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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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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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At Least 180K Join GOP as Pennsylvania Primary Nears

When Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump square off in Pennsylvania’s April 26 Republican presidential primary, they will find themselves competing for votes from a rapidly changing base.

At least 128,000 voters statewide have changed their registration since Jan. 1 to join the party. Nearly 85,000 of them had been Democrats; 42,000 were independents or third-party voters. The GOP has also racked up 55,468 more first-time registrants.

The changes reflect what experts are calling an unprecedented number of party switches before a primary election.

That raises questions: Are Democrats and other voters flocking to the GOP in support of one of its three candidates? Or could they be plotting to stuff the ballot boxes for a Republican they think their nominee can beat in November?

“I don’t think we can say there’s one reason here,” said G. Terry Madonna, the veteran pollster who directs the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “But in the Philadelphia suburbs, if people are switching, some of that would be strategic: Vote for Trump because he would be the weakest candidate against [Hillary] Clinton.” (Read more from “At Least 180K Join GOP as Pennsylvania Primary Nears” HERE)

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The Choice for the GOP: Salvation or Annihilation

With 13 GOP candidates for president now sitting on the sidelines and winner-take-all states right around the corner, it might seem as if we have reached the homestretch of the primary season.

Likely, though, the exact opposite is true and we’re really just getting started.

See, so far the race for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination has already rendered one undeniable verdict — everybody the system said was worthy of sustaining it has been soundly rejected by the voters.
This leaves us with two options.

Though Donald Trump is a progressive and the consummate insider by his own admission, the reason the status quo has reacted to him the way a vampire reacts to garlic isn’t just because of his lack of character, integrity, and high negatives makes his election unlikely. Let’s face it, the status quo has overlooked such electability warning flags in the past in order to maintain its grip on the reins of power. The status quo would rather lose elections than lose control.

Rather, it is the fact that Trump is running on the populist economic message that rightly rejects bad corporatist boondoggles deceptively advertising themselves as “free trade,” as well as the disastrous impact unfettered legal and illegal immigration has had on the real wages of middle class Americans. Of course, by his own admission again, Trump has used that very same corrupt immigration system to his advantage as a corporatist himself, but though he is more than a flawed vessel for it his message is true nevertheless. Thus making Trump’s troubling candidacy the result of the GOP ignoring these warnings and laments for decades going back to Pat Buchanan.

In fact, Trump is essentially running on Buchanan’s message (even mirroring his controversial penchant for drawing moral equivalencies between Israel and the Palestinians) minus Buchanan’s staunch social conservatism.

Then there’s Ted Cruz, who though a member of the most august body in American politics, the U.S. Senate, is really the consummate outsider, for Cruz dares to bring forth into the hallowed halls of gangster government what they revile the most. Real conservativism and loyalty to the Constitution’s limits on government power.

If the vampires in the status quo see Trump’s candidacy as their garlic, then Cruz is the Cross. A reminder of all the lies, deceptions, and treachery they have foisted upon their conservative base from the moment Reagan left the national stage. Garlic is but a painful repellant to the vampire, but the Cross is an existential threat that leaves a permanent mark. Sort of like a scarlet letter that reminds everybody you’re a child of darkness.

And now that the race is down to these two, this is the choice before the Republican Party. Will it go with the French Revolution of Trump, as in the bloodthirsty revolt of the peasants with pitchforks? Or will it go with the American Revolution of Cruz, and pledge its lives, fortunes, and sacred honors to advance a party platform it’s been willfully ignoring since before Al Gore invented the Interwebs?

Currently, Trump has only won 43 percent of the delegates needed to secure a majority of at least 1,237. Cruz sits comfortably in second place with 34 percent of the delegates, and is even closer to Trump when measuring the percentage of the vote won so far: Trump 34, Cruz 29.

These facts obviously run counter to Fox News’ ‘All Trump All the Time’ schedule of schilling, err, I mean, programming. But perhaps an alleged assault on a female reporter by one of Trump’s most senior staffers will finally put a dent in that sordid love affair, and let some fresh air into the room.

Then again, Trump did appear as grand marshal in a parade that one time to support Israel, so Olly Olly Oxen Free! I guess you can all stop trying to save American Exceptionalism now and simply ignore all the lies Trump has dumped on you and your country, because who on earth can compete with that.

