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.

Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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

Did Trump Just Take The Lead? You Betcha.

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump’s speech on Thursday night, which I effusively called the “speech to end all speeches,” received terrible reviews from the elites within the media industrial complex. They called it “dark.” They argued he used a “divisive” tone. They said it would doom his campaign. And, as usual, the media elites got it wrong.

Trump’s speech wasn’t intended for the political establishment living comfortably in Washington. His speech was designed to drive home a message to the average American voter, to those struggling to get ahead, to those in fear for America’s future, to those who have lost hope.

And it looks like Trump connected in a big way according to recent polling data. For the first time in the 2016 election cycle, Trump now leads Hillary Clinton in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Here are the four most recent polls that have been conducted post-convention:

  • Gravis: Trump, 51 percent; Clinton, 49 percent
  • LA Times/USC: Trump, 45 percent; Clinton, 41 percent
  • CNN/ORC: Trump, 48 percent; Clinton, 45 percent
  • CBS News: Trump, 44 percent; Clinton, 43 percent

If you take an average of just these four polls, Trump now leads Clinton 47.0 percent to 44.5 percent.

Now before you start screaming “Make America Great Again” in gleeful exuberance, media pundits, who have such an impressive track record in this race of being dead wrong, want you to temper your enthusiasm. They want you to realize that this polling is merely a “post-convention bump.”

This cannot stand, they say. Continue Reading

Grassroots vs. Establishment Battle Evident in GOP Education Platform

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Although present in many other areas of the Republican Party Platform, the struggle between parents/grassroots activists and corporate education reform/data overlords is no more evident than in education. That fight is between parents who are demanding their inherent right to control the educational destinies of their children and the corporate titans, politicians of both parties, and bureaucrats that have imposed Common Core, invasive testing, psychological profiling, and data mining.

Grassroots Wins

Jane Robbins has already done an excellent job noting many of the same grassroots and parental wins. I heartily agree with her list of wins for our side (a complete list of my points and quotes is available here):

  • Affirming the need to eliminate or greatly reduce the unconstitutional, expensive, and ineffective federal role in education
  • Rejecting the view of students as products or “human capital”
  • Affirming the primacy of the parental role in education
  • Protecting data and psychological privacy and rejection of social emotional profiling and mental screening
  • Opposition to national standards and test based accountability
  • Supporting local control
  • Rejection of the Title IX bathroom edict and contraceptive based sex education as dangers to privacy, safety, and health
  • Affirming academic basics like phonics and other important foundations like history from original documents and the Bible as literature

One other significant piece the RNC should be commended for adding in the overall section on families is the plank acknowledging the incredibly important role of two-parent families that is foundational to education and to preventing so many social ills that plague our nation. Continue Reading

From the GOP Convention: Ben Carson, Lucifer, Saul Alinsky, and Hillary Clinton

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Saul Alinsky remains the man the right most perennially loves to hate. Somewhere in Heaven — or Hell — Alinsky’s surely enjoying a fine laugh.

Dr. Ben Carson, in his speech before the GOP Convention, departed from his prepared remarks. He extemporaneously added a riff on Saul Alinsky. He debuted this right wing crowd-pleaser in his keynote speech at the Faith And Freedom Coalition Gala, a speech which I critiqued at length in an essay at ThePulse2016, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky, and Donald Trump). Here’s how it goes:

Now, one of the things that I have learned about Hillary Clinton is that one of her heroes, her mentors was Saul Alinsky. And, her senior thesis was about Saul Alinsky. This was someone that she greatly admired and that affected all of her philosophies subsequently.

Now, interestingly enough, let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky. He wrote a book called, “Rules for Radicals.” On the dedication page it acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom.

Now, think about that, this is a nation where our founding document, the Declaration of Independence talked about certain inalienable rights that come from our creator. This is a nation where our Pledge of Allegiance says we are one nation under God.

(CHEERING)

This is a nation.

(APPLAUSE)

This is a nation where every coin in our pocket, and every bill in our wallet says, “In God We Trust.” So, are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer?

