McCrory May Have Lost in North Carolina, But HB 2 Didn’t

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Frank argued quite persuasively last week that it wasn’t House Bill 2 itself that doomed North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory in his reelection bid, but rather the overwhelming negative publicity dumped on the state by the left-leaning media and corporate-entertainment-sports complex.

But while Democrats and their allies were busy outspending McCrory in the governor’s race by nearly $8 million, Republicans continued to rack up victories in the state legislature. In fact, of the 89 GOP state legislators running for reelection who voted for HB 2, only two lost their seats to Democrats. And the Republican Party as a whole maintained its super-majority control in both chambers, making it very unlikely that HB 2 will be repealed despite Roy Cooper’s victory.

So, to recap: after spending millions of dollars and creating a fake economic crisis in North Carolina, the Left was able — just barely — to unseat Gov. McCrory while still losing seats overall in the state legislature, all but guaranteeing that the object of their hatred, HB 2, won’t be going anywhere. That doesn’t seem like much of a win to me.

Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles Project. Continue Reading

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, 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

Is Trump Outmaneuvering Clinton on TV?

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Last month, I wrote about the Associated Press’ interactive tool that allows us to see where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — as well as the various super PACs supporting or opposing them — are spending money on TV ads. You can check it out here.

At the time, the situation looked somewhat dire. Week to week, the Trump campaign was getting outspent by the Clinton campaign at least 5 to 1, and sometimes by more. Things have improved dramatically since.

Trump’s October TV Ad Spending:

  • October 2 – October 8: $6,723,974
  • October 9 – October 15: $10,299,758
  • October 16 – October 22: $13,974,642
  • October 23 – October 29: $15,248,878

Clinton’s October TV Ad Spending:

  • October 2 – October 8: $24,615,578
  • October 9 – October 15: $27,178,214
  • October 16 – October 22: $27,184,236
  • October 23 – October 29: $38,631,418

The Clinton campaign still has quite an edge, but the Trump campaign has at least been competitive in October. It’s also interesting to see where both campaigns are spending:

Clinton’s TV Ad Spending By State (October 16 – 22):

  • Florida: $7,021,119
  • Pennsylvania: $3,211,502
  • Ohio: $3,164,488
  • North Carolina: $2,508,899
  • Nevada: $1,812,832
  • New Hampshire: $1,464,935
  • Colorado: $1,117,840
  • Iowa: $1,033,225
  • Arizona: $530,750
  • Georgia: $161,322

Clinton’s TV Ad Spending By State (October 23 – 29):

  • Florida: $10,467,397
  • Ohio: $5,027,531
  • Pennsylvania: $4,746,023
  • North Carolina: $4,059,559
  • Nevada: $2,667,294
  • New Hampshire: $1,675,522
  • Iowa: $1,337,795
  • Arizona: $1,315,618
  • Georgia: $537,814
  • Colorado: $380,067

Trump’s TV Ad Spending By State (October 16 – 22):

  • Florida: $3,480,950
  • Pennsylvania: $1,485,646
  • Ohio: $1,218,202
  • North Carolina: $970,203
  • Colorado: $837,662
  • Nevada: $835,366
  • New Hampshire: $799,516
  • Virginia: $560,140
  • Wisconsin: $471,857
  • Iowa: $334,879

Trump’s TV Ad Spending By State (October 23 – 29):

  • Florida: $4,226,822
  • Pennsylvania: $1,679,017
  • Ohio: $1,401,368
  • North Carolina: $1,268,145
  • Nevada: $936,952
  • Colorado: $821,342
  • New Hampshire: $533,966
  • Wisconsin: $520,879
  • Iowa: $411,696
  • Virginia: $403,090

Trump’s TV ad spending is much more concentrated than Clinton’s. Continue Reading

Is Trump Giving Up on Pennsylvania? Is That a Bad Thing?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The Associated Press has a very cool interactive tool that allows you to see where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — and the various super PACs supporting or opposing them — are spending money on TV ads. Check it out here.

Using this tool, we gain a better understanding of the Trump campaign’s electoral strategy. While pro-Trump and anti-Clinton super PACs have been spending on TV ads for quite some time, the Trump campaign didn’t officially go on the air until the week of August 14.

