Six Lessons from Donald Trump’s Great Victory

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Congratulations, President-elect Trump. Congratulations to the historic, never-before-seen governing majority he assembled. It’s time to hope I was wrong and work for President Trump’s success — for America’s success.

Here are my first six takeaways from last night’s historic victory:

1.) The RNC’s “Autopsy” from 2012 got it exactly wrong in arguing the key to victory was less social conservatism and more of the standard GOP economic message. One key to Trump’s victory was to combine social conservatism with a new populist economic message. White evangelicals voted for him in record, never-before-seen numbers: 81 percent to 16 percent according to exit polls. That tops George W. Bush’s record of 78 percent in 2004.

2.) Latinos were the dog that didn’t bark. Build a wall, chastise Mexican immigrants as rapists, threaten to deport illegals — despite Trump’s often unusually harsh tone, he actually gained slightly more of the Latino vote than Romney did, 29 percent versus 27 percent. In Florida, he won 33 percent of the Latino vote. Apparently, Hispanic voters care less about immigration than elites think they should.

3.) The biggest loser last night was the donor class. According to OpenSecrets.org, Trump raised $250 million — less than half of the $687 million Clinton raised.  Trump demonstrated that you can lose the money primary and still win the election. Television is no longer king. This is a huge opportunity for social conservatives in particular; as donors recognize giving to super PACs is just padding the pockets of consultants who make money whether they win or lose, they are going to be looking for new more effective political vehicles. Continue Reading

Wikileaks: Clinton Staffers Caught Mocking Catholics and Evangelicals

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

As is being widely reported today, WikiLeaks recently released a set of emails featuring bigoted, anti-Christian diatribes from three staffers and advisors to Hillary Clinton. The leaked emails also included a confession from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, to commissioning an effort via the Center for American Progress to launch a “Catholic spring” to foment rebellion within the Church against thousands of years of Catholic doctrine.

This should come as no surprise, however. Hillary Clinton’s anti-religious freedom policies aim to segregate people of faith away from the public square. This is the implicit goal of progressive policies like President Obama’s HHS mandate and the so-called ‘Equality Act.’ Given these radical, anti-religious positions, it’s not a shock to find out that Clinton’s top staffers hold bigoted, anti-Christian views.

These nasty comments were not directed solely at Catholics, either. Clinton staffers openly mocked evangelical Christians as well. They were ecumenical equal opportunity offenders.

It is also concerning that John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, is attempting to divide the Catholic Church through a series of front groups, which aim to pit Catholic against Catholic by encouraging practicing Catholics to deny Catholic doctrine. This is despicable.

These emails reveal a bigoted, anti-Christian attitude held by those who will be managing the day-to-day activities of our country if Clinton is elected. Catholics and Evangelicals should keep this in mind as they head to the voting booth in November.

Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Trump Tries to Play Both Sides of Religious Freedom Debate

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Recently, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been attempting to play both sides of the religious freedom debate.

In an op-ed for Utah’s Deseret News, Trump wrote, “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have tried to undermine our religious liberties on the altar of political correctness. They have challenged the rights of businesses and religious institutions to speak openly about their faith. Undermining religious liberty has been a trend in the Democratic Party for decades.”

Trump is absolutely right on this point. During his seven-and-a-half years in office, President Obama has committed the federal government to an all-out assault on the free exercise of religion. And, undoubtedly, Hillary Clinton will continue these disastrous, unconstitutional policies.

However, it is difficult to put much stock in Trump’s words given other recent statements he has made.

The GOP nominee has also said, in several speeches, that he is a great friend to the LGBT community and that he would defend gay rights. In a recent speech, he even proposed an ideological test for new immigrants, measuring acceptance of the LGBT movement as one metric to determine an individual’s fitness for admittance to the U.S.

“Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country,” he said. “I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting.”

The radical left has incessantly accused Christian groups of bigotry and hatred for their opposition to the LGBT agenda. Continue Reading

Evangelicals for Hillary? Democrat Targets Religious Conservatives

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Lorie Shaull via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last week, Priorities Action USA — a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC — began running an ad in seven key states, seeming to target Christian conservatives who may be hesitant to vote for Donald Trump in November. The ad focuses on a Midwestern couple and their daughter, Grace, who was born with spina bifida. Attacking Trump for comments he made about a disabled reporter, the ad includes the type of imagery typically associated with pro-life, evangelical campaigns. Grace’s parents describe her as “a total blessing in their lives,” and one photo shows her asleep with a wooden cross resting beside her.

