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The GOP Wants to Repeat This YUGE Mistake of the Great Depression

In a section of the recently released 2016 Republican Platform titled “Regulation: The Quiet Tyranny,” the Party of Lincoln endorses re-imposing a regulation that would impact trillions of dollars’ worth of assets.

“We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment” state the document’s supposedly capitalist drafters, who ironically castigate President Obama for “regulating to death a free market economy that he does not like and does not understand.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

The part of Glass-Steagall to which the authors are referring concerns the ability for banks to provide both commercial and investment banking operations under the same roof. Prior to the passage of the then-President Bill Clinton-supported Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) of 1999, such combinations were largely verboten.

In the wake of the financial crisis and recession of 2007-2009, in a classic case of beginning with a narrative and looking for any points, no matter how tenuous, to back it up, Democrats contended that deregulation namely in the form of GLBA caused banks to take risks that crashed the financial system.

What commercial banks combining with investment banks had to do with a massive, government-fueled bubble in the housing sector, Glass-Steagall proponents have trouble explaining.

Republicans apparently have bought into the Democrat’s narrative and insist that it is their right to determine what risks are appropriate for banks to take, and restructure industries wholesale by government fiat.

When judging a piece of legislation like Glass-Steagall, it pays to look at what motivated the bill’s drafters to implement it in the first place.

The Heritage Foundation’s resident financial regulations guru Norbert J. Michel outlines this history in a piece that the Republican Platform authors appear to have ignored:

Glass–Steagall has attained near mythical status for securing a vital separation between commercial and investment banking in the U.S. Supposedly, this separation put an end to the risky financial activities that contributed to the Great Depression. Yet, the record shows that separating commercial and investment banking was little more than a long-time pet project of Senator Carter Glass, one of the original authors of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Glass viewed securities investments as a purely speculative activity and in virtually no way a legitimate commercial endeavor. Consequently, he believed that the only way to ensure bank safety was to restrict bank lending to short-term financing of commercial activity.

One reason this idea is flawed is that there was no general prohibition—before or after Glass–Steagall—against commercial banks providing operating loans to investment banks. That is, the firms engaged in the very speculative activity Glass abhorred regularly borrowed from commercial banks.[33] Regardless, the record shows that Glass had no empirical evidence to support his opinion. The definitive historical study of Glass-Steagall shows that “the evidence from the pre-Glass-Steagall period is totally inconsistent with the belief that banks’ securities activities or investments caused them to fail or caused the financial system to collapse.” In fact, the evidence suggests that pre-Glass–Steagall banks engaged in securities activities were safer than those exclusively engaged in commercial banking.

In light of the facts and evidence, and given the other nominally pro-free market designs in the Republican platform in paying lip service to sound money, abolishing Dodd-Frank and ending Too Big to Fail, the insertion of a line about reinstating Glass-Steagall is somewhat baffling. If Republicans even vaguely understand that the best constraint on banks like all other businesses is a market that punishes them for destroying value and rewards them for creating it – rather than socializing losses and privatizing profits – than why might they have included such an incongruent clause?

The cynic might point to some good old-fashioned extortion. Could it be that Republicans are in effect threatening existing business models in the financial services industry in order to entice bankers, traders and executives to pay for the privilege of not having to break up their businesses – that is, contributing to Republican candidates in order to sway them to swear off the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall?

While follow-the-money analysis is often fruitful, in this case such a rationale would seem inapt at first glance, given that members of the finance, insurance and real estate industries have contributed disproportionately to the GOP during the 2012 through 2016 election cycles.

Take a closer look at the numbers however, and you will note that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is not even in the top 20 recipients during the 2016 cycle from the “killers” on Wall Street, among others in the industry. In fact, according to Open Secrets, he is being outraised by Hillary Clinton at a rate of 49:1, with Clinton hauling $15.6 million thus far to Trump’s paltry ~$318,000.

There are any number of reasons why Wall Street might loathe Donald Trump, including a belief that Hillary Clinton can and will be bought off to protect its interests, while Trump is likely to spurn those with whom he has had contentious business dealings over the years.

Seen in this light, if Trump will never gain the financial service industry’s support, reinstatement of Glass-Steagall makes sense politically in keeping with his populist pose as a means of perhaps garnering the votes of Independents.