Trump’s lead really begins to look tenuous when you consider how it has been built with the help of Democrats and Independents voting in “open” primaries that have consistently drawn larger-than-normal turnout. Moving forward, 21 of the remaining 34 contests are closed primaries of only Republican voters — amounting to 792 delegates (or more than half of what is still available). And in the “closed” primary and caucus states held since Iowa kicked things off, Cruz has outperformed polling expectations in every single one of them.

Not a bad trend line, indeed, as we move into the realm of “Winner Take All” states on March 15 and beyond. Where nine states and territories are winner-take-all in the strictest sense, and most of the remaining 18 states left on the primary calendar are winner-take-all by congressional district.

In fact, if you tally all the delegates earned by Cruz, Rubio and Kasich combined at this point, they lead Trump by more than 100. And if #NeverTrump is indeed what increasingly motivates voters as candidates bow out and alternatives are chosen, it isn’t a stretch to say Cruz could soon move into the pole position for securing the nomination. Heck, Cruz would have the delegate lead right now had Rubio dropped out after Super Tuesday mortally wounded his candidacy.

But if principle won’t finally, now, with the future of the country potentially hanging in the balance move the status quo, perhaps its survival instinct will? Two more national polls this week have Hillary Clinton spanking Trump, and Trump now has the highest unfavorability of any domestic politician in the history of the ABC News/Washington Post poll. And that comes after months of Trump receiving the best media coverage he could’ve hoped for.

So the ball is now in the Republican Party’s court. It can either unite behind Cruz and finally keep its word to advance conservativism to its base for once, or face the guillotine this Fall with Trump as a cancerous standard-bearer who will metastasize all the way down the ballot.

For the GOP its salvation or annihilation — and there is no middle ground. (For more from the author of “The Choice for the GOP: Salvation or Annihilation” please click HERE)

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GOP Hopefuls: Confronting ‘New York Values’ Is Key to Saving the USA

It started off as a throwaway line, what Ted Cruz said about “New York values”— an echo of old political shorthand like “San Francisco values,” a phrase which encodes as much or as little as the audience that hears it chooses. But Donald Trump took public umbrage at this remark, and blew it sky high at the GOP debate by invoking the heroism of cops and firemen on 9/11, to the roaring approval of the Charleston, S.C. audience — and even of Sen. Cruz, an expert debater, who applauded Trump’s brilliant chess move.

Online, pundits at conservative venues such as National Review and Commentary (both New York City-based) grumbled at Cruz and reluctantly sided with Trump. The normally sensible Texan Kevin Williamson warned in a Tweet that in bashing New York, Cruz risked offending “everyone who lives in a city.” Cruz quickly backed off, and on his face you could almost see a red line striking three words out of a printed speech forever.

Not so fast, Republicans. Granted, the line itself may be more liability than asset in a national election, but as a native New Yorker who loves the place, who worked and scraped to live there for most of his life, I can tell you that New York City, no less than Detroit, is a rich mine of insights on how not to govern anyplace, anywhere, ever. The ideology that rules the Five Boroughs is a laundry list of toxic political correctness. If you’re not willing to criticize the “values” that prevail in New York City, which America’s elite (who mostly live there) are busily stuffing down the throats of the rest of the country, then you have no business running for office as a Republican. It’s time to go Texan or go home.

What do we mean by “New York values”? Not the courage of first responders and stoicism of stunned civilians, that got us through the day of burning towers and the months of the smell of death in 2001. Public servants are equally brave in every city in America, and citizens from Sandy Hook to San Bernardino pull together after disasters.

We don’t mean the grudging, good-humored tolerance that keeps us from strangling each other on crowded subways, or even the crackpot determination to live without a driver’s license, whatever the cost in rent, taxes, or troubles. (I got my license at age 36, and still prefer using Uber, even in Dallas.)

We don’t mean the courage and civic-mindedness of recent Chinese immigrants, who gathered in Queens last year to protest loudly and mostly in Mandarin against Mayor de Blasio’s placement of a homeless center for drug addicts smack-dab in their working class neighborhood.

We don’t mean Archbishop Fulton Sheen, or Tony Bennett or William F. Buckley or Norman Podhoretz. We don’t mean Wall Street, or Broadway.

