Trump and Sanders Winning the Economic Debate — and Election — by Default

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Most conservatives believe Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have wrong solutions to the stagnation in wages and job creation that has marked the American economy since 2000. But Trump and Sanders have proven better vote-getters than conservative candidates because, politically speaking, having wrong answers to a real and widely felt evil is better than offering no answers at all.

The last several Republican debates have been remarkable for the virtual absence of discussion of economic policy, other than Trump’s attacks on establishment lobbyists and donors and demands for “better deals” with our trading partners. It’s true that economic-related questioning by the various debate moderators has been minimal, but that doesn’t explain the non-Trump candidates’ failure to inject the issue on their own initiative.

The conservative candidates and their advisers are well aware from all polling, public and private, that the mediocre state of the economy is a predominant issue among voters, even at times when such events as acts of mass terrorism or the opening of a Supreme Court vacancy dominate the headlines and spike voter concern. That the conservative candidates don’t bring up the economy likely reflects a belief that they don’t have persuasive ideas for accelerating wage and job growth, or perhaps that voters are not smart enough to understand the various ideas they may have but fail to highlight.

Effective abdication of the economic issue by conservative candidates has enormous consequences both for the primaries and the general election.

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Is Hillary in Trouble After Losing N.H.? (VIDEO)

Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project and a respected conservative political strategist with over 30 years of experience.

I think the interesting thing is [Hillary Clinton] has exacerbated the loss [in New Hampshire]. Her husband Bill Clinton has exacerbated the loss. Their entire response to Bernie Sanders and his lead in New Hampshire was not to take a relaxed approach and say, ‘We have our firewall. We have a large firewall across the United States.’ It was to engage and try to dissect him and be able to annihilate him. And that’s only served to up her negatives and to show the fractures in her coalition among young women and others that put her in a relatively weak position.


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N.H. Says Take Your Pick: Angry Populist or Angry Socialist?

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

So complete has the Washington political culture of both parties bred a climate that favors insider power structure and cronyism (both corporate and political), that it’s no longer able to hide it behind smooth talk and show votes. It’s official: the Emperor has no clothes. The American electorate is angry, and their anger erupted into a full-on tantrum in New Hampshire last night.

While the good people of New Hampshire have flipped a middle finger to Washington, D.C., they’ve also presented a stark choice to their fellow Americans. Their message? “We’re so mad right now, we only see a choice between an angry populist and an angry socialist. So there. Chew on that.”

So complete were their victories (no, Trump didn’t underperform as I’d anticipated), first time voters flocked to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Note this CBS News summary:

First-time voters made up only a small percentage of the electorate Tuesday night – 15 percent on the Republican side (in comparison with 12 percent in 2012) and 17 percent on the Democratic side (down from 19 percent in 2008).

In both cases, however, the first timers went with the winners. Among the Republicans, Trump won 36 percent of these voters, Kasich came in second with 19 percent, and Cruz came in third with 12 percent. On the Democratic side, almost eight in 10 first-time voters supported Sanders.

As the primary season shifts southward, will anger subside and reason prevail? Continue Reading

Kasich, Sanders Hold Early N.H. Leads as First Towns Vote

Photo credit: Doug Kerr via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire — population of twelve — accompanied by two other small communities in the area cast the first votes of the New Hampshire primary when the polls officially opened at midnight. The voters put Governor John Kasich and Senator Bernie Sanders in the lead:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the most Republican votes in Dixville Notch early Tuesday morning, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won all the Democratic votes.

Kasich came away with three while business mogul Donald Trump won two. On the Democratic side, Sanders received four.

The results are a welcome sign for Kasich, whose campaign said he actively reached out to all nine voters who voted early Tuesday near the Canadian border in the first balloting of the New Hampshire primary.


Overall on Tuesday, the three communities cast 65 votes, with 17 going to Sanders.

Daniel Nichols works for American Principles Project. Continue Reading

New Hampshire Decides — Four Things to Watch For

So now it comes down to the voters of New Hampshire. Despite the “Live Free or Die” motto, New Hampshire Republicans are not especially libertarian. They are just among the most moderate of Republicans.

After Iowa’s disproportionately evangelical voters weighed in and chose Ted Cruz, New Hampshire voters will pick out the guy they want, and it looks overwhelmingly like Donald Trump will win. Here are four story lines to watch:

1. Trump v. Sanders — Will Trump be able to pull in Democratic-leaning independents, or will they go and vote for Bernie Sanders? That will tell us something about how powerful Trump’s blue-collar appeal actually is.

2. Will Marco Rubio finish second? Consecutive third place finishes are hard to spin into “winning the establishment lane.”  Polls show a confusing mess of possibilities: Is John Kasich currently in second, or is it Jeb Bush or Rubio or even Cruz?

3. A Kasich surge? This morning’s ARG poll, released after the debate, shows Rubio dipping back into third at 14 percent and Kasich emerging at 17 percent.  But other polls suggest Kasich, Rubio, Bush and Cruz are all statistically in a dead heat for second.

4. Will Ted Cruz surprise (again!)? Campaigns matter. Will Cruz’s superb campaign organization give him an edge in a tight field? A second place finish is not out of the question.

Here’s my preference, for what it’s worth: we have to narrow the number of non-Trump candidates to have any possibility of defeating him. Two-thirds of Republicans prefer someone else. Continue Reading

Clinton Campaign Comforts Backers

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

On Monday night, Iowa was surprised to find that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were locked in a literal 50-50 battle for Democratic voters.  Now, the Associated Press marks the official results as Clinton – 49.9 percent, and Sanders – 49.6 percent (with Martin O’Malley taking 0.6 percent before dropping out of the race altogether). The race was so close that, in an unusual scene even for American politics, six separate coin flips were needed to decide where the last remaining delegates would be assigned.

So in a race that close, why is the Clinton campaign acting as if they’ve got momentum?

Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, sent a memo to top donors detailing the mathematical route to the Democratic nomination, saying that “. . . while the first four states receive a lot of attention, they only represent 4% of the delegates needed to win the nomination . . . primaries and caucuses in March represent 56% of the delegates needed to win the nomination.” He brought the point home by saying that “. . . Sanders needed a decisive victory in Iowa in order to have a viable path to the nomination.”

The general point? Clinton and her camp don’t want supporters to get cold feet, but would prefer to let cooler heads prevail. Let all on the Clinton side remind themselves that the demographics of the First in the Nation states do not reflect the demographics of the majority of the United States. Continue Reading

The Bernie Sanders Philosophy: An Equal Share Of Misery

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Finally America gets to hear from real voters instead of us knuckle headed pundits. One hopes that those Hawkeyes are paying attention to what the Tax Foundation, the umpire of all things tax policy, recently announced.

Sen. Sanders’s tax plan would have the effect of shrinking the economy, and my (and, more to the point, your) paycheck by 10%. It’s already a scrape to get by. I really, really don’t want a 10% pay cut. Do you?

Winston Churchill said in a speech in the House of Commons on October 22, 1945: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Therein lies a problem and perhaps an intractable one for Democratic Socialist Sanders’s presidential aspirations. Socialism, even Democratic Socialism, by and large, and with some notable exceptions, has proven a recipe for misery.

Trigger Warning for my Conservative readers: I love Bernie Sanders.

Microaggression Alert for my Progressive readers: I won’t vote for him for president.

First things first. How do I love thee, Sen. Sanders? Let me count the ways!


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Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics. Continue Reading

Want a 10 Percent Pay Cut? Support Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ Tax Plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Want a 10 percent pay cut? Well, you could ask your boss to cut your pay. If you’d rather not ask your boss, you have another option, reports the Tax Foundation. Bernie Sanders will get it done for you, and for us all!

The neutral Tax Foundation added its analysis of the Bernie Sanders tax plan to those it already has performed on the proposals of Jeb BushBen Carson, Hillary Clinton, Ted CruzRand PaulMarco RubioRick Santorum and Donald Trump.

Key Findings:

  • Senator Sanders (I-VT) would enact a number of policies that would raise payroll taxes and individual income taxes, especially on high-income households.
  • Senator Sanders’s plan would raise tax revenue by $13.6 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up collecting $9.8 trillion over the next decade when accounting for decreased economic output in the long run.
  • A majority of the revenue raised by the Sanders plan would come from a new 6.2 percent employer-side payroll tax, a new 2.2 percent broad-based income tax, and the elimination of tax expenditures relating to healthcare.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly increase marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to 9.5 percent lower GDP over the long term.
  • On a static basis, the plan would lead to 10.56 percent lower after-tax income for all taxpayers and 17.91 percent lower after-tax income for the top 1 percent.
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March for Life Draws Varied Reactions from Candidates

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the 43rd Annual March for Life (photo credit: Aleteia Image Department via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hundreds of thousands attended the March for Life in Washington this past Friday on 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The only GOP candidate that spoke at the event, Carly Fiorina, said in her speech that “this election is a fight for the character of our nation” and that she was “prepared to stand for life.”

The Blaze reported that before her speech at the March for Life on Friday, Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst said that Republican front runner Donald Trump and other presidential candidates should tell voters where they stand on Roe v. Wade.

So here they are:

Marco Rubio tweeted:

Ben Carson tweeted:

Jeb Bush tweeted:

In an op-ed for Washington Examiner published the next day, Donald Trump wrote: “Let me be clear — I am pro-life. I support that position with exceptions allowed for rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk. I did not always hold this position, but I had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me.”

Mike Huckabee tweeted:

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Poll: Could Trump, Sanders Sweep Iowa and New Hampshire?

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Last Thursday’s CNN Iowa poll showing Donald Trump up 11 points and Bernie Sanders up 8 points seemed too shocking to believe, but CBS/YouGov polling released today appears to at least somewhat validate those findings. According to CBS’s numbers, Trump leads Ted Cruz in Iowa by 5 points while Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a statistical dead heat, with only one point separating the two.  This means that both races seem to be going down to the wire with only a week to go until the Iowa Caucus.

Of course, the usual caveat applies: much could still change between now and then. On the Republican side, while 78 percent describe their support of a candidate as “strong” or “very strong,” 22 percent say their support is only “somewhat strong,” meaning a good portion of the electorate could still be swayed. And there is a much better chance of those undecideds being picked up by Cruz or Marco Rubio than Trump: 67 and 64 percent of Republicans say they would be open to considering Cruz and Rubio, respectively, as an alternate candidate, while only 37 percent say the same about Trump.

Unfortunately, none of these questions appear to have been asked of the Democrat electorate, so it is more difficult to determine how fluid Democrat voters might be in this week leading up to the caucuses. However, given how quickly Sanders has closed the gap in Iowa, it seems safe to say that this could also be anyone’s ballgame. Continue Reading