Whatever the rationale, Republicans should focus less on breaking up banks, and more on creating a free marketplace whereby financial institutions rise and fall of their own volition, and market participants determine appropriate levels of risk and price it accordingly. (For more from the author of “The GOP Wants to Repeat This YUGE Mistake of the Great Depression” please click HERE)

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How the GOP Senate Is Boosting Obama’s Judicial Legacy

Republican senators consistently accuse President Barack Obama of refusing to follow the law and exceeding his constitutional powers. Yet they’ve been unwilling to draw the line when it comes to giving Obama’s judicial nominees lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

So far in 2016, the Republican-led Senate has confirmed nine Obama judges. And that number could continue to climb when the Senate returns from recess in September as several GOP senators press for action on other Obama nominees.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved three more Obama judicial nominees, moving them a step closer to lifetime appointments. That makes 27 judicial nominees awaiting action on the Senate floor.

While the most high-profile nomination—Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court—languishes without a hearing, the Senate did confirm two other nonjudicial, albeit controversial nominees this year: Carla Hayden won approval to lead the Library of Congress on Wednesday and John King was confirmed as education secretary in March.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., pushed for Hayden’s confirmation for a 10-year term at the Library of Congress despite her history of radical left-wing activism, which triggered opposition from Concerned Women for America and Heritage Action for America. She’ll hold the job for nearly a decade after Obama leaves office.

Ten years isn’t nearly as long as a lifetime, though. And because federal judges serve lifetime appointments, Obama’s judges are likely to leave their mark long after he departs the White House.

That concern—coupled with complaints about Obama’s disregard for the Constitution and rule of law—has prompted some Republican senators like Dan Sullivan of Alaska to oppose the president’s picks.

“With regards to judges, these are lifetime appointments, which Sen. Sullivan considers very carefully,” his spokesman told The Daily Signal. “He doesn’t want the courts packed with nominees from a president who does not understand the rule of law and regularly engages in executive branch overreach with no regard for the Constitution or the separation of powers.”

Only two of Obama’s nine judicial nominees have faced significant opposition from Republicans on the Senate floor this year. Wilhelmina Wright received 36 no votes in January and Paula Xinis had 34 no votes in May. Both are now U.S. district judges.

Even before Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death triggered a fight over his vacancy, Heritage Action, a sister organization of The Heritage Foundation, urged the Senate in January to halt all confirmations of Obama judges.

“President Obama has repeatedly ignored the separation of powers over the past seven years,” Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said at the time. “Given the administration’s disregard for Congress’s role in our constitutional system of government, the Senate should refuse to confirm any more of the president’s judicial nominees.”

While many Republicans agree, the Senate Judiciary Committee has slowly and methodically processed some nominees.

At a hearing for two Obama judicial nominees earlier this week, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, boasted that he’s held more hearings on Obama nominees than the former Democrat chairman, Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, did for President George W. Bush’s nominees in the 110th Congress (49 compared to 47).

Grassley, who is facing re-election in Iowa this year, has fended off attacks from his Democrat opponent by stressing progress on Obama’s judges. “To say that President Obama hasn’t been treated fairly during his presidency isn’t based in reality,” a Judiciary Committee spokeswoman said in May.

Grassley’s decision to keep moving nominees through the Judiciary Committee runs counter to the senator’s complaints that “Obama has exceeded his constitutional powers and failed to uphold the law.” Despite this critique, Grassley has played an active role in cutting deals and keeping the Senate’s executive calendar stocked with nominations.

In December, Grassley brokered a deal between Republican and Democrat leaders for two Iowa judges to get Senate floor votes in exchange for three of Obama’s liberal judicial nominees. The Iowa nominees, Leonard Strand and Rebecca Ebinger, were unanimously confirmed in February. The three liberal nominees included Luis Restrepo of Pennsylvania, John Vazquez of New Jersey, and Wilhelmina Wright of Minnesota. They were confirmed in January, and only Wright faced notable GOP opposition.

Grassley’s spokeswoman did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

The other four Obama nominees to get votes in 2016 include Waverly Crenshaw Jr. of Tennessee, Paula Xinis of Maryland, Robert Rossiter Jr. of Nebraska, and Brian Martinotti of New Jersey.

Two of those judges (Crenshaw and Rossiter) had their home-state Republicans pushing for action. Facing pressure from his own conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled floor votes—despite his own misgivings about Obama. McConnell, for instance, led the Senate’s rebuke of Obama’s executive actions on immigration by citing his disregard for the Constitution.

“Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats, this kind of partisan overreach should worry all of us—no matter who is in the White House,” McConnell said in a Senate speech in April. “Because not only is the president’s blatant refusal to follow the law an extraordinary power grab, it’s a direct challenge to Congress’s constitutional authority—and a direct attack on our constitutional order.”

Since delivering those remarks, however, McConnell has allowed votes on four Obama judges who won confirmation to lifetime appointments. He’s also voted for all nine Obama judges, one of only three GOP senators to do so. (Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Orrin Hatch of Utah are the other two.)

