Carson v. Trump: The Gloves Come Off

Photo credit: Joshua Pinho

With the latest CNN poll showing Trump continuing his front-runner status, and Carson surging into place as the only candidate GOP voter now prefer, the two men are recognizing they are each others’ biggest competitor, politically speaking.

At the Commonwealth Club, Carson took aim at Trump’s “deport ’em all” immigration plan:

“It sounds really cool, you know, ‘Let’s just round them all up and send them back,'” Carson said. “People who say that have no idea what that would entail in terms of our legal system, the costs – forget about it. Plus, where you gonna send them? It’s just a double whammy.”

Carson also called for a 10 percent flat tax, saying, “I think God’s a pretty fair person, and he advocated a tithing system. There must be something inherently fair about proportionality.”

At a rally in Anaheim, a reporter fanned the flame by asking Carson what the biggest difference is between him and Donald Trump.  Carson chose his deep faith commitment: “Probably the biggest thing — I’ve realized where my success has come from and I don’t in anyway deny my faith in God,” drawing an implicit contrast with Trump, who said he never needed to ask God’s forgiveness. “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life and that’s a very big part of who I am. I don’t get that impression with him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t get that.”

Trump did not respond well to these gentle critiques, slamming Carson’s abortion views on CNN as “horrendous” (an odd move for the very recently pro-choice Trump) and allowing that the brilliant John Hopkins neurosurgeon might be an “okay” doctor:

Trump was asked, “Ben Carson, he’s also making a lot of traction.

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Billy Graham’s Son Turns Against Trump

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham and head of Samaritan’s Purse, seemed to be a fan of Donald Trump for the last couple months, writing posts on Facebook praising him for “shaking up” the GOP.

But now that Rev. Graham is finding out more about Trump’s positions, specifically his comments saying Kentucky clerk Kim Davis should obey the “law of the land” on same-sex marriage, he feels differently about the Donald:

Rev. Graham certainly holds a lot of sway with people of faith, so does this mark the beginning of the end of evangelicals’ flirt with Trump?

Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Continue Reading

Does Donald Trump Have a Religion Problem?

Donald Trump has been trying to woo the evangelical vote by continuously repeating on the campaign trail that his favorite book is the Bible, recounting his faith as a young man, and describing himself as religious, as part of a strategy to convince Christian voters that he is one of them. But is he?

When asked in an interview on Wednesday what his favorite Bible verse was, Trump became clearly uncomfortable. He repeatedly refused to give a verse or two, and when asked if he was “an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy,” he said, “Probably equal,” and described the Bible with empty platitudes like “very special” and “incredible” (relevant clip starts at 7:06):

HALPERIN: Okay, you mention the Bible, you’ve been talking about how it’s your favorite book, and you’ve said, I think last night in Iowa, that some people are surprised that you say that. I’m wondering what one or two of your most favorite Bible verses are and why.

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn’t want to get into it, because to me, that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal. So I don’t want to get into verses, I don’t want to get into —

HALPERIN: There’s no verse – there’s no verse that means a lot to you that you think about or cite?

TRUMP: The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.

HALPERIN: Even to cite a verse that you like?

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Cruz: Abortion, Gay Marriage Are What Happen When Evangelicals Stay Home

Ted Cruz is clearly courting the evangelical vote, but he has good reason — too many evangelicals stay home and don’t vote in presidential elections, then wonder why we have a million abortions a year, judicially-imposed same-sex marriage, and religious liberty infringements.

Last week at a religious liberty rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Cruz said this:

You wonder why we have a federal government that comes after our free speech rights, that comes after our religious liberty, that comes after life, that comes after marriage, that comes after our values? It is because 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home [in 2012].

While Mitt Romney was far from a perfect candidate — perhaps the epitome of an imperfect Republican candidate — there’s no question America would be different in 2015 if a few hundred churches’ worth of evangelical Christians came out to vote in November 2012.

So what was Cruz’s conclusion from this point?

“Well I’m here to tell you, we will stay home no longer.”

Amen, Senator.

Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Continue Reading

NYT’s Bruni: GOP Changes When All Evangelicals Are Subtracted

The New York Times’ Frank Bruni, in a classic attempt at trying to influence conservative elites through mainstream media, presents a sneak preview of a new analysis of data on social conservatism and religion.

He finds that 36 percent of Republicans are self-described evangelicals and that they oppose abortion and same-sex marriage more strongly than other Republicans. This is not surprising.

Then he proposes that what Republicans and the media should do is subtract evangelicals from the opinion polls and find out that Republicans are more split on social issues than is commonly supposed.

Well yes, if you subtract all the evangelicals, and other social conservatives, from the Reagan-created winning GOP coalition, you will find more social moderates. On the other hand, subtracting all those voters from the GOP coalition would make it a lot harder to win election. It would reduce the GOP from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Gerald Ford, and it means abandoning our historic majorities in Congress and handicapping our ability to elect a president.

What this column reflects, in my humble opinion, is the Left’s unconscious desire to erase social conservatives from the American body politic.  It would certainly be easier for the Left to win elections that way.  But it’s not the way to do democracy.

Maggie Gallagher is the editor of Continue Reading