Below is the Trump campaign’s TV ad spending by week:

  • August 7 – August 13 ($0)
  • August 14 – August 20 ($809,851)
  • August 21 – August 27 ($3,121,608)
  • August 28 – September 3 ($4,755,742)
  • September 4 – September 10 ($7,310,402)
  • September 11 – September 17 ($2,684,099)
  • September 18 – September 24 ($516,441)
  • September 25 – October 1 ($4,429,224)

Compare this to the Clinton campaign’s TV ad spending during the same time period:

  • August 7 – August 13 ($12,962,027)
  • August 14 – August 20 ($13,152,489)
  • August 21 – August 27 ($10,988,130)
  • August 28 – September 3 ($10,715,162)
  • September 4 – September 10 ($14,075,985)
  • September 11 – September 17 ($17,803,495)
  • September 18 – September 24 ($19,522,217)
  • September 25 – October 1 ($19,455,030)

Yikes. And remember, the Clinton campaign began spending on TV ads the week of May 15. All together, the Clinton campaign has spent $198.9 million on TV ads. The Trump campaign has spent just $23.6 million.

Additionally, the Associated Press tool allows you to see what spending has looked like in individual states. Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Launches $30 Million Campaign to Defeat Trump

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Planned Parenthood is certainly going all in on 2016 — and Donald Trump is the abortion lobby’s clear enemy number one.

Fresh off of their most recent victory in Congress, where they successfully forced Republicans to back down yet again from opposition to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the pro-abortion behemoth is now finalizing plans on an extensive campaign to derail any chances of a GOP victory in November:

In all, the group plans to spend $30 million to sway the 2016 election, double its spending in 2012. It’s working to reach 3 million voters to tip races to Democrats in North Carolina and five other battlegrounds: New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The group has 800 paid staffers and another 3,500 volunteers on the ground, with the goal of talking to 2 million voters through door-to-door canvassing, said Deirdre Schifeling, the group’s executive director. The budget and activist force make Planned Parenthood’s push one of the biggest door-to-door operations undertaken by an outside political group this cycle.

Schifeling said activists already have knocked on about 800,000 doors and found that about 30% of the voters they talk to are undecided in the presidential contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

In addition to their ground game, Planned Parenthood is also spending big on advertising to influence the race, with two new ads being released this week alone.

The first, which Planned Parenthood’s super PAC is airing in three key swing states in conjunction with the pro-Hillary Clinton Priorities USA Action super PAC, pushes the message that Donald Trump is “too dangerous for women”:

Following Tuesday night’s debate, Planned Parenthood also released an ad touting Tim Kaine’s remarks in support of abortion, preceded by the message “We couldn’t have said this better ourselves”:

During the first presidential debate, neither Trump nor Clinton were asked to expound upon their abortion views. Continue Reading

BOOM! Trump Drops $10 Million on New Ad, Hits Nine Key States

Donald Trump just dropped a bomb: his campaign is spending $10 million on TV ads in nine different states over the next week.

This marks a significant change in strategy for the Trump campaign, which previously relied almost entirely on earned media coverage. According to NBC News, since the primary ended, Hillary Clinton had outspent Trump on the air $68 million to $4 million as of last week.

The Trump campaign had previously run commercials in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. NBC News reports that the new $10 million buy will expand that effort to New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia, and Colorado.

Oh, and that new ad? One word: tremendous.

In Hillary Clinton’s America, the middle class gets crushed. Spending goes up. Taxes go up. Hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear. It’s more of the same — but worse.

In Donald Trump’s America, working families get tax relief. Millions of new jobs created. Wages go up. Small businesses thrive. The American dream? Achievable. Change that makes America great again. Donald Trump for President.

Trump is only down a few points nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. A strong ad buy like this can only help.

Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe. Continue Reading

Finally! Trump Goes on TV in Key Swing States

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump will begin running TV commercials in several swing states on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal:

As he continues to slip in the polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is poised to begin airing his first television ads of the general election starting Friday in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to a campaign adviser.

Mr. Trump, who frequently boasts that he beat several primary challengers who spent far more money than he did, has yet to air a single television ad since he clinched the nomination. Mr. Trump spent only $20 million on ads through May—compared with $62 million by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In the past two months, Mrs. Clinton has spent about $61 million on general election ads, while pro-Clinton outside groups have spent another $43 million, according to NBC News. She leads Mr. Trump by nearly seven points in national polls, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, and has posted leads in a number of battleground states.

