Again, political violence from the Left.

Progressive HateOn Wednesday occurred a tragic shooting of Steve Scalise (R) LA, and three others by progressive activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, James T. Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a baseball game to be played today.  It was yet another violent incident perpetrated by a member of the far-left.

In the name of their cause, which has apparently degenerated into blind hatred of President Trump and by extension all Republicans, they have committed many acts of violence from hitting a Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock, to politically motivated riots on college campuses intended to shut down the free speech of conservatives, most notably an incident at UC Berkeley that prevented outspoken Milo Yiannopoulos from a scheduled speech at that campus.

Trump was not particularly beloved at first even among Republicans, who fought bitter primary campaigns against him during last year’s presidential election season.  Conservatives for their part have long since made peace with the fact that he is our President and have showed support where they agree, but have also pointed out where they disagree on many occasions.  For the most part, they are prepared to coexist with Trump nation.

This hasn’t been the case of the anti-Trump legions on the left. Far from coexisting with him and his fellow Republicans, they have deemed themselves a sort of resistance, fighting, all to often violently, against anything Trump has attempted.  They have called for his opposition, his impeachment, his imprisonment, and his death and the death of other Republicans, both implicitly and at times explicitly. The anti-Trump movement on the left has a particularly vicious streak.  So called “comedian” Kathy Griffin recently released a photo of her holding up a bloody, fake severed head of the President.  Even William Shakespeare has been co opted by the the malevolent Left, with a recent live performance casting a Trump doppelganger in the role of a modern-day Julius Caesar, who at the climax of the play is brutally murdered by former supporters to the cheers of the NYC crowd.  If you’re at all in touch with conservative politics, you know the list goes on and on.  That’s just the problem.

While yes, there have been isolated incidents of violence committed by those on the right, but those sorry displays of misguided fervor pale in comparison both in scope and intensity to those committed by the alt-left.  While those acts of violence are both uncommon and roundly condemned by vast majority of conservatives, violent rhetoric and actions have the tacit and not so tacit support of progressives. Malice towards Republicans, especially Trump, is widely and actively expressed by the left, among them was James T. Hodgkinson, who attempted the mass assassination of Republican lawmakers.  It was the evil act of an evil man who pursued to the end an evil, malevolent path of hate.  It’s a path shared by all too many progressives.  While they might not travel it to the farthest destination that Hodgkinson did, they are firmly on it.  If they have a shred of decency and civility, they should abandon that path. They can still protest, advocate, speak all they want against Trump or any politician, but if they want to call themselves civilized human beings they will let go of their hate.  In short, they need to decide what kind of movement they want progressivism to become; one of malevolence, intolerance and hatred, or one of peace, real progress, and coexistence with those who might disagree with them politically.

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The Freedom Caucus won the battle but still could lose the war.

trump-1st-100-daysIf President Trump is correct, Obamacare will implode and the Democrats will have little choice but to join the effort to fix healthcare. Don’t count on them to bring conservative solutions to the table though. The problem for the Freedom Caucus if this happens will be to hold onto the concessions they gained during the last few days. The more Democrats elect to take part in the effort the less chance any further conservative initiatives will make it into any new healthcare legislation. The Freedom Caucus having won this most recent battle, may well lose the war.  The best hope for the Freedom Caucus going forward is to continue to explain to the American people at every opportunity the virtues of their positions on healthcare and build public awareness of them to the point that by the second go-round they seem common sense.  They will need to expand their sphere of influence beyond conservative diehards to the more moderate Republican constituencies and Trump supporters if they are to have any hope keeping their gains in tact much less building upon them in the event that Democrats decide they want a hand in fixing the mess they made with Obamacare when next attempt at healthcare reform is made.

Year in Review: Early 2016

2016-yirEarly 2016 saw the presidential race go into full swing.  It seems like a lifetime ago, but the year started with Presidential debates, the most interesting being those on the Republican side.  16 men and one woman began their campaigns in earnest. The stage literally was not big enough for all of them, so was created the undercard debate.  One candidate, Carly Fiorina, emerged as the only candidate to earn a spot on the big stage with the true contenders. Meanwhile on the Democrat side, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Socialist caught fire with connecting with of all groups, the far-left leaning youth.  Iran became a campaign issue when the extremely dubious nuclear agreement went into effect, coincidently, four American hostages that were held in Iran were freed.  Later it would become apparent that their freedom had been purchased in the dark of night with unmarked bills.