According to a report in Politico, several more confirmation votes could follow if Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; and Hatch are able to convince McConnell to schedule votes on their home-state nominees.

The one thing that could stop them is a longstanding Senate tradition of pausing on judicial confirmations as the president’s term nears its end. Known as the Thurmond-Leahy rule (after former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond and Leahy), it is an unwritten rule that typically kicks in around summer recess. That starts Friday when the Senate adjourns until September.

If the Senate were to take no further action during the next six months of Obama’s presidency, he will have secured confirmation of 329 judges. By comparison, Bush had 312 confirmed at this point in his second term. (For more from the author of “How the GOP Senate Is Boosting Obama’s Judicial Legacy” please click HERE)

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Rumors of a GOP Senate Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

“Extremely careless.” That phrase from FBI Director James Comey about the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee’s mishandling of classified information was immediately seen as a millstone around the necks of Secretary Hillary Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot.

However, weeks before Comey’s press conference, the June NBC/WSJ poll, which provides apples-to-apples comparisons going back to the 1990s, poured data-driven cold water on the down-ballot wipeout that has been the stuff of Democrats’ dreams for months.

Polling data is one of several stubborn realities undermining the conventional wisdom that the Republican majority is in more trouble than it would be in any competitive election year.

First, Republicans are better positioned in June 2016 than they were at the same point in the past three election cycles.

According to the NBC/WSJ data, the Republican generic presidential ballot was stronger in June 2016 (D +3) than it was in June 2008 (D +16), ahead of the last open election. More germane to the senate map, the generic congressional ballot is the strongest it has been in any of the last four election cycles, with the parties tied at 46 percent. In June 2014, the GOP lagged by two points, one point in June 2012, and nine points in June 2008.

Second, Clinton and Trump are polling neck-and-neck in key senate states.

Elections come down to a handful of key states, and many marquee senate races are being fought in states where the top of the ticket is close. Secretary Clinton’s vulnerabilities among Rust Belt voters are a major liability in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and in must-win New Hampshire, a recent Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll had Clinton and Trump tied in the state where she lost to an avowed socialist by 22 points.

The Real Clear Politics polling average has the top of the ticket race within the margin of error in the four presidential battleground states with competitive senate races: Florida (Clinton +3.4), Pennsylvania (Clinton +2.5), Ohio (Clinton +3), New Hampshire (Clinton +2.7).

Clinton coattails are clearly non-existent – hence the resounding silence from most Democratic senate candidates following Comey’s blistering criticism – and her deep unpopularity could even prompt ticket-splitting among reluctant Clinton voters eager to put a check on her potential power.

Third, the Democratic party remains deeply divided.

A recent Bloomberg poll showed a staggering 55 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters saying they would not vote for Clinton in the general election. While that number will certainly decrease before Election Day, Sanders’ expected endorsement of Clinton is reluctant in the extreme, and according to the New York Post, up to one million left-wing protesters are preparing to disrupt the Democratic convention.

In 2010 and 2012, Republicans suffered from a spate of contentious primaries, resulting in unelectable candidates emerging from the fray. That narrative has played out on the other side of the aisle in 2016, with candidates like Ohio’s Ted Strickland and Illinois’ Tammy Duckworth forced to the left on tough general election issues like gun control and energy by liberal primary challengers that cost them time and money to dispatch.

Finally, candidates matter.

Never have supposed star recruits so utterly failed to live up to the hype as the Democrats’ sought-after senate candidates in Florida and Pennsylvania. Establishment groups spent nearly $5 million to drag Katie McGinty, a bureaucrat with a revolving door problem, through another contentious primary, only to have her claim to be the first in her family to attend college immediately exposed as a lie. Another DSCC primary pick, Florida’s Patrick Murphy, has had his inflated resume methodically torn apart by a series of investigative reports, to the point where Salon called him a “disaster candidate.”

Politico recently described the Democrats’ senate-winning strategy as “be boring,” which explains why candidates like Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada are running dull campaigns that have been criticized for relying on canned talking points. Aside from completely abandoning the “hope and change” mantra, the strategy is an odd one for a field of challengers, as voters looking for a safe or predictable candidate tend to favor incumbents.

Republicans, on the other hand, have a strong slate of candidates built primarily of standouts from the class of 2010 with a record of tangible successes to run on, like passing a five-year highway bill, reforming Medicare’s payment system so seniors can keep their doctors, and combatting the opioid epidemic ravaging rural communities.

No matter how you slice it, the battle for the senate will be extremely competitive. But by all means, Democrats should continue to believe they have it in the bag. (For more from the author of “Rumors of a GOP Senate Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated” please click HERE)

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Could the GOP Convention Put Democracy at Risk?

