Sanders, Trump, and the Pope: Whose Justice Is It, Anyway?

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

Last Monday, Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd at the largest Christian evangelical school in the world.  While his honest speech and the reciprocating respect of the Liberty University students highlighted the great need for civil public discourse in both our schools and our politics, his remarks also revealed a deeper problem in both American politics and society at large: the practice of selective justice.

Quoting Scripture to the crowd, Sanders reflected that Biblical justice means “treating others the way we want to be treated, treating all people, no matter their race, their color, their stature in life, with respect and with dignity.”  Due to the great income inequality in American today, however, he said that “it would be hard to make the case that we are a just society, or anything resembling a just society today.”

Regardless of the economics behind income inequality or the feasibility of his proposals to eradicate the income gap, Sanders is concerned with the poorest among us, and he cited his agreement with Pope Francis to prove it.

“The current financial crisis originated in a profound human crisis, the denial of the primacy of the human person,” he quoted the Pope.

News sources have also applauded Sanders for not “shying away” from the greatest divide between his views and that of his conservative Christian audience.

“I believe in women’s rights and the right of a women to control her own body. I believe in gay rights and gay marriage,” he said.  Continue Reading

Hillary Falls Way Behind Sanders in Iowa

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

It’s déjà vu for team Clinton as she loses ground against yet another upstart Senator. Bernie Sanders is dominating in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to a new set of polls by YouGov:

The new poll finds Sen. Sanders with 52% support among Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, while former Secretary of State Clinton, long considered the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, receives 30%. Recent polls have shown Sanders’ lead growing in the Granite State, but this would be the first to show the Vermont Senator over 50%.

Possibly more worrying for the Clinton campaign is her performance in Iowa, where Sanders now leads by 10 points, with 43% to Clinton’s 33%.

This is big news.  I wrote last month about the major dissatisfaction in the Democratic base fueling Sanders’ rise in the polls, but his rapid surge to the top has surpassed even my expectations.  There are a lot of things still working in Clinton’s favor, including her massive fundraising base and support from major party players, but for the first time a Clinton coronation doesn’t seem like the only possible scenario next year.  I’m officially upgrading Bernie Sanders from “long shot” to “serious contender” for the Democratic nomination.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action. Continue Reading

The Three Fab Things Ben Carson Told #BlackLivesMatter

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

In his column going viral, Dr. Ben Carson speaks truth as a black men to the Black Lives Matter movement. Three fab takeaways:

1. Old, white senators from rural states are not the problem:

The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The ‘BlackLivesMatter’ movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.

2. Black Moms matter:

I saw bullets, drugs and death in the same places I played tag and ball with my friends. Both of my older cousins died on the streets where I lived. I thought that was my destiny. But my mother didn’t. . . she saved my brother and me from being killed on those streets with nothing but a library card.

3. Hollywood degrades black men and women:

Let’s confront the entertainment industry that lines its pockets by glamorizing a life where black men are thugs and our women are trash. Let’s tell them we plan to start talking with our wallets.

Schools that don’t work, streets that aren’t safe, young people who can’t find work, Democrats who offer a handout instead of “honor and dignity,” a Republican party that simply ignores.

“There are many things to be concerned about when you are consumed by hopelessness. Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton Feels the Bern

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

While the GOP field has seen the rise of anti-establishment candidates like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has been having problems of her own.  The latest poll out of New Hampshire shows Clinton has been bumped into second place by someone previously considered a long shot challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

To be sure, this isn’t the first time people have speculated that Sanders might be a threat to the presumptive Democratic front runner.  The Washington Post recently noted that a Sanders event drew “an estimated 27,500 people — about five times as large as any crowd that has turned out for Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.”  And that the crowd seems to be part of a growing trend:

All told, Sanders has attracted more than 100,000 people to his rallies in recent weeks, riding a wave of Facebook shares, retweets and old-fashioned word-of-mouth to become by far the biggest draw on the campaign trail.

The new poll showing Sanders up seven points in New Hampshire (compared to down four just over a week ago) hints at a major dissatisfaction among Democratic voters.  No matter how much money candidates raise, it won’t push them over the top unless they address the core concerns of the base. Voters, whether left, right or center, want an election, not a coronation.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Bernie Sanders as Winnie the Pooh

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Bernie Sanders as Winnie the Pooh?  In my weekly column at, I said so.  And I proved it!

I, passionately, disagree with most of the prescriptions of Bernie Sanders.

Yet his empathy and passion are great things.

In Winnie the Pooh, A.A Milne wrote:

Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders. “What does ‘under the name’ mean?” asked Christopher Robin. “It means he had the name over the door in gold letters, and lived under it….”

Milne made Pooh famous as the “Bear of Very Little Brain.” Yet also, Pooh earned the status as marquee hero of two of the most cherished classics in children’s literature.  He earned that, in large measure, by his kindness and decency. I nominate, without implied irony or insult, Sen. Sanders as the Pooh Bear of the 2016 presidential election.

Sen. Sanders uniquely is speaking right into the economic distress that workers and working families are feeling after 15 years of economic stagnation: unemployment, underemployment, wage stagnation, paralyzed income mobility, and the shriveling of the American Dream.  All these are very real and very distressing to us voters.

Sanders speaks directly, and with great empathy, into this predicament.  Unfortunately, in my view, most of his prescriptions have, when tried, proved toxic rather than tonic.  I gave Sen. Sanders an A+ for diagnosis, and A+ for bedside manner, and an F for prescribing a cure worse than the disease.

I also wrote that “Bernie Sanders sings from a hymnal that brings music to our ears.

Continue Reading

Will Dems Take Away Your School’s Nonprofit Status?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack just asked major Democrats in the Senate whether or not they thought religious schools who require their employees to affirm the school’s faith tenets on marriage should have their tax status revoked.

Their reactions were not reassuring:

Sen. Richard Durbin told him they would be looking at a variety of laws to implement the Court’s ruling, but as to religious schools’ right to hire teachers who affirm their faith? “I don’t have a quick answer for you. I’ll have to think hard and long about that.”

Bernie Sanders said probably not: “I don’t know that I would go there.”

Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin was at least open to the idea: “Employment is subject to protections. I’m not sure how it applies to Christian-run schools.”

Only Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is gay and proud, said immediately, “That is wrong and shouldn’t occur.”  Kudos to her.

But who will ask Hillary what she thinks?  Will any of them vote for legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects government employees from being fired for their marriage views and preserves the tax-exempt status of schools and charities?

UPDATE: Rick Santorum just tweeted this:

UPDATE: Thanks Erick Erickson for the Tweet!

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

“Inside Out” Characters as Presidential Candidates

If you haven’t seen “Inside Out” yet, be sure to do it this weekend. It’s a fantastic movie.

“Inside Out” is about the emotional composition of a young girl’s brain and how her emotions affect her life. The five main characters are five key emotions: Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust.

So, what if the “Inside Out” characters were presidential candidates? That seems plausible, right?

Four of these quotes are made up. One is a collection of real statements. Can you guess which one is real?

JOY…Marco Rubio

JOY/Rubio: “This is so fun! I love running for President. I’m so excited for the future. Yes we can!… go forth into the next American century! We have so many great things in store. I can’t wait. Wait, me, worry? Why would I do that? About Jeb? Jeb is my friend! We go way back. Let’s do this! God bless America!”

ANGER…Donald Trump

ANGER/Trump: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest and you all know it! I laugh when I see Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush pretending to ‘love’ each other, with each talking of their great friendship. Typical phony politicians. It’s freezing and snowing in New York–we need global warming! Why is Obama playing basketball today? This is why our country is in trouble!”

FEAR…Scott Walker

FEAR/Walker: “Oh no. They’re figuring me out. Ahhh! Guys, I’m a conservative, I totally am! See, look, I support immigration reform! Wait, what? Just kidding. I really don’t like immigrants! And look, I ran an ad showing that I will respect a woman’s right to choose… so get off my back! Continue Reading