Continue Reading

GOP Convention Day Four Wrap-Up: Trump Delivers the Speech to End All Speeches

The GOP convention wrapped up last night. First of all, the big winner of the night: Heavenly Joy!

She is just six years old. Wow. What a voice.

Ivanka Trump also had a pretty good night.

And she got excellent reviews.

But this was a night for Donald Trump. He had to deliver the biggest speech of his lifetime, and he did it. Watch below:

It was a LONG speech — nearly 75 minutes. It was dark. It painted a grim but generally accurate picture of where we are at as a country. But it was, at times, very aspirational. He argued that “we can have the country we want.” Trump made the argument that America was up against the wall and only he could fix it. I think it was very powerful.

A lot of conservative pundits are frustrated that Trump didn’t mention this issue or that issue. I understand and even share in that frustration. But I think it is important to note that this speech was not intended for media elites, donors, or Washington think tanks. Continue Reading

Recap: Day Three at the GOP Convention (VIDEO)

There’s so much to talk about. So much. Where do I start?

Ted Cruz

Last night, Ted Cruz gave the most memorable political speech in recent memory. He took the stage to a standing ovation . . . and he left to an overwhelming chorus of boos.

What happened? Watch below:

The key moment comes at 19:00 in that video.

We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Who unite us all behind shared values. Who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.

And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. If you love our country, and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.

At that point, the boos rained down as delegates and convention attendees realized the speech was a non-endorsement. Cruz attempted to make light of it:

I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.

But it wasn’t just the New York delegation. The boos drowned out Cruz for the remainder of his speech. Reading the text of the speech, it doesn’t read nearly as badly as it felt at the time in Quicken Loans Arena. Many people were very angry and disappointed. And some, I’m sure, were thrilled that he refused to endorse Trump, but I didn’t see very many of them in my section. Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood’s Latest Vulgar Gimmick: Anti-Trump Condoms

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Planned Parenthood has been handing out condoms emblazoned with anti-Trump messages.

“Protect yourself from Trump,” the packaging on one says. “If Trump had his way, you would have to pay hundreds of dollars a year just to access birth control,” another says.

One of the packages says “You would be ‘punished’ for having an abortion.'”

Of course, Trump’s position on abortion is far less clear-cut than the condom’s assertion. When he made the comment about “punishment,” Trump took five different stances on the issue in three days.

Apparently, Planned Parenthood has distributed anti-nominee condoms at the last four GOP conventions.

The group has also started a Tumblr account dedicated to “spreading the truth” about Trump’s “racism, sexism, and bullying.”

Historically, political conventions have been known for their carnival-like, anything-goes atmosphere. And political groups have pulled outrageous stunts to either support or attack a particular candidate — often to the point of ridiculousness. In 1840 and 1888, campaigns rolled a massive ball covered with slogans from town to town. Quasi-military secret societies organized formal marches in support of the Lincoln campaign in 1860.

But Planned Parenthood’s crude joking takes things to a different level. The group makes light of an issues of immense gravity — human sexuality and abortion.

The political battles on these issues have a serious human cost. Studies have suggested that many women who get abortions tend to experience mental health issues like depression. Continue Reading

WATCH: Benham Brothers Discuss Importance of Religious Liberty at RNC

David and Jason Benham (photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Today in Cleveland, during a pro-life event, “Celebrating Life and Values,” hosted by the Family Research Council and Susan B. Anthony List, I had a chance to catch up with Jason and David Benham. In case you are not familiar with their story, the two brothers were scheduled two years ago to host an HGTV series called “Flip It Forward” — until the left whipped up a controversy over their outspoken Christian beliefs on life and marriage. HGTV subsequently cancelled their show just months before it was set to premiere.

You can watch my full interview with them below:

Stay tuned for more interviews as we continue our coverage of the Republican National Convention.

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

Day Two at the GOP Convention: A Recap

Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The second day at the Republican Convention in Cleveland was a bit tamer than the first. However, there were