Our nation is based on the idea of “consent of the governed.” When the people vote, they expect those votes will be respected and counted, not ignored.

There is an effort today to toss aside the will of the millions of voters in the Republican primaries to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for president. This effort is truly offensive to those who treasure democracy. If successful, it would guarantee that Hillary Clinton will be sworn into office next January. Even though some very smart people are leading the anti-Trump movement, this idea is very dumb.

Voters showed up in unprecedented numbers to vote for Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee. He received over 13 million votes – the most ever for a Republican candidate. He ended up with 1,542 delegates, almost one thousand delegates more than his closest competitor. Trump drew in scores of new voters to the party, resulting in about two million more people voting in the Republican primaries than the Democratic.

Yet, some in the Republican Party toss aside those numbers because they wet the bed every time a head to head poll has Hillary ahead of Trump. These nervous Republicans need to chill and take a look at the calendar: it is June. The only metrics that matter are what people do on Election Day and Trump’s record during the Republican primaries was one for the books.

Sedition by some lifelong Republicans is afoot. The Washington Post reported on June 17, 2016 that a handful of trouble-making delegates are plotting to sabotage the Republican nominee at the convention next month:

Dozens of Republican convention delegates are hatching a new plan to block Donald Trump at this summer’s party meetings, in what has become the most organized effort so far to stop the businessman from becoming the GOP presidential nominee.

The plan is to secure a vote of “no confidence” in the expected Republican nominee Donald Trump, then to push for another candidate to take the nomination.

David French at National Review Online and Amanda Carpenter at Conservative Review have made the public case for a vote of “no confidence”—for delegates to ignore the will of Republican voters at the convention. I have great respect for Carpenter, but I do have to disagree with her analysis.

Carpenter argues at CR:

The convention’s Rules Committee should allow for a vote of “no confidence” in the GOP nominee. Should Trump not receive a supermajority vote then the delegates should be officially “unbound” and free to vote for the nominee of their choice, ideally a list limited only to those persons who ran for president in 2016.

Carpenter is arguing that after the delegates reach a vote of “no confidence,” they should move to a fight over which failed nominee should replace Trump. The problem is that this will completely destroy any chances Republicans have of winning this fall. The 13 plus million voters who cast a vote for Trump would feel like they have been ignored and disrespected.

David French argues at NRO that not one delegate is legally bound to vote for the candidate they are being sent to Cleveland to vote for:

As a matter of law and history, there is not a single “bound” delegate to the Republican National Convention. Not one delegate is required to vote for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or any other individual who “won” votes in the primary process. Each delegate will have to make his or her own choice. They — and they alone — will choose the Republican nominee.

Really? So the delegates are an elite team that can overturn the will of Republican voters? As a political argument, this is folly because all of the Trump voters would be so angry that they would do everything possible to secure defeat for the illegitimate nominee the elites put up. As a legal argument, this is of questionable analysis, because French is saying that the state laws binding delegates are somehow unconstitutional because of the First Amendment. This is one of those legal arguments that will probably never be resolved, because the French wing of the Republican Party will probably lose that fight and the argument will be rendered moot.

But if French is correct, the same can be said of the presidential election. The Electoral College was set up as an indirect way to elect a president. How would French feel if John McCain had won the 2008 election, yet the Electoral College decided that Barack Obama would make a better president? I bet he would have had a different opinion of the faithless delegate/elector had that happened.

Donald Trump won fair and square. Delegates need to suck it up and vote for him. It would be immoral and an undemocratic power grab by the elites if they were to overturn the will of 13 million plus Republican primary voters so they can get revenge against Donald Trump. And it would lead to the three words that should instill fear in any self-respecting Republican: President Hillary Clinton. (For more from the author of “Could the GOP Convention Put Democracy at Risk?” please click HERE)

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The GOP Plan to End Wall Street Bailouts

House Republicans are priming the pump for the next president to overhaul much of the financial regulation enacted in the aftermath of the 2008 global market downturn. The GOP plan would repeal and replace most of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul with a more market-based regulatory scheme.

As part of the GOP’s “A Better Way Agenda,” House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, was scheduled to unveil details of the simpler, yet stricter, regulation Tuesday morning at the Economic Club of New York.

“In a phrase,” he said, summarizing the Republican plan in prepared remarks obtained by The Daily Signal, “we need economic growth for all and bank bailouts for none.”

Hensarling blames Washington, not Wall Street, for that downturn.

