Trump Voters Weren’t Betrayed by the GOP, He’s Their White Knight

A broken clock is right twice a day, and Saturday night Van Jones was that malfunctioning timepiece. On CNN’s coverage of the South Carolina GOP primary results, he’d had enough of the media’s placating Trump’s antics and the teeming hordes who eat it up.

Jones is absolutely right that the media has “adapt[ed] to the absurdity” of Trump’s campaign. One of the worst ways they’ve done this is by accepting the premise that his popularity is a reaction to the GOP’s failure to enact change or stop Obama over the last 7 years. As Erick Erickson put it six months ago: “The Republican Party created Donald Trump, because they made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them.”

What a load of hogwash. Here’s why.

Beating the VAT Horse Until It’s Dead

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

This is a very strange political season. Some of the Senators running for the Republican presidential nomination are among the most principled advocates of smaller government in Washington.

Yet all of them have proposed tax plans that, while theoretically far better than the current system, have features that I find troublesome. Marco Rubio, for instance, leaves the top tax rate at 35 percent, seven-percentage points higher than when Ronald Reagan left town.

Meanwhile, both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (now out of the race) put forth plans that would subject America to value-added tax.

This has caused a kerfuffle in Washington, particularly among folks who normally are allies. To find common ground, the Heritage Foundation set up a panel to discuss this VAT controversy.

You can watch the entire hour-long program here, or you can just watch my portion below and learn why I want Senator Cruz to fix that part of his plan.

On Scalia Vacancy, GOP Should Follow Democrats’ Example

“The Constitution is not a living organism…It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” ~ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

At about 8:45PM last Saturday night, I grabbed my favorite blanket and the remote and sat on the couch to watch the fireworks that were sure to be on display in the rancorous GOP presidential debate. I’d had a wonderful, news-free day out with my wife, and was not really in the mood to watch the debate, but I felt it was my obligation as a citizen, preparing to exercise my constitutional privilege to vote, to listen to each man make the case for their candidacy. I was gratified to watch as, unbidden, my 17, 15, 12, 11, and 6-year old children joined me.

Moments after the candidates had been introduced, the moderator asked his first question, and that was when I first learned of Scalia’s death. It was like a kick to the gut. My eyes opened wide in shock and I let out an audible gasp of dismay, and my eyes watered. Though Clarence Thomas edged out Justice Antonin Scalia as my favorite Supreme Court justice, it is inarguable that Scalia has been the anchor of the conservative wing of the court. His loss is devastating and cannot be overstated. His jurisprudential brilliance and his sharp wit were legendary, and even though he spent most of his career on the Court in the minority, he had more influence in the minority than his lesser colleagues had in the majority. Such was the high quality of his legal reasoning.

Republicans Should Check and Balance Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

Against all wisdom and common sense, I engaged in a debate online about Senate Republicans potentially filibustering or blocking President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee-to-be to replace Justice Antonin Scalia following the justice’s untimely passing this weekend. Truly, I don’t recommend it. It was not only as futile as all online arguments are (no one is ever convinced of any opinion except the one they went in with. It’s almost exclusively a forum to rant), but it was disturbing in a way that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the blatant, admitted, and poisonous hypocrisy some on the left have in matters of politics.

The vacancy left by the great Scalia (who, as an aside, my opponent in the online “debate” was convinced was a biased right-winger and was petulantly annoyed when I shared this article and told him to educate himself) will be hard to fill simply because the man who created it with his death was so great. That is nearly universally accepted.

But what Democrats seem to want to do is forget the concept of advice and consent (the constitutional provision that gives the Senate the authority to accept or disdain a presidential appointment), even as their own recent history shows their willingness to use it with careless abandon.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies, Unleashing an Election Year Earthquake

Supreme Court associate justice and giant of US politics and constutional law, Antonin Scalia, 79, has died of apparent natural causes in Texas.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Widely considered to be an “originalist”, Scalia actually used a “textual” interpretation of the Constitution, relying on the plain reading of the text as written to rule on cases. This interpretation placed him as one of the most conservative justices on the Court, and his intellect and integrity will make him impossible to replace.

It is no exaggeration to say that Justice Scalia was the most consequential jurist of the past 35 years. A persistent, pugnacious and persuasive advocate for textualist statutory interpretation and originalist constitutional interpretation, he had an outsize effect on his colleagues, the court and the course of the law. More than anyone else, Justice Scalia is responsible for the renaissance of these interpretive methodologies and the displacement of “living constitutionalism” and reliance upon legislative history.

He certainly won’t be replaced by President Obama.

Trump rallies the stormtroopers in Louisiana

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After driving two hours, standing in line for two hours, and catching most of Donald Trump’s hour and a half long sales pitch to a packed Baton Rouge River Center, I have a new, less charitable understanding of the phenomenon he has unleashed on the country.