Of course, evangelicals are unlikely to start flocking to Clinton. While the ad seems to celebrate Grace’s life, Clinton has spoken out against Indiana’s law which prohibits aborting a child for being diagnosed with a disability like Grace’s. 64 percent of unborn children diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted. Evangelicals’ overwhelmingly unfavorable view of Clinton isn’t going to be changed by one wildly hypocritical ad. But, as NPR reports, while the super PAC is “under no illusion that Republicans are going to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton,” they believe that some could at least be persuaded to stay home.

This strategy was also advanced in a recent ThinkProgress piece, titled “Why Conservative Voters of Faith Could Find Themselves Backing Hillary Clinton in November.” Among a few implausible scenarios, like Utah’s Mormon population shifting to pro-choice anti-religious-liberty Gary Johnson, the author notes that some conservatives, following the lead of several evangelical leaders, may stay home or do a write-in. Continue Reading

Do Churchgoers Vote for Trump?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

There’s been a lot of talk of evangelical support for Donald Trump, and it’s true Trump has just about swept South including North Carolina earlier this week.

But in Missouri, where Trump beat Ted Cruz by the narrowest of margins, the exit polls for the first time asked voters about their church attendance and not just their religious affiliation.

It shows what many of us have suspected: a massive rebellion against Trump among Christians who actually attend religious services regularly.

Among those who show up at church once a week or more, Cruz crushed Trump, 55 percent to 32 percent according to the exit poll.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to win even in Missouri, where Cruz lost by an agonizingly narrow margin.

This dynamic may explain other oddities popping up in various exit polls, like the fact that even when Trump wins voters who make less than $50,000 and more than $100,000, Cruz wins among those making $50k-100k a year — an awful lot of married families with children in that slot.

Or that Cruz is winning the college educated — who are also more likely to be married and churchgoers.

The most religious voters are having the hardest time accepting Trump. Makes sense.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Nine Takeaways from Super Tuesday 3

Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

March 15th or Super Tuesday 3 (I originally called it Super Tuesday 2, but apparently March 8th was “super” as well) was a good night for Donald Trump. He won every state that he led the polls in. He wracked up lots of delegates and took one step closer to the GOP nomination for president.  It was an incredibly bad night for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who, after losing his home state of Florida, badly, suspended his campaign. Ohio Governor John Kasich came in second tonight in terms of delegates, but still finds himself trailing far behind the other candidates.

Here are the results:

Florida Primary – 99% reporting (99 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 45.8% (1,075,505) – 99 delegates
  2. Marco Rubio – 27.0% (635,219)
  3. Ted Cruz – 17.1% (402,632)
  4. John Kasich – 6.8% (159,039)

Ohio Primary – 99% reporting (66 Delegates)

  1. John Kasich – 46.8% (953,646) – 66 delegates
  2. Donald Trump – 35.7% (726,611)
  3. Ted Cruz – 13.1% (266,905)
  4. Marco Rubio – 2.9% (59,215)

North Carolina – 100% reporting (72 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 40.2% (458,117) – 29 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 36.8% (418,628) – 26 delegates
  3. John Kasich – 12.7% (144,289) – 9 delegates
  4. Marco Rubio – 7.7% (87,852) – 5 delegates

Three delegates still have not been allocated yet.

Illinois Primary – 99% reporting (69 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 38.8% (548,528) – 24 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 30.3% (428,363)
  3. John Kasich – 19.7% (278,224)
  4. Marco Rubio – 8.7% (122,206)

45 delegates still need to be allocated, based on Congressional District vote and direct delegate elections. Continue Reading

Who Would Be the Most Biblical President? Group of Pastors Rate Remaining Candidates

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Donald Trump, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Last week, a group of Alabama clergy released a set of ratings measuring the remaining presidential candidates — both Republican and Democrat — on their adherence to biblical standards for contemporary social issues that challenge people of faith. The group, called the Gate Keepers Association of Alabama and consisting of 19 to 25 pastors, has been meeting twice monthly since August to discuss political candidates and how they rate on a biblical worldview.

“We have dealt with abortion, same-sex marriage,” said Bishop Jim Lowe, Pastor of Guiding Light Church in Birmingham, Ala. “As gatekeepers, it our responsibility to not only teach congregations but protect congregations from the outside intrusion of government deciding what is right and what is wrong. We want to inform congregations of those threats that come against the church. We’re like watchmen on the wall.”