We mean the policies and politicians that New Yorkers inflict on themselves, and the social attitudes that they use their vast influence to impose on the rest of America. A city as naturally rich, with as many inbuilt advantages as New York, has only just barely survived collapse several times (in the mid-70s, then again in the early 90s) thanks to those policies. They would break any lesser city and if they are not contained they will devastate America, leaving only a few wealthy enclaves intact — including, no doubt, Manhattan. The rich we will have always with us.

The mayor of New York City is radical leftist Bill de Blasio, who in the 1980s went to Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas impose their totalitarian system on that hapless country. Imagine if some conservative city elected a former volunteer for South Africa’s apartheid government… you can’t, can you? We don’t do that sort of thing, but New York liberals do, with a blasé chuckle. It’s par for the course. New York is a city where:

More black babies are aborted than are born. In fact, its abortion rate is one of the highest in America.

Pro-life pregnancy centers are targeted by the city and the state, constantly harassed, and always fighting in court to keep their doors open.

It’s illegal even to ask a potential employee if he has a criminal record.

Police are no longer permitted to stop and frisk potential suspects — a practice that helped slash New York’s once staggering murder rate, and saved thousands of black and Latino lives.

Al Sharpton is taken seriously as a “community leader.”

The authorities will no longer focus on mosques as potential terror centers.

Refusing to accept an employee’s “transgender” fantasies, and let him use the ladies’ locker room, can earn you a $250,000 fine.

The teachers unions which elected De Blasio won’t let the city remove abusive instructors from public schools, sometimes for years. Instead, such teachers collect their full salaries while sitting in “rubber rooms,” doing crossword puzzles or surfing the Internet.

There is a state income tax, a city income tax, and a special “unincorporated business tax” that targets hard-pressed freelancers.

The gay lobby is so powerful that the Catholic archbishop threw in the towel, and let sex activists march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which marks the conversion of Ireland to Christianity.

Let me clue you in on a secret about New York: There aren’t so many New Yorkers there — not natives, anyway. Every year the place is flooded by ambitious valedictorians from all across the country who are fleeing their “small-minded” home towns or want to make it big in “The City.” That limitless demand for housing, which remains in fixed supply, has exactly the effect on its price that you might expect.

With a few elite exceptions, the public schools are outright unusable — chaotic holding tanks for juvie and Riker’s Island. So for each child you hope to raise in your small house or apartment, figure in the cost of 12 years of private school. The nuns are mostly gone, so Catholic schools aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but their underpaid, hard-working teachers are still the backbone of education in New York City.

The city is run by the renters, so landlords and home builders are harried by outdated rules such as rent control and “stabilization,” and a truly crackpot law grants “squatters’ rights” to anyone who stays on your couch for more than a couple weeks — so be careful in your choice of house guests.

Kennedy Airport makes New York City a border town as much as Brownsville, TX, and our country’s refusal to deport illegals or even check immigrants’ visas means that New York’s welfare rolls and hospitals are constantly flooded with recent arrivals from Afghanistan and Honduras. Who foots the bill to deliver their anchor babies? The hapless taxpayers of New York.

Those of who grew up there get squeezed out, priced out, taxed out, and at the first chance flee to the suburbs, as both of my sisters did. The middle and working class whites who elected Mayor Rudolph Giuliani just in time to save the City from David Dinkin’s Democrat crime wave have largely relocated to Long Island. Left behind are the valedictorians; the middle class who bought their homes back before a one-family house in an ugly, distant neighborhood cost $1 million; the people in rent-fixed apartments who’d be crazy ever to move; and the millions in public housing who largely live on the dole.

This is not the model our Founders had in mind for a sustainable republic, and it’s not the place that ought to be setting the trend for America. It’s a wonderful, unique city that can only survive in a weird symbiosis with a stodgier, saner hinterland that reins in its excesses. Republicans who emerge from the New York milieu, such as Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay, Rudolph Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg (now an independent), and New Jersey’s Chris Christie, ought not to set the tone for the national party. Even New Yorkers know that. We count on the rest of the country to save us from ourselves. (For more from the author of “GOP Hopefuls: Confronting ‘New York Values’ Is Key to Saving the USA” please click HERE)

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