“It wasn’t deregulation that created the great financial crisis of 2008, it was mostly dumb regulation by the Washington elite,” Hensarling told The Daily Signal on Monday before the speech. “And there were none dumber than those compelling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to loan money to people for homes they couldn’t afford to keep.”

Originally proposed by President Barack Obama and heralded by proponents as the greatest expansion of government control of banking and financial markets since the Great Depression, the mammoth Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 was supposed to prevent another fiscal crisis.

Named for its principal authors, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the law imposed more government regulation on nearly all aspects of the financial services industry. It passed along party lines: by a vote of 237-192 in the House and 60-39 in the Senate. Neither Dodd nor Frank remains in Congress.

Citing economist Friedrich Hayek’s book “Fatal Conceit,” Hensarling described the law’s 2,300 pages as an example of “Washington’s elite deciding they’re smarter and can somehow manage the economy better than the rest of us.”

Central to the Republican replacement for Dodd-Frank is a regulatory offramp. Under the Hensarling plan, banks that “hold high levels of capital and maintain a fortress balance sheet,” he said in his speech, can escape much of the Dodd-Frank regulation.

Though larger banks would have to raise more capital, Hensarling said, the requirement wouldn’t have much of an impact on the books of smaller, more local lending institutions. Either way, he argued, control remains with the bank.

Hensarling’s plan represents a test balloon, a dry run at achieving permanent reform should a Republican win the White House in November. The newly released plan is just one plank of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s promised “bold, pro-growth agenda.”

Ownership of risk is the biggest difference between the new GOP plan and the Dodd-Frank regulatory scheme, Hensarling told The Daily Signal.

The plan would encourage market discipline, what he described to The Daily Signal as “having your own money at risk as opposed to having a taxpayer backstop which provides privatization of profits and socialization of losses.”

Without government loan guarantees and under the new capital requirements, Hensarling told members of the Economic Club of New York they may see more failure for financial institutions once deemed too big to fail.

In an ironic twist, Hensarling told The Daily Signal, he believes the GOP plan will do away with bailouts—something the Dodd-Frank law purported but failed to do. Instead, the GOP plan creates new avenues for controlled bankruptcy.

Troubled megabanks with more than $50 billion worth of assets would qualify for an entirely new bankruptcy process, not multibillion dollar packages given to lending institutions such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

“Some large firms will likely become smaller because the credit they now obtain will be priced according to their inherent risk of failure without implicit government guarantees,” Hensarling said in his New York speech. “As a result, failure—when it does happen—will be more contained.”

The Hensarling plan takes steps to more aggressively enforce laws against fraud, self-dealing, and insider trading by instituting new penalties, like doubling and tripling fines in some cases.

It also would change the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency created by the Dodd-Frank that Hensarling described in an advance copy of his speech as Orwellian.

“We know the best consumer protections are competitive, transparent, and innovative markets, vigorously policed for fraud,” Hensarling said. “So the penalties we have in our plan go way further than anything Dodd-Frank conceived of.”

In the current political climate, Hensarling’s plan is a political impossibility. Even if the proposal advanced out of Congress, it wouldn’t make it past the White House.

Last week in Elkhart, Indiana, Obama described any plan to do away with Dodd-Frank as “crazy.”

“I don’t care whether you are a Republican or Democrat or an independent, why would you do that?” Obama said. “Less oversight on Wall Street would only make another crisis more likely … How can you say you are for the middle class and then you want to tear down these rules?”

Hensarling responded by calling the president a “liberal ideologue” and accused him of trying “to turn America into a European social democracy.”

“The ultimate goal of the left is to turn our large, money-centered banks into the functional equivalent of utilities so that Washington can politically allocate credit,” Hensarling told The Daily Signal.

Increased regulation has hurt smaller banks in particular, he said, and the left is “very happy to let community-centered banks wither on the vine.” (For more from the author of “The GOP Plan to End Wall Street Bailouts” please click HERE)

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Is the GOP ‘Whigging’ Out?

With the unbridled enthusiasm of Eeyore, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is attempting to herd angry constitutional conservatives, tea partiers and libertarians back into the Party fold. Good luck with that. It’s been a long time coming, but presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump looks to be the last straw for the Grand Old Party, the one that will likely and finally break the tired pachyderm’s back.

American history tells us that political parties do, on occasion, die. Today’s political drama reminds me of another party that went through a similar crisis more than 150 years ago: the Whigs.

The Whig Party was formed by Henry Clay, partly in opposition to President Andrew Jackson. The Whigs objected to Jackson’s abuses of presidential power and even called him “King Andrew”. The charge sounds kind of like today’s tea party Republicans railing against President Obama’s use of executive orders to go around Congress. And like modern Republicans, the Whigs were demonized by their opponents for supposedly supporting the interests of big business and the wealthy.