So how did the candidates rate? Alabama.com has the breakdown:

“Based upon our 0-5 Star rating system, with five being the HIGHEST probability that a candidate will exemplify a Biblical world view if elected President of the United States, our collective average rating evaluations for each Presidential candidate are as follows:”

Democrats:

Hillary Clinton, 1.88 Stars

Bernie Sanders, 1.71 Stars

Republicans:

Ted Cruz, 3.22 Stars

Ben Carson, 3.15 Stars

Marco Rubio, 3.03 Stars

John Kasich, 2.41 Stars

Donald Trump, 0.88 Stars

Brittany Klein is the co-author of Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family ‘Equality’ and serves on the board and academic council of the International Children’s Rights Institute. Continue Reading

Conservatives Debate How to Stop Trump

Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Conservatives seem to agree on the need to stop Donald Trump’s burgeoning candidacy, but they disagree on a strategy.

The first obstacle is how to somehow combine Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s 20-25 percent of the vote each into a 40-50 percent block to contend with Trump. Various conservatives have urged their allies to coalesce around Cruz, or alternatively, around Rubio.

Cruz advocates, such as The Federalist‘s D.C. McAllister, contend “Rubio Needs to Move Aside for Cruz, not Vice Versa.” McAllister cites Cruz’s expertise for picking Supreme Court justices and contends that many Cruz voters would drift to Trump and not to Rubio if Cruz left the race.

Advocates of backing Rubio include Leon Wolf of RedState. Though Wolf says, “I’ve been on the record for months saying that Ted Cruz would be a better President than Marco Rubio. I still believe that,” he concludes that Cruz simply has not expanded his voting base beyond evangelicals and very conservative voters as would be necessary to beat Trump in the post-Super-Tuesday states with thinner evangelical populations. Therefore, a poor March 1 primary showing by Cruz will likely end his chances.

Many conservatives have also openly wished that Cruz and Rubio would join forces in a combined ticket. Jonah Goldberg proposes that “A Rubio-Cruz Ticket Might Be the Only Way to Stop Trump.” David Harsanyi concurs. How would they decide who gets lead billing on such a ticket? Continue Reading

After South Carolina, It’s a Three-Way GOP Race

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Donald Trump, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

I shared some post-South Carolina Primary thoughts on Facebook Saturday night, but I wanted to expand on that here. This is a three-way race between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Currently Donald Trump is in the driver’s seat.

Finally after South Carolina pollsters can finally pat themselves on the back because the polling finally reflected the primary results.

The RealClearPolitics average of South Carolina polls showed:

  1. Donald Trump – 31.8%
  2. Marco Rubio – 18.8%
  3. Ted Cruz – 18.5%
  4. Jeb Bush – 10.7%
  5. John Kasich – 9.0%
  6. Ben Carson – 6.8%

With the South Carolina Primary results, the order was right and the close race for second was correct. Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson all slightly out-performed their polling. Bush and Kasich under-performed. The final results:

  1. Donald Trump – 32.5%
  2. Marco Rubio – 22.5%
  3. Ted Cruz – 22.3%
  4. Jeb Bush – 7.8%
  5. John Kasich – 7.6%
  6. Ben Carson – 6.8%

You don’t get it much closer than that.

Some thoughts on the primary:

  • Those who claim that Ted Cruz underperformed haven’t been paying attention to polling. Polling consistently had Trump leading this race by a wide margin. The highest that Cruz ever polled was at 23 percent, and the most recent polling had him under 20 percent, so I’m not sure how one can say he underperformed. Did they hope to do better here? Sure, but this is hardly a surprise.
  • Rubio to his credit recovered from the disappointment in New Hampshire.
Continue Reading

Trump Voices Support for Churches’ Tax-Exempt Status

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

In an interview with CBN’s “Brody File” yesterday, Donald Trump said that he believes churches should not lose their tax exempt status for engaging in political activity.

Trump claimed that more faith leaders would endorse him if they didn’t fear backlash:

I know people who want to endorse me, but they’re afraid to endorse anybody because they don’t want to get political. So essentially, they’ve taken a lot of the power away from the church.

Then, alluding to the growing threat to religious liberty, Trump spoke of the waning clout churches hold at the expense of the federal government:

I see churches where they’re afraid to be outspoken because they don’t want to lose their tax-exempt status, and I realize that is one of the problems. I want to give power back to the church because the church has to have more power. Christianity is really being chopped; little by little it’s being taken away.

These comments come at a time when Trump has been heavily courting social conservatives and Christian evangelical voters. Working to capitalize on his victory in New Hampshire, Trump is surely looking to avoid an Iowa repeat and another loss to Ted Cruz (who recent polling shows is closing in fast) in tomorrow’s South Carolina primary.

Stephen Brown works for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading