have studied the remaining candidates, and I am 100% certain Marco Rubio is the one to beat Hillary Clinton in November. I had the opportunity to see him and hear him speak at two of his rallies here in Oklahoma. I can tell you he has the charisma of a Jack Kennedy and the political savvy and strategy of a Ronald Reagan. I cannot think of a more winning combination.

The Deportation Myth

The Trump and Cruz Plans

The donald     Most Americans are anxious about our fluid borders and the number of illegal immigrants currently residing in our country. Next to the economy, the immigration issue ranks highest among voters. With approximately 11 million illegals, some of whom engage in criminal activity, it is a valid concern.Ted Cruz

Over the course of this primary season, we have heard all the candidates state their position on immigration reform, and though they differ in their approach, they all agree that we must first secure the border before any real improvement will occur.

The current frontrunner, Donald Trump, has grown his popularity with voters largely because he is so outspoken on this issue. He has called for a “ban on all Muslims” entering the United States, as well as promised to deport all 11 million persons here illegally. In his words, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” His harsh rhetoric scores points with voters who like his tough stance.

Senator Ted Cruz has also portrayed himself as being very hard-lined on the issue. He stopped short of Trump’s “mass deportation”, until this past Monday. In what some believe is an effort to gain the support of Trump voters, Ted Cruz now states that as president, he will also actively hunt down and deport the undocumented, but unlike Trump, he will not allow the “good ones” to reenter the United States legally. They will be permanently ineligible for citizenship.

Appearing on the O’Reilly Factor Tuesday evening, Cruz said he would have ICE agents systematically arrest and deport ANYONE that is here illegally. When Bill O’Reilly gave him a hypothetical scenario of an Irishman illegally residing in New York for decades, but working and law-abiding, and asked if Cruz would deport him as well, Cruz answered affirmatively. There will be no exceptions.

Now, I personally believe that we must seal our border to prevent further immigration issues, not to mention the risk of terrorist infiltration, but I do think there is a more humane approach to those already here, who have no criminal record. For the sake of argument, is a so-called mass deportation even plausible? Aside from the obvious emotional toll of breaking up families, perhaps leaving children with only one parent, is it even legal? As appealing as it may be to some voters, if is not possible to enforce, then it is just another political maneuver designed to attract votes.

According to guests on last night’s O’Reilly Factor, John Yoo, formerly of the DOJ under President George W. Bush, and Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law attorney, everyone here in this country is entitled to due process. It does not matter if they are here illegally. If they are on American soil, they are entitled to make their case before a Judge. ICE agents can legally apprehend them, but they cannot immediately deport them. They must first take them to a detention facility until they can appear before a Judge. There are exceptions for those apprehended at the border and denied entry, and for those who choose to leave voluntarily.

Currently, we have 242 immigration Judges in the United States, and hundreds of thousands of cases pending. There is a backlog of one and half years to three years, depending on the state. Judge Dana Leigh Marks, of San Francisco, said, “I have over 2,400 pending cases…my first date on the docket is three and a half years from now.”

The time and costs involved in deportation cases is significant, including the cost of transportation by air for those here from countries other than Mexico. A more efficient system, with a substantial increase in the number of immigration judges would improve the timeline, but no matter what, this issue is a logistical nightmare. The idea that under a Trump or Cruz presidency, we will witness an exodus of millions of illegals as they disappear over the horizon is mythical.

For Trump and Cruz, it makes for good copy, and it certainly garners votes. It is a contentious issue, and Americans impatiently await a resolution. When a candidate promises to round these people up and ship them out, it sounds like a welcome and swift solution. However, we all know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and the reality is there is not an easy answer. If this happens to be your “go to” issue when selecting a candidate to support for the Republican nomination, you might want to educate yourself on the probability of them following through on their campaign promise.

 

Sources:

 

“Immigration Controversy”, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC.24Feb2016.Television

Kelly, Erin. “Immigration Judges Call for Reform.” USA Today, 27 Aug. 2014. Web.

 

The GOP Field After South Carolina

 Still a Three-Man Race

Trump Cruz and Rubio

After New Hampshire, and Kasich’s second place finish, the media did its best to convince us that we were witnessing a shake-up in the whole GOP race. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, in that order, rounded out the top five in that primary. Having Bush finish over Rubio had the pundits debating whether Senator Rubio actually had a path to the nomination. Of course, for quite some time the polls had Trump winning and Kasich with a strong showing because that is where he spent most of his time and funding, but they like to spin!

Apparently, Senator Rubio’s stumble in one interaction with Chris Christie was enough to drag his numbers down, and move Bush up. However, despite the media predictions, neither Kasich nor Bush had a clear path beyond New Hampshire. The media frenzy notwithstanding, I opined it was a three-man race.

After ten days, endless hours of pondering by the pundits, and millions of dollars in advertising, guess what? It is still a three-man race. Trump came in first in South Carolina, with 32.5%, followed by Rubio with 22.5%, and Cruz with 22.3%. Jeb Bush came in fourth, at 7.8%, Kasich fifth with 7.6% and Carson with 7.2%. Bush had the wisdom and grace to suspend his campaign last night, going out with an emotive speech. Kasich and Carson are vowing to stay in and continue fighting the not so good fight. They are not doing themselves or the GOP any favors by doing so. The numbers speak loudly though, Kasich and Carson are on borrowed time.

During Trump’s victory speech last night, he condemned news organizations for saying that as the field continues to winnow, the orphaned supporters will not go to Trump. He thinks otherwise. We need to remember that Trump has never had more than thirty-five percent of support among GOP voters, which means that 65 percent of them do not like him. That is a significant number.

Although he is presently leading in the delegate count, he still has only four percent of the total delegates he will need to secure the nomination. Despite what you hear from the media, this race is far from over, and Trump is not our de facto nominee. Let’s break it down, using the South Carolina numbers.

Jeb Bush supporters will NEVER support Trump. They will most likely go to Marco Rubio, because Ted Cruz is too extreme for them. Add Bush’s 7.8% to Rubio’s 22.5%, and now Rubio is at 30.3%. It is just a matter of time before Kasich and Carson go the way of Jeb Bush, and if they want to help the party, they will do it sooner. Right now, they are just propelling Trump towards the nomination. Kasich supporters could possibly split between Trump and Rubio. Again, they will probably find Cruz too extreme. Add half of Kasich’s 7.6% to Donald Trump, which brings him to 36.2%, and half to Marco Rubio, which brings him to 34.1%.

The Carson folks will not go to Trump. Cruz has disenchanted them with his Iowa campaign shenanigans, so I think they will most likely get behind Rubio, especially if Ben Carson endorses Rubio. That now puts Rubio at 41.3%. As the field narrows further, it will have a deleterious effect on Donald Trump. Even if Cruz inherits some of Carson’s supporters, Trump’s numbers will still go down. Keep in mind that the next primaries are not “winner take all”. Their delegates will be divided proportionally.

Ted Cruz had the edge in South Carolina. He did not win one county in the state. With a large population of evangelical voters, (72%) they were supposed to be heavy in the Cruz camp, but Trump won 33% of their vote to Ted Cruz’s 27%, and Marco Rubio’s 22%. At this point in the primary, Ted Cruz is the candidate on the shakiest ground. His path forward really depends on the evangelical vote, and he is not getting a plurality.

Rubio had a second place finish, and despite the narrow margin over Cruz, Marco Rubio had some great exit poll numbers. He scored highest with voters in three categories: those who are split over whether they want a candidate with experience, those who back some sort of a legal pathway to citizenship, and those that identify themselves as “late deciders” in their choice of candidate. Most importantly, Rubio still polls as the candidate most likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

With Jeb Bush out of the race, look for Marco Rubio to pick up steam going into the next primary in Nevada. Also, look for former Bush supporters, like Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, to throw their endorsement to Senator Rubio. Lastly, as we have fewer candidates on the debate stage, Trump’s deficiencies as a candidate will become more apparent. “We’re going to build a beautiful wall”, will only get you so far. Now, if we can just get Ted Cruz out….

How The Constitution Should Influence the 2016 Election

by contributing author

Dr. James Harlanimage

We are in the midst of an election cycle in which the two parties could not possibly be more opposed. On virtually every single issue, one party’s view is the exact opposite of the other party’s view. There is almost zero room for compromise. One party wants to abolish abortion, the other wants to increase access to abortion and extend the time frame in which it is legal. How do you compromise on that? Only allow abortion in odd-numbered years? One party wants to expand gun rights, the other would gladly send the police door-to-door to round up all the guns if they thought they could get away with it. How can you compromise? One party wants to abolish government-funded healthcare, the other wants to not only expand it, but to establish it as the only healthcare. How can you compromise? One party wants to deal with the national debt by cutting spending and decreasing taxes, the other wants to raise taxes and increase spending. We couldn’t possibly be more opposite.

At the end of the day, when two views are completely opposed, only one can be right—or at least, more right. So how do we decide? Fortunately, the Founding Fathers saw this moment coming. They were all educated people who had experienced firsthand what happens when a government becomes corrupt. The greatest empires in history—including the British Empire which the colonists overthrew—all became corrupt or too big to sustain themselves and eventually failed. Likewise, the Founding Fathers knew that, given enough time, the United States government could become corrupt. Hard to believe, I know. So, rather than doom future generations to a violent revolution, they decided to create a list of rules constraining the government, and a list of rights granted to the citizens which could not be constrained by the government. In so doing, they provided us a document—in essence, a rule book—to define what is “right.” Or at least, what is legal. They outlined the structure of the central government, and more importantly, the rights of the people. The latter subject is defined in the Bill of Rights, the former in the Constitution. Our government was never intended to be strong, and it was never intended to rule We the People. It was never intended to provide for us, nor to take from us (other than what it needed to carry out its day-to-day work). However, with each new administration and each new Congressional session, the government has grown. New laws are enacted while old ones remain on the books. The government creates new departments without removing existing ones. And every year the budget increases. The government we have today is vastly different from the one established in the late 1700’s.

Which brings us to our present conflicts. Today we really have two separate conflicts going on in politics, which many people (myself included) often forget to separate. One is the argument about what is ethically and morally just, and the other is about what is legal. Each party demonizes the other using a different argument. Unfortunately, what is legal is not always morally just, and vice versa. Is it moral to split apart immigrant families and deport those that are here illegally? No. Is it legal? Yes. Is it moral for evil people with no criminal or mental health records to buy guns and use them to kill others? No. Is it legal? Well, up until the killing part, yes. Is it moral to have an abortion? Many would argue that it is not. But is it legal? Yes. What we have to realize is that our government is not in the business of deciding what is moral and immoral. This is why we have religion and a conscience. The government is only in the business of deciding what is legal. The Founding Fathers were mostly religious people, and all of them assumed that the average American citizen would let their religion or their conscience be their guide. Boy were they wrong.

So, let’s simplify matters, and take both arguments separately. Setting aside morality for a moment, let’s examine just the legal argument. The Republicans argue that it is not legal, and that the federal government has no authority, to provide or mandate healthcare coverage. They are right. Nowhere in the Constitution is the government granted this power. Likewise, nowhere in the Bill of Rights are citizens granted the right to be provided with healthcare. Democrats demonize Republicans for being elitists and not caring about the millions of Americans with no access to healthcare, but they are using the moral argument. Republicans are against government healthcare because of the legal argument. It is illegal. Period.

Republicans—or at least, most of them—support gun rights. They support the 2nd Amendment. Most Democrats oppose it. Democrats appeal to our emotions, and they accuse Republicans and the NRA of not caring about the children dying in our schools. Again, this is a moral argument. Republicans support the legal precedent set by the Bill of Rights. Is it legal for the government to infringe on our right to bear arms? Let’s examine the text of the 2nd Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” No, it is illegal. Period.

The concept of “political correctness” has run amuck in recent years. College campuses and even some city governments (I’m looking at you, San Francisco) are now declaring which gender pronouns are accepted, which flags are not allowed to be flown, and what qualifies as “hate speech.” Individual special interest groups are declaring everything that does not sync up with their views to be “offensive,” and offensive language is being virtually banned from social media, Hollywood, schools, workplaces, etc. It seems any statement today can be misconstrued by somebody to be offensive, and therefore, not allowed. And, in an effort to appear inclusive, many entities—most notably colleges and primary schools—are cracking down on “offensive speech.” Of course, what constitutes offensive speech can apparently only be defined by those whom it offends. It comes as no surprise that the liberals and progressives in our society have jumped all over this bandwagon, and it is largely conservatives who are portrayed as racists and bigots and told to eliminate “hate speech,” whatever that might mean today. Is this legal? I believe the Founding Fathers can help us here, too. The 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Granted, the restriction specifically applies to Congress, not local governments, but the right itself is granted to The People. And any right granted to The People cannot be overridden, by any other group of people or municipality. It is illegal. Period.

Many issues of today can easily be solved by looking at the Constitution or the Bill of Rights for the legal answer to the question. This is why we have a Supreme Court. The problem arises when the line between what is legal and what is moral become blurred, and there is no specific mention in our founding documents. Take, for example, abortion. The act of abortion is something that the Founding Fathers could never have imagined. Nobody in their time had even thought of it. Abortion was officially deemed legal by the Supreme Court on January 22nd, 1973, based on a vague interpretation of abortion as being somehow related to medical privacy issues and due process under the 14th Amendment, and based on an interpretation of the 9th Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” In other words, the Supreme Court didn’t actually say abortion is legal, they just said that it isn’t illegal. And it isn’t illegal because it didn’t exist when the United States was formed, so it falls under the vague “other rights retained by the people” clause of the 9th Amendment. Therefore, it is purely a moral argument, and we really should write legislation either specifically allowing it or specifically prohibiting it, rather than continuing in this gray area of “it is legal only because it isn’t illegal.” That’s a job for the next administration.

Marriage is a similar issue. Like abortion, the Founding Fathers never fathomed the concept of gay marriage. It simply didn’t exist in the 1700’s. They just assumed—like we all did up until about the 1980’s—that marriage is between one man and one woman. Republicans largely support this definition of marriage. Democrats largely support legalizing gay marriage, which they recently accomplished through the Supreme Court using a similar judicial precedent as abortion: it’s legal because it isn’t illegal. And, like abortion, the problem lies in the fact that nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted the power to define, legalize, illegalize, or otherwise say anything about marriage. Well then, who is? The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, wrote the 10th Amendment for this reason: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Is it legal for the federal government to define marriage? No, it is illegal. Period. Whatever your views on gay marriage, the power to legalize it lies with the States or with the people. Not with the federal government or even the Supreme Court. Again, we have a purely moral argument, with no real legal guidance.

The problem with morality is that there is no one, single source for determining what is moral and what is immoral. It used to be that people were guided by their religions. Of course, now we live in a brave new world of progressivism, secularism, and political correctness, so our society can’t rely on religion to guide us anymore. Plus, our country was founded on the strict principle of separation of Church and State, a principle which I support. So how do we decide what is moral? I think in the case of determining morality for society, we have to look at nature. Since it is typically the progressive left that likes to think of humans as simply another species of mammal, formed by evolutionary processes, then this view should make sense to them. Is there any species of mammal that purposely kills its offspring while still in the womb? Is there any species of mammal where an individual willingly refuses to procreate with a member of the opposite gender and pass on their genes to the next generation, instead deciding to settle down with another individual of the same gender? After four years of studying biology in college, I can’t think of a single instance where this was the case. Therefore, in cases where there is no legal definition of morality, if it isn’t natural, then it probably isn’t something we should be encouraging our society to accept. At the very least, we should follow the 10th Amendment and leave it up to the States. Just because the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republik of Kalifornia want to legalize abortion and gay marriage, doesn’t mean the rest of America does.

Going through every important issue of the day in this manner could fill an entire book, so I won’t. My point is, in this election cycle, we as a people have to remember what the government is supposed to do, not what we want the government to do. Free college tuition and healthcare sound great, but the Constitution was written specifically to prevent the government from being powerful enough to do this and many other things the liberal left want this year, lest it become too big to sustain itself. I’m not saying the Republicans have the best answer on every issue, but at least what they want is more in line with what the Founding Fathers had envisioned.

Remember: A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything you have.

What Is the Point?

election 2016Our strategy for Election 2016

For those of us who identify as members of the GOP, our goal in November 2016 is to retake the White House, period. That is our end game. Regardless of who the Republican nominee is, we want him (Carly Fiorina is out of the race) to defeat the Democratic contender, and win the presidency. It is that simple, and that straightforward.

The Primary process is about anyone desiring the presidency throwing their hat in the ring, garnering financial support, and campaigning across the United States in an effort to prove to American voters why he or she is the best choice for the Republican Party. They make commercials, they go on radio and television news and talk shows, they participate in televised debates, and fly and bus their way through almost every state making their case.

Along the way, they spend millions of dollars, and some even engage in nasty personal attacks against their competition. Eventually though, after all the money is spent and the attacks are winding down, the field narrows itself with declining voter support and we come down to just one candidate, our de facto nominee.

We pin our hopes on this man to do us proud in November and win the election. It would logically follow then, that we would select the candidate most likely to do the job. If we do not, the primary process is really just academic.

Every day, we hear about the “polls”. What do the polls say? Which candidate is in the lead? Which candidate is the favorite to win a particular primary? Which candidate is the favorite among a specific group of voters? Polls are important. They might not always be 100% accurate, and they frequently change, but they relay vital information that influences campaign strategy, and voter opinion.

The poll that we need to pay the most attention to, however, is the poll that shows which candidate among our potential nominees is most likely to defeat Hillary Clinton. That particular poll consistently shows that candidate is Senator Marco Rubio. Check it out for yourself. The Democrats do not want Hillary Clinton to have to face Marco Rubio in a debate, much less in an election. Glenn Beck said about a Hillary/Marco debate, (you can look up the video) “Marco will make Hillary Clinton look like she is a 1000 years old!” Rubio and clinton

Marco Rubio is the candidate that the Democrat’s most fear, precisely because the polls show he will beat Hillary Clinton. If you follow the media, you have probably heard this repeatedly. Even Bill O’Reilly, of “The O’Reilly Factor”, said it on his show last week, and Bill is very factual. The National Review recently posted,

In fact, Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) is the only GOP contender who consistently defeats Hillary Clinton in head-to-head heats. In the NBC/WSJ survey, he beats Clinton 48 percent to 45. The Fox poll put the attractive, savvy, severely well-spoken Rubio at 45 percent and Clinton at 43. Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) loses to Clinton in the NBC/WSJ match-up, 43 percent to 48, while he ties her at 45 points in Fox’s contest.
 Why then, would Republican voters cast their vote for any of the other candidates still in the race? It just does not make sense. We want the man who can actually win the election. This is a pivotal period in our country, and thus a pivotal election. We cannot afford another four years of the Obama administration, which is what we will have with Hillary Clinton. So seriously consider whom you are casting your vote for in the primary election. Do not waste it on someone who cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, what is the point?

 

Sources:

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/429092/marco-rubio-conservative-polls-beats-hillary-clintonurces:

 

Game Over!

Christie

Chris Christie Is Out…

If Chris Christie thought he was helping his campaign as he attacked Marco Rubio during last Saturday night’s debate, he was mistaken. Christie invested a lot of time and money in New Hampshire, but after tonight’s primary results, it was all for naught. Finishing in sixth place, with 8% of the vote, the Christie campaign announced that he has suspended his presidential run. In their words, “He is returning to New Jersey to take a deep breath”.

Donald Trump was the big winner tonight for the GOP, taking 35% of the vote, with John Kasich at 16%, and Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio all at 11%. A sixth place finish disqualified Christie from participating in the next GOP debate scheduled for February 13, in Greenville, South Carolina. Only the candidates who placed in the top three in Iowa, and those finishing in the top five in New Hampshire will be included. That means that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich will be taking the stage.

Donald Trump has maintained a lead in New Hampshire, so everyone expected him to win, though not by the landslide number he received. John Kasich has spent the majority of his time in New Hampshire, as well as his campaign funds, so he was also expected to do well. Marco Rubio, who had an exceptional debate before the Iowa Caucus last week, and who outperformed his poll numbers there, went into New Hampshire with his numbers rising. His trajectory had many of the pundits expecting him to take second place. After the debate on Saturday night, and Christie’s attacks, the polls began to change. Although Senator Rubio regained his footing in the debate with Christie, and did very well in the latter part of the debate, the media hammered him over the last three days. Those who did not see the debate had only to open their newspapers or flip on their television to see how “badly” Rubio performed. The media has amazing power to shape voter opinion.

Obviously, I am not upset to see Christie out of the race, and this is not just because of his attacks on Rubio. I have never recovered from his speech at the Republican Convention in 2012, which had little to do with helping Mitt Romney, and a lot to do with helping Chris Christie. Worse still, I think his hug fest with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy, combined with the gushing words of praise for him, hurt Romney in the election. He’s just not someone I admire.

It was a disappointing night for the Rubio campaign, but he can resurrect his momentum with a powerful performance in both the South Carolina debate and primary. Rubio needs to pull ahead of Bush in that primary, but the word is already out that the Bush campaign is planning a “scorched earth” attack on Rubio going into the race. Jeb definitely has the money behind him, so it will be another hard fought contest to watch. Trump and Cruz poll well in South Carolina, but I do not expect that Kasich will have a strong showing.

The pundits are really spinning New Hampshire as shaking up the whole field, but I still see this as essentially a three-man race. Kasich will not be in much longer, because he does not have the infrastructure in the other states, or the funding to launch a strong ground campaign. If Jeb Bush does not do well in South Carolina, he may be out as well. He has the financial backing to go the distance, but I am hoping that he will consider the welfare of the GOP and suspend his campaign. At this point, his continued presence in the race benefits Trump.

That leaves Trump, Cruz and Rubio. All three have the funds and the organization to stay in the race and duke it out for the nomination. Marco Rubio is the ONLY candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton. All the polls have been consistent on that score. Most of the pundits agree. Bill O’Reilly even announced it on his show last night. The goal for the Republicans is to retake the White House in November. The voters need to get serious, look ahead, and coalesce behind the candidate who can win.

 

A Volatile GOP Debate

 Rubio Under AttackRubio

Well, apparently the media wants everyone to think that Senator Rubio really blew it tonight. Admittedly, Marco had a rough start. Going into the debate, all the pundits predicted that he would have a target on his back, and they were right. He took it like a man though, no whining as we saw from Ted Cruz in the last debate. After his surge coming out of Iowa, Rubio was in the unenviable position to be hit from above and below. With his third place finish in the caucus this past Monday, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump openly questioned Rubio’s rise in popularity both with the media and among voters. They finished first and second respectively, yet he garnered all the attention.

We are really in a three-man race at this point, Trump, Cruz and Rubio, so the others really had nothing to lose tonight. Ben Carson faded into the background, getting little airtime and few questions directed his way. As I have said before, I like Ben Carson, but this is not his race. Trump and Cruz both had mediocre performances, with Trump getting his usual dirty digs in at Bush primarily, and drawing boos from the crowd. The Governors, Kasich, Bush and Christie all did well tonight, but it will not resurrect their campaigns. Bush had a fairly successful attack on Donald Trump over eminent domain, while Christie fixed his sights on Marco Rubio.

As the debate opened, Chris Christie came out swinging by informing Senator Rubio that he did not have the experience to be president. He said rather than answer questions that prove his inexperience, the Senator delivers a “25 second memorized speech”. Rubio was not great on defense. He attempted to come back at Christie with charges against his record as Governor, but then tried to segue into President Obama’s agenda. It did not work well for him. Adding insult to injury, he repeated himself several times, which led to further criticism from Christie, and seemed to validate Christie’s initial accusation.

At this point in the debate, I started feeling queasy. I really wanted Marco to have another strong performance going into next week’s New Hampshire primary. Luckily, he did not disappoint. After a commercial break, the Rubio I so admire was back on his game.

For the rest of the debate, he fielded questions on immigration reform, foreign policy, the economy, abortion and same-sex marriage. He was amazing! His discussion about ISIS and his plan to defeat them, displayed his depth of knowledge on foreign policy. These were not talking points or a “memorized speech”, but an intelligent and insightful analysis of the Sunni-Shia rift, and its effect on the growth of ISIS. In case you missed it, Christie was mute during this foreign policy discussion because HE lacks “experience” in the geopolitical scene.

Asked about the definition of “conservatism”, Rubio listed the three characteristics he believes define the conservative movement: limited government, free enterprise and a strong defense. He then proceeded to expound on each of them in a flawless delivery. He was absolutely presidential.

For me, the most memorable moment was his affirmation of his belief in traditional marriage and the right to life for the unborn. Criticized by other GOP contenders, as he was by Bush this evening, for being too extreme on abortion, Rubio commented, “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life”. It was a stellar moment. I define a real leader as someone who is willing to stand up for what he believes is right, no matter the outcome, and that is Marco Rubio.

The post-debate pundits ruled the evening a loss for Rubio. I’m not sure where they were for the bulk of the debate, as Rubio redeemed himself admirably, but they were determined to focus on his initial mishap. In the history of televised debates, from Nixon/Kennedy to the present, every presidential candidate has had a “bad” debate. It happens. It does not necessarily signal the end of their campaign. Reagan had a terrible night against Mondale during the 1984 election, but then came back and won a decisive victory in the following debate.

Rubio slipped up in the opening segment, but he was strong the rest of the evening, and I still think he will do well in New Hampshire. Let’s not forget, Bill Clinton lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, and still defeated George H.W. Bush to win the 1988 election.

The mainstream media does not want Marco Rubio to be the Republican nominee. He is too dangerous. The polls have shown that in a match-up against Hillary Clinton, he is the ONLY candidate that consistently beats her. Their goal is to undermine Marco Rubio and promote Donald Trump because Trump is the candidate who is most likely to lose to Hillary.

We can expect endless replays of the Rubio/Christie altercation over the next couple of days. The media will try very hard to convince voters that Senator Rubio is out, but don’t believe them. This race is just getting started, and Marco Rubio is worth watching.