I am not a Trump supporter, of course. I actually went to the event with the intention of holding up an anti-Trump sign and making my dissent known in person. But as the line nearly reached the door, I witnessed two gentlemen with similar, but more harshly worded signs than mine wrestled out of the building, to the ground, then one of the two tased by Baton Rouge PD after not going peacefully. After hauling away the protesters, the dozen remaining officers at the entrance were on high alert for any shenaningans, and I had a wife and children waiting at home for me. So I quietly tossed my sign in the trash on my way in. I decided to protest silently, then online instead.

The crowd was about what you would expect - almost exclusively white, conservative, polite but cocked and ready for action. When the scuffle ensued with the protesters, many got their phones out and scurried over to record and jeer the detainees. They stopped just short of calling for blood.

Trump was already speaking when I got inside, and the crowd was eating up every word. They weren’t transfixed in silence; there was lots of murmuring between friends and neighbors, going in and out from the bathroom and concession stand. After all, thousands of people were still getting inside as he spoke.

In Defense of the U.S. Constitution

Some libertarians have attacked the U.S. Constitution as being a “blueprint” of powerful government. They confuse the government as it exists today with what it was originally designed and understood to be at the time it was ratified.  Originally, the Constitution endorsed a very minimalist federal government.  For a national government that provides at least a court system and national defense, the Constitution is almost the ideal founding document.

While it is true that the federal government was weaker under the Articles of Confederation, it was weaker in ways that made it a worse government.  The government under the Articles of Confederation did not have the power to tax directly, instead it relied on the states to provide funds for the national government.  But this means that those states that refused to pay taxes got the benefits of the courts and national defense without having to pay the their portion of the costs.  States were encouraged to free ride on each other which would prevent a national defense capable of preventing further attacks by other foreign powers.

In 2016, Vision Matters More Than Experience

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Though it seems this election season started the morning after the 2014 midterms, last night marked just the second state to have cast votes for a presidential nominee. Historically, Americans have rarely chosen senators as their presidents, turning instead to governors (or generals) with a leadership record that can be examined. But this is no ordinary election year.

On the Democrat side, the only remaining candidates (not that they had many in the first place, with the DNC telegraphing a coronation) are former Senator (and Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, and sitting Senator Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, the current frontrunners are casino mogul Donald Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (though the last is a huge question mark after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire).

Accelerating on the Path to Greece with Bernie Sanders (Hey New Hampshire: This is What You Voted For)

Originally posted at International Liberty ~ Ed.

Remember when I wrote a week ago that I was somewhat optimistic about entitlement reform? Well, given what just happened in New Hampshire, I must have been smoking crack. It would now be more accurate to say something will happen with entitlements, but it will be deform rather than reform.

That’s because a Bernie Sanders nomination victory followed by a win in November might pave the way for a massive expansion of government. Much of this would be a result of a single-payer healthcare scheme (oh, and don’t forget that the Republican victor in New Hampshire also has endorsed government-run healthcare).

Now that we have to take Senator Sanders seriously, let’s investigate his agenda.

Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal is not a fan of the Vermont Senator’s statism.

His socialism is farcical in a country that can’t afford the entitlements it already has. …Mr. Sanders, far from being a radical departure, is merely a perfection of what Democrats have offered since the Clinton era, namely denial. Ignore the problem. If forced to acknowledge it, insist there’s no problem because the rich will pay. In the meantime, savage every reform proposal as an attack on “unmet needs.” Collect the political rents from serving as defender of every spending interest in our overcommitted republic. …Bernie…, for all his exotic pretenses, is just another machine Democrat.

New Hampshire Polls Have Created a Political Narrative Perfect Storm

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Election polling is always wrong. Except when it’s not. And even then sometimes. But especially in New Hampshire this year. Confused yet? You should be.

Every single poll that’s come out in the last week has said something completely different is happening in the first primary, and not even in a linear trending way, with certain candidates ascending or descending. They’re literally all over the place.

The following is a list of all the polls currently included in the Real Clear Politics average for New Hampshire.

NH1

From this data we can tell only three things:

  1. Trump is leading in New Hampshire.
  2. There is a fight for second place between Rubio, Kasich, Cruz, and Bush.
  3. Christie, Fiorina, and Carson should probably have dropped out yesterday.

Second is where the real mystery is. Every poll shows a different person (or tie) in second place behind Trump [highlighted above in yellow]. Rubio comes in second place in one poll and ties for second in two others, but so does Bush in one, Cruz in one and ties in another, and Kasich in two and ties in another.

Some of these individual polls even show trends from earlier data, which usually signal a real change in support. But even here those trends are contradictory. In the CNN poll, Rubio has gained 6 points from the same poll taken a little over a week ago, while the other candidates have only gained 1 point. But in other polls, like the UMass daily tracking poll, Rubio has lost 2 points over the last week.


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