The Whigs weren’t a fringe party. They elected four presidents, and won nearly half of all gubernatorial elections in the 1840s. But it didn’t take long for internal disagreements on the issue of slavery to begin to tear the party apart. The Compromise of 1850, which addressed the expansion of slavery into new territories, infuriated abolitionist Whigs so much so that they managed to block President Millard Fillmore from getting his own party’s nomination for reelection. The split handed the presidency to Democrat Franklin Pierce.

Just four years later, the party had virtually disappeared. Some of the displaced Whigs joined the southern Democratic Party, which at the time supported slavery and states’ rights. In the north, most flocked to the fledgling Republican Party that would ultimately elect Abraham Lincoln. A few joined the short-lived American Party, but never gained any electoral success. Going from having a president in office to being virtually extinct in four years is hard to imagine, but that’s what can happen when a governing coalition so dramatically fractures.

Today, it seems like a similar thing is happening with Republicans. What, exactly, does the GOP stand for? Since Ronald Reagan, Republican rhetoric has defended free enterprise, fiscal responsibility and constitutional limits on government power. But the growing gap between Republican political rhetoric and their actual performance in office seems to have finally fractured that voting coalition. Should Republicanism be about limited government, and economic and personal liberty? Or will Donald Trump’s splenetic populism, the kind that embraces protectionism and the aggressive use of executive branch interventions into market decisions, represent a new political coalition?

There are a lot of reasons why the two major political parties are losing their ability to control the behavior of voters. Technology and social media have given voice to the real diversity of citizens’ opinions and preferences. Those differences were always there, but now the individual’s power to be different can more closely compete with the powerful tools available to party bosses. That means new political realignments can now happen at lightning speed.

This same dynamic has been roiling the Democratic Party as well, where 90’s relic Hillary Clinton continues to struggle against Bernie Sanders’ own brand of splenetic (socialist) populism. But the Democrats have always been better apparatchiks, falling into line behind the party’s nominee. Will they coalesce in 2016 against Donald Trump?

Liberty voters, the ones that once made up the core of the Grand Old Party, are now politically homeless. Will they migrate to the Libertarian Party, or will a new political platform for constitutional conservatism emerge?

Meanwhile, the Republicans whig out. As Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican President, once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (For more from the author of “Is the GOP ‘Whigging’ Out?” please click HERE)

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Bible Reading by Republican Spurs GOP Walkout

Rep. Rick Allen, Georgia Republican, created quit a stir on Capitol Hill when he pulled out a Bible passage and began reading, as a way of showing fellow Republicans they ought to be ashamed for backing a spending bill that included language upholding a President Obama-backed ban on government contracts absent LGBT equal rights’ protections.

Specifically, Allen read a passage about the sin of homosexuality – and his fellow Republicans reportedly responded by walking from the room in disgust.

“It was f—ing ridiculous,” said one Republican lawmaker, who had been in the room at the time of the reading and who had supported the LGBT measure backed by Obama, the Hill reported.

Allen read the passage during the GOP’s regular policy meeting in the basement of the Capitol, with apparent attempt to shame those lawmakers who, just hours earlier, had passed the spending bill containing the LGBT protections.

“A lot of members were clearly uncomfortable and upset,” an aide to one Republican leader said, the Hill reported. (Read more from “Bible Reading by Republican Spurs GOP Walkout” HERE)

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Wow. Just Wow. Watch the Senate GOP Video That Launched a Thousand WTFs

So, it seems the Republicans in the Senate have decided to launch a new PR campaign. Which makes total sense, since the only thing lower than Congress’ approval rating is the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

But is this the best way to get people to start liking Senate Republicans?

Initial reaction: Jeez, what a bunch of dorks.

Second reaction: Wait a minute. Ok. So we have Mitch McConnell (F, 42%) and his Senate lackeys bragging about all the great “accomplishments” they’ve achieved this year. That’s ok, maybe, but here’s a question.

Which one of these “accomplishments” advanced small-government conservatism?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh, right. None of them. (For more from the author of “Wow. Just Wow. Watch the Senate GOP Video That Launched a Thousand WTFs” please click HERE)

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Why the GOP May Only Have 75 Days Left to Live

maxresdefaultSome personal and brutally honest thoughts on where things stand, how we got here, etc. These thoughts are my own, and not reflective of any campaign (though I am a Ted Cruz supporter).

Months ago, before the voting started, I said and wrote this GOP primary would be a revolution because the system had betrayed too many people to get away with it this time. Either it would be Donald Trump’s French Revolution-style angry, secular mob, which does throws the bums out but produces too much untold collateral damage for a culture to recover from (and the French haven’t). Or Cruz’s values-driven American-style Revolution, where we return to first principles and actually try to win a national election on what’s in our platform for a change.

I said that there would be no middle ground. That if you didn’t want whatever Trump is serving, it was time to coalesce behind Cruz. Most conservatives did, which is why Cruz has gotten this far against all odds.

Sadly, some didn’t.

Some of them got caught up early in a cult of personality and now refuse to walk away; despite the fact Trump has abandoned his last pretend shred of conservatism. So they double-down instead, like the friend who blames you for telling him his girlfriend is cheating on him.

Another group of people are mostly principled folks who believe the GOP must be destroyed in order for conservatism to rise again. Therefore, they’re either supporting Trump or not supporting Cruz because they don’t want to see Humpty Dumpty put back together. These are the folks who find anything they can wrong with Cruz’s conservative bona fides, straining a gnat to swallow a camel despite Cruz’s exemplary Liberty Score® here at CR. Although I have been frustrated by these folks at times, I know many of these people and understand their impulse to burn the village to save it.

These are the Trump voters/sympathizers the GOP created out of deserved backlash. In another cycle, before they had felt this betrayed or were thinking more clearly, these voters would’ve been with Cruz on day one. And if Cruz doesn’t pull this thing out, they will regret it later when we reach Peak Trump in the fall and as a result, President Hillary. This is why St. Paul tells us “in your anger do not sin.”

Others are people who, if you polled them on the issues, are pretty conservative. But they watch Fox News or consume other media for information and vote mainly on name I.D. For example, look at how when Trump’s alleged insurgency wins a primary, no other non-establishment candidate win their primaries. Why — because these people vote strictly on name I.D. And when one candidate gets 60 times more media coverage than anyone else, these are the results you get.

This is how we repeatedly let the media that hates us — and that includes Fox — pick our nominee for us. When this is over, the movement needs to have a serious conversation about creating a real multi-media platform that includes television, and is capable of competing with Fox by the time 2020 begins. Otherwise, we’re always going to be treading water here.

Finally, there were those desperate for relevance, ratings and a seat at the table. So they became Trump’s sycophants. When this is over, either in Cleveland or November, these same people will have so tarnished their credibility they will attempt to rewrite history by claiming they weren’t really with Trump, but just trying to make the best of what wasn’t an ideal situation. The people will say that we had no real alternative to Trump so it was him or Jeb Bush, which is a lie, but these people are proven liars — and liars lie. Or they may just accept their newfound status, and shamelessly and immediately glom onto the first populist cult of personality for 2020. Doing the time warp again for another national TV slot or paycheck.

But we will remember them, because links on the Internet never forget. We don’t have to blacklist them, for they black-listed themselves. All we have to do is compile the names. They’ve already conveniently self-identified.

These groups, combined with the migration of a herd of messianic Obama voters now seeking salvation via this cycle’s megalomaniac (which I documented earlier this week), is Trump’s coalition.

This brings us to the rest of the Republican Party.

Both establishment and mainline Republicans never saw this coming because both the disease and its antidote confirm their systemic failure/sellout. For the establishment that stands for nothing other than corporatism to acknowledge that populist backlash would require an admission of their own fecklessness. However, if there’s one thing the establishment hates even more than populism, it’s conservatism because these people, too, are progressives (if they have any ideology). That hatred willfully blinded them to the only antidote to Trumpism and certain doom in the fall—Cruz’s campaign. Hence, they are now drowning in a pool of their own blood.

Meanwhile, mainline Republicans — who talk a good conservative game but then usually do the system’s bidding when push comes to shove — had all of their “unity candidates” soundly rejected by an electorate more interested in a reckoning. The talented Marco Rubio’s fall from grace, which included an embarrassing beat down in his own state, was their last gasp. Voters turned their backs on these candidates because mainline Republicans first turned on them when they tried to defund Obamacare, primary progressive GOP sellouts or attempt just about anything to save either the country or the Republican Party.

The mainliners looked down on us, and said “the media says we can’t win so why fight.” A self-fulfilling prophecy, because you lose 100% of the battles you don’t fight.

Unfortunately, these mainline Republicans failed to see the writing on the wall before it was too late. Pondering the lint in their navels about Cruz’s tone and lack of dimples. So Rubio stayed in the race at least two weeks longer than he should have, which handed Trump the delegate lead ever since. Furthermore, John Kasich remains in the race to this day for reasons only Allah knows. But what these two did do is stop Trump from ever facing a true challenge from a co-equal revolutionary before the voters.

Thankfully, mainline Republicans have one more chance.

While Trump still faces an uphill climb to 1,237, if Cruz doesn’t win Indiana (or at least split the delegates there) the perception will be that it’s over. Though there are still several states remaining that favor Cruz, that perception will be difficult to overcome. Therefore, Indiana becomes the new Wisconsin. And how did Cruz wallop Trump in Wisconsin? Mainline Republicans like Scott Walker got off the bench and got into the game, which expanded Cruz’s base of committed grassroots supporters.

And now in Indiana those same mainline Republicans will determine in the next week if they’d like to suffer the wrath of the Trump Cult now, or the wrath of the voters later in November. Because this presidential election is going to be determined between the Indiana primary and the convention. If Trump comes out of Cleveland the nominee, the GOP will lose and lose big in November for reasons I will explain in another column for another day.

Here’s the bottom line — the Republican Party has about 75 days to decide if it wants to continue to exist or not. (For more from the author of “Why the GOP May Only Have 75 Days Left to Live” please click HERE)

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Gov. Nathan Deal

No Conviction, No Courage: The GOP’s Treacherous Deal

By Alan Keyes. The GOP governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal has, as Bryan Fischer wrote “has vetoed a religious liberty bill which is about as mild a bill as you can imagine. It would have protected pastors from being forced to perform sodomy-based weddings, and protected churches and other faith-based organizations from being forced to rent out their facilities for wedding ceremonies which celebrate the infamous crime against nature.” Fischer see Deal’s actions as an example of “how we are losing America: one cowardly governor at a time.”

Fischer is understandably outraged by Gov. Deal’s brazen betrayal of the moral conservative voters who supported him trusting that “a Republican and self-identified Southern Baptist” would support the Georgia Legislature’s to thwart ongoing efforts by homosexuals to force Americans to abandon their Biblical faith in God’s benevolent will for human procreation. In this respect, Deal’s action is deeply treacherous. But is it cowardly?

Deal certainly appears to lack the courage of his convictions. But this is only if we assume that, on issues of Christian moral principle like gay marriage, he ever had the convictions ascribed to him. Georgians should be the last people to forget the fact that Jimmy Carter’s apparently sincere self-identification as a Southern Baptist did not prevent him from accepting the Democrat Party’s obdurate stand in support of the so-called “right” of parents to procure the murder of their nascent offspring. It has not prevented self-identified Christians of other denominations (including both Anglican and Roman Catholics) from rejecting God’s plainly stated Biblical prohibition against male homosexuality.

So, given the experience of at least forty years, it makes no sense to trust that an elected official will stand firm on issues of moral principle simply because he or she self-identifies as a Christian. Is the Republican Party label any more trustworthy in this regard? Then Governor Sarah Palin appointed former Planned Parenthood board member Morgan Christen to Alaska’s Supreme Court. Of the unrepentant pro-abortion Christen, Palin wrote, “I have every confidence that Judge Christen has the experience, intellect, wisdom and character to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.” (Read more from “No Conviction, No Courage: The GOP’s Treacherous Deal” HERE)

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Ted Cruz: Anti-Gay Marriage Crusader? Not So Fast

By Heidi Przybyla. Senator Ted Cruz, who wants to be the Republican Party’s lead crusader against gay marriage, ducked the opportunity to play a critical role in turning back the movement in its infancy.

In 2003, the year Cruz became Texas’s top government litigator, the state lost a crucial case as the U.S. Supreme Court decided that state laws banning homosexual sex as illegal sodomy were unconstitutional. The decision in Lawrence v. Texas paved the way for the court’s consideration of gay marriage. “The final victory for gay rights was foreshadowed when the court decided Lawrence v Texas,” predicted Walter Dellinger, a former U.S. assistant attorney general and solicitor general who’s argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court. . .

As Texas solicitor general when the Lawrence v. Texas case came before the Supreme Court, Cruz was “very much in the middle of all this drama,” said Mitchell Katine, who was local counsel to the two gay men at the center of the case, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner. . .Yet “Cruz remained absolutely silent,” Katine said. The case remained assigned instead to a Harris County district attorney.

Through a spokesman, Cruz said he didn’t step in because the case was criminal in nature and his office primarily handled civil cases. Yet six of the nine cases Cruz argued before the nation’s highest court were criminal in nature. . .

Interviews with a dozen former fellow law students, professors, lawyers and government officials show that his lack of involvement in the Lawrence case is part of a broader narrative about the Texas senator’s relationship with the gay community: While he has consistently opposed gay rights, he has often stayed away from the front lines of the fight and even courted gay donors. (Read more from this article HERE)

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