Farewell Antonio ScaliaThe Executive branch was not the only branch to undergo far-reaching change. In February, the country lost one of its greatest jurists, Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice on a split Supreme Court.  Before the end of March, three different Republicans had won primaries, including several won by Donald Trump, establishing him as a serious contender for the nomination.  Bernie Sanders became the hot ticket on the Democratic side, stringing together early primary victories, showing that there would be no early coronation for Hillary.  Meanwhile, terrorism was set to rear its ugly head again in Europe.  The attack in Brussels, the capital of the European Union exposed the dangers of letting in millions of lightly vetted migrants and refugees from countries with serious terrorism problems.  Further attacks were to come, peaking in the middle months of the year.

Trump’s Hail Mary

Featured Image -- 376Trump’s visit to Mexico on Wednesday was like a quarterback throwing up a Hail Mary pass on 3rd and long.  It was a mix of desperation and supreme confidence.  He went to Mexico City at the invitation of President Peña Nieto.  Many people, including loyal supporters questioned the wisdom of the move.  It was thought that President Nieto would dress him down on national TV.  He had after all, claimed Trump was another Hitler or Mussolini.  Trump was not deterred and went down where he was received quite graciously and cordially.  Afterwords, they held a short joint press conference where both stressed that both countries had common ground and both promised to work with the other to achieve common goals.  The world watched as the GOP candidate stood as an equal to a world leader.  He came away having impressed even his detractors.  Touchdown, Donald Trump.

I’m not his biggest fan, but Trump showed me something Wednesday. He showed me that he’s willing to do the hard things, he’s willing to put his candidacy on the line.  Meanwhile, Hillary has been MIA for most of the past fortnight.  She hasn’t even gone to Louisiana after both Trump and President Obama went.  Baton Rouge should be mostly dry by now, will she ever go?  Trump went into politically as hostile territory for a high risk, high reward move that paid off.  Hillary showed me something too, she is not willing to do even the not so hard things, and no one will remember what she did on Wednesday, only what she didn’t do. Trump is going for the end zone, meanwhile Hillary is playing the prevent defense. Anybody who watches football knows how that usually turns out.

Should other Republicans emulate Trump’s pivot to the black community?

Election 2016“…I love France so well I will not part with a village of it.” – Shakespeare, Henry V 5.2

Republicans should take note of this famous line from the Shakespeare play.  Republicans love America at least as much Shakespeare’s Henry V loved France, so why do they every four years, simply cede roughly 13% of the population to the Democrats?  That is exactly what they do when they fail to court in any meaningful way the black vote.  Why do they, as King Henry put it, “part with a single village of it”?  Donald Trump does not seem to want to part of a single village (read precinct).  He does not seem prepared to let the Democrats have the inner cities without a fight.  Given the Democrat’s dismal record of running cities, especially those with large African-American populations, this should be considered low hanging fruit by any Republican with the guts enough to try and grab it.  There are reasons, one’s that should be revisited, but there are reasons:  First, the electoral map puts a premium on winning entire states.  Democrats have done such a good job of demonizing Republicans in the eyes of the African American community that it takes courage for a Republican to go into the inner city.  Lastly, some conservative solutions are less obvious to the voter than Democratic ones. Republicans need to revisit their reasons for not actively courting the black or any other minority vote.  Trump had made the determination to do just this, other Republicans would do well to take note.