First of all, be weary of the “Clinton blowout” narrative. As Frank Cannon wrote on Monday, Clinton’s lead is narrowing and the race is much closer than the media is reporting. With Trump going on the air in important battleground states, that margin is likely to become even closer.

There’s a well-known political axiom that says the “real campaign” doesn’t start until after Labor Day. If that proves true, Trump still has plenty of time to mount a comeback victory. Continue Reading

Party’s Over: It’s Time for Conservatives to Leave the GOP

Since the conclusion of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the GOP has been tearing itself apart. And Senator Ted Cruz is already positioning himself to pick up the pieces and put the party back together.

National Review is reporting that Cruz donors are less-than-happy with his actions, however. Some are even threatening to support other candidates in future races.

On the night before Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination, Cruz gave a rousing speech in which he encouraged Americans to vote their consciences. The delegates in the Quicken Loans Arena, however, responded to this statement of principle with loud booing and threats of physical violence.

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The speech was not the first time Cruz and his allies attempted to change the course of the convention, either. Prior to Cruz’s seismic remarks, conservative stalwarts Ken Cuccinelli and Senator Mike Lee tried to weaken the Republican National Committee’s power over the primary process. Serving as delegates on the rules committee, the Tea Partiers tried forcing votes on important rule changes to help secure grassroots victories in the future.

“This was an opportunity for the grassroots to finally spread power out in the party unlike 2012 and instead, we had a redo of 2012. We had a chairman gaveling through people who legitimately obeyed the rules to get a roll call vote. This was disenfranchisement, dare I say,” Cuccinelli said.

Clearly, Cruz and his allies have driven themselves into a tight corner in their attempt to preemptively position their 2020 campaign for the Republican nomination. Continue Reading

WATCH: New Pro-Trump Ads Display Shift in GOP Economic Message

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been massively outspending Donald Trump on advertising since the beginning of this election, including in several key swing states. According to one report, as of July 13th the Clinton campaign and pro-Clinton PACs had booked more than $111 million on TV and radio ads through the election, while Trump and his PACs had booked a little over $650,000, due in part to GOP megadonors’ hesitance in supporting him.

This week, however, one pro-Trump super PAC is trying to start closing that gap, with a $1 million ad buy in several swing states. Politico reports that the group, Rebuilding America, will be airing two new ads in a number of swing states, including ad time in Pennsylvania during the Democratic convention next week.

The two new spots focus on the outsourcing of American jobs. One attacks Clinton’s paid speeches, outlining what the ad describes as a willingness to outsource American jobs for money. The second, a rare positive ad for Trump, depicts a bright future for “craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers” under a Trump presidency. Focusing primarily on American steelworkers, the second ad draws a sharp contrast to the economic message of Mitt Romney four years ago.

Skilled craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers, have seen the jobs they love shipped thousands of miles away. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn it around.

It will be American steel, just like the American steel that built the Empire State Building, that will fortify America’s crumbling bridges.

Continue Reading

Report: Trump Benefited from Media Coverage, Clinton Suffered

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A blitz of both positive and negative media coverage played a large role in propelling Donald Trump to capture the Republican nomination, according to a new Harvard study out of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. The study analyzed the coverage of both print and broadcast sources, reaching the conclusion that “Trump exploited their lust for riveting stories.” Had Trump spent money on advertising equivalent to the amount of free media coverage he got, he would have spent roughly $55 million, the study found. Trump’s next closest competitor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, got just $36 million in free time by comparison.

Most of Trump’s media coverage (34 percent) had to do with his campaign activities and events, while 21 percent of it had to do with polls, and 27 percent of it was other miscellaneous coverage.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, independent Senator Bernie Sanders enjoyed the most positive coverage during the money primary, the report notes, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the most unfavorable media coverage, with over a quarter of her reporting time spent on the issues and over 80 percent of that time spent on negative coverage. Trump, Ted Cruz, and Sanders had issues-related coverage 12, 9, and 7 percent of the time, respectively, and Trump had negative issues-related reporting 43 percent of the time, while both Cruz and Sanders had negative issues-related reporting less than one-third of the time.

With the primaries now over, will the media continue to bolster Trump and damage Clinton? Continue Reading