In the electoral college, the Democrats already have a big head start on the race to 270.  This is almost entirely because of demographics.  States with large urban areas populated with large numbers of minority voters have something else, huge electoral vote counts.  Cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and NYC can sway their entire state to go blue on election night. If Republicans ever want to get those states back they’ll have to start winning precincts in those cities, or at least doing competitively in them.  The experts will point out that even if you do well in a state, but lose it by a single vote, all your campaigning there was for naught. It’s better then to campaign in those states you have a reasonable chance to win.  The problem for Republicans is, demographics favor less and less states if you don’t do well with minorities.  Republicans have to either push to admit more states into the union with favorable demographics, or do better with the minority vote in the current fifty.  The good news is that many GOP candidates for Governor have figured it out.  New Jersey is a deep blue state with every one of its citizens living in an urban county. Currently it has a Republican Governor.  Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, even California have, or have recently had Republicans in the state house. You don’t win any of those states without at least some minority support.

Democrats with the aid of a sympathetic left-leaning mainstream media have successfully crafted a totally bogus, cartoonish image of Republicans and conservatives as being racist, sexist, homo-phobic, and now Islamo-phobic.  So thoroughly have liberals perpetuated this fraud, that cable news anchors and pundits regularly and with a straight face compare conservatives with fascists, Nazi’s and the KKK.  It’s a ridiculous notion, one that Trump until very recently, has unfortunately contributed to.  Now, if you’re an African American in the inner city, and never actually met or had a Republican hold a speech in your neighborhood, that fallacious image of the white-hooded, jackbooted, fascist is all you have to go by.  If you asked the average black person living in Baltimore just how many Republican candidates have actually come to address their church congregation or civic organization, they answer would probably be “none”.  Rand Paul during his presidential run did to his great credit, actually attempt to redress this situation. He challenged his fellow Republicans to do the same.  Sadly, hardly any did.  Several GOP candidates did reach out to the Hispanic community during the primary season, so at least that is a start.

It is not always them messenger that has to break through to the minority voter, sometimes it is the message. The Democrats have a simple to understand message that they offer to each and every minority constituency:  Give us your vote and we’ll send your community money.  Conservative policies tend to be a little less straight forward:  Keep your money, don’t give it to the government in the first place, that’s better than us giving it back to you with strings attached, or worse yet, to someone else with no stings.  It’s so much easier for the voter to understand how putting money directly into their pockets benefits them than it for a conservative to explain to them that the more money their employer gets to keep, the more money they have to pay you with, or use to grow their business so that they can hire you.  On this front, simpler is better. Republicans then must be able to cite examples that the voter can relate to where their policy has worked in the past, or cite examples of where liberalism has failed them.  Trump, say what you will, is a master at putting things into terms that anyone can understand, like recently in Michigan:

“Tonight, I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen in this country who wants a better future. The inner cities of our country have been run by the Democratic Party for 50 years. Their policies have produced only poverty, joblessness, failing schools, and broken homes.”

No getting into the policy weeds for Trump here, just a straight-out request for support from African-Americans.   Do Democrats have better policies for the inner-city?  No, in fact liberal policies keep many citizens in these urban areas from advancing economically.  They have created what Dinesh D’Souza in his new movie Hillary’s America refers to as the ‘new plantation’.  Whereas the old Democrat plantations exploited blacks for their labor to produce crops, this new plantation– the inner city, produces something else for their Democratic masters:  Votes. What if a Republican, or many Republicans came to the inner city, pointed this out and offered a solution?  What if blacks and other minorities could be convinced that decades of top-to-bottom Democrat rule has produced the conditions they now find themselves in? They might try another direction, or as Trump put it in his own special way: “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?”

Trump had determined not to cede the urban areas of this country to the Democrats this time without at least a fight. He may or may not succeed in this, but make no mistake, Republicans need to find a way aggressively go after the black and Hispanic vote.  The changing demographics of this country demand that Republicans start to change how they deliver the conservative message to the inner city, but before they do that, they have to move out of their comfort zones and expand their campaigns there.


Originally posted in Political Storm:  Should other Republicans emulate Trump’s pivot to the black community?

The faulty rational of persistent #nevertrump’ers

Election 2016While the primaries were in full-swing, it made sense for movement conservatives to speak out against Donald Trump.  He made many a comment that would have ended the campaign of any other Republican.  His statements about Senator McCain immediately turned off many a patriotic conservative.  He made statement after controversial statement and yet his popularity with the working man only increased.  His has policies were all over the political map, some being conservative, some to the left of even Hillary, mostly all of them populist.  He was outmatched in knowledge about foreign affairs by nearly all of his opponents.  His near absolute ban on Muslims was completely unworkable, but since then has been refined away from populism to pragmatism.  He’s also made it a point to surround himself with foreign policy and military experts.  Still, there were preferable alternatives who showed greater aptitude for conservatism, and who had nearly mistake-free campaigns.

Marco Rubio had great foreign policy credentials. Carly Fiorina also proved herself equal to any of her rivals in that department and focused like a laser beam on Hillary from the beginning.  Senator Cruz has the support of the Constitutionalists and had by far the best ground game of any of the candidates, rivaled only possibly by the Clinton machine.   This was to finally be the year of the movement conservative.  What none of them realized, was that the white, non-college educated working man had abandoned the Republican party two elections ago. With no popular support for so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans (read Jeb Bush) and young, intelligent candidates who could speak the language of conservatism fluently, this election was to be the era of Regan reborn.  The problem was, the average American spoke the language of not conservatism, but populism.   Trump, like his followers, feels free to cherry-pick from any political school of thought, conservatism, nationalism, populism, and even liberalism.  In short, Trump followed former Republican constituency to where it wanted to go.

Everyone knows the result, Trump won the nomination.  the #nevertrump crowd now had (and still has) a decision to make, reluctantly follow the new GOP standard-bearer, for all his flaws, or stick with Republican and  conservative orthodoxy. As Trump filled in the gaps of his foreign affairs and military knowledge, and softened on some of his more problematic stances on immigration, the opposition of many Republicans against him softened.  Little by little, Republican diehards resigned themselves to the reality that it was Trump or bust.  Others though, convinced of the certainty of a Trump loss, and fearful of down-ballot losses stubbornly dug in their heels on the subject of never Trump, even to the point of actively undermining his candidacy.

Reluctant, even stoic support for Trump is to be expected and understandable.  He is not the second coming of Reagan, but the first coming of Trump.  Those who insist on ideological purity won’t find it in this GOP candidate.  Those who had fought hard to rehabilitate the Republican Party’s image after losing virtually all of the black and most of the Latino vote four years ago find themselves besides themselves with frustration in their candidate.  He is their candidate though, and for all his shortcomings with regards to many conservative principles and a maddening lack of political sense, is still better for America in many ways then his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The key is to show that while Trump says controversial things, Hillary has done, time and again, many things that were deeply dishonest, maybe even illegal.  While Trump’s thoughts get him into hot water, Hillary’s actual deeds (or occasional lack of) have gotten Americans killed or put in jeopardy.  While critics can theorize about Trump being bad, we have proof positive that Hillary would be worse.  Evidence of her corruption is well documented.  We don’t have to wonder how she would govern, she would turn America into her own personal fife, and we her serfs, existing only to provide her and her sycophants  with wealth.  On the subject of Supreme Court appointees alone, there is no real choice for the constitutionalist that wants a Scalia type justice on the Court.

There is no chance of Trump being replaced as GOP nominee, any talk to the contrary is pure fantasy. There is no realistic chance of someone not from the Republican or Democratic parties becoming our next president.  Even if the #nevertrump crowd could come up with a candidate with the financial means to do so, it’s too late to get him or her on the ballot in many states.  So why does anyone claiming to be a Republican seek not to simply withhold support, but actively act to undermine his campaign?  They are ideologues, but ones who fail to understand that under a Hillary presidency, none of their conservative initiatives will come to be.  Clinton will enact her liberal, even socialist policies.  If she can’t get her agenda done under a Republican Congress, the Democrats will appeal to the American sometimes pathological need to just “get things done” regardless what that actually means.  Republican control of Congress his hardly guaranteed.  Democrats are already counting on the fact that the Republicans were put into power on Capitol Hill for the express reason of stopping the liberal Obama agenda.  Whatever political victories Hillary can garner, she will lock in by appointing active judges and an ever-growing, compliant regulatory machine.

The never Trump crowd has fooled themselves that in four years, they will get a do-over if Trump loses and finally undo the Obama/Clinton agenda.  It won’t happen, what they dont’ realize is this election may be the last one for America as a true constitutional democracy.  The next election, should Clinton win, will be more like those in the democratic-socialist countries of Western Europe– mere referendums on how quickly or slowly to descend into the socio-economic oblivion, and who will go out on top. The fact is, regardless of how much the conservative true believer would rather not, there is no real choice when it comes to any meaningful governmental reform.  There is only one candidate that will appoint justices that will respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  There is only one candidate with a pro-growth agenda, only one candidate that will turn America away from an otherwise certain, yes certain, move toward a single-payer healthcare system.  Like it or not, the only viable choice, for all his shortcomings, is Donald Trump.

There I said it.

What the Trump campaign could be doing better.

Election 2016The Trump team won the Republican primaries, so they’ve obviously done something right.  Their message is a simple one, not too many facets, and Trump uses a language that anyone can understand.  When Trump stays on message, he’s effective.  Problem is, he does not always stay on message, he breaks discipline to go after the shiny object. When the inevitable crisis arises it’s not obvious that the response has been clearly thought out, or that there is a clear understanding of why the problem is a problem in the first place. Professional politicians got where they did because they followed certain principles that are common to all successful campaigns, the Trump team needs to learn and adopt these principles.  Things can always be done a little better and the stakes are too high this time not to want to do better.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Treat words like a precious commodity, don’t waste them on things that don’t attach to the goal of becoming president.  Talking about a judge in a pending lawsuit may show you’re a fighter, but also shows a certain lack of clarity of purpose.  In business, capital usually comes in the form of money.  In politics, money is certainly needed but for a politician ideas are capital and words are currency.  A businessman does not use capital loosely or carelessly, nor should a politician.
  • React to a crisis like a doctor would an ailment, identify the symptoms, come up with a treatment, but first and always, do no harm. When the issue of plagiarism came up with regards to Melania Trump’s convention speech, the response by some on the Trump team hurt the cause more than it helped.  Trying to explain away nearly word for word similarities with Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech by saying the phrases used were extremely common came across more as excuses than explanation.  Sometimes when you’re caught, it’s better to admit there is a problem than deny it.  A better tact would to have been to withhold the excuses until after it was established what actually happened.   (In this case, one the speechwriters helping Melania inserted quotes into a draft of the speech but did account for the fact that they were ‘borrowed’.) It’s better to give the press no explanation than an inaccurate one.  This leads us to the next way the Trump team could do better…
  • Have an organization that is appropriate to the task.  If your business is banking you may need a huge legal department just to deal with all the regulations. A hospital needs doctors and nurses, but also needs people to organize all of their training and certifications.  A political campaign needs people whose sole profession is speech writing, and others who do nothing but fact checking. The idea of running a government like a business is good, but there are things that professional politicians do because they work. As much as it may hurt to admit, but virtually every member of Congress, every governor, even Mayor has done one thing that Donald Trump so far has not, win an election.  It stands to reason then, that even a candidate running as an outsider would want to adopt at least some components of a successful political machine.
  • Let favorable news cycles and events play out.  Sometimes less is more.  Create new news when your opponent runs out of things for you to talk about, or when important events demand it.  Don’t make yourself the story when your opponent’s problems and missteps make for a better one.  Recognise when your oppenent is using this same strategy on you.  .

Trump has successfully beat sixteen other opponents for the Republican nomination.  He must be doing something right. He also has higher negatives than even Mrs. Clinton, and does not enjoy unquestioned support from all members of his own party, so he can’t claim to be doing everything right.  There are several things that he and his team can do better.  Don’t waste effort defending statements and actions that have little or nothing to do with winning the White House.  When things go wrong, diagnose the problem quickly then take corrective measures, don’t do it the other way around.  Trump is now in the election winning business, that requires an appropriate organizations.  When the news is favorable to you, or unfavorable to the other side, don’t do anything to change it.  Like it or not, some of the things successful politicians do that are essential, and Trump will have to figure out what those things are and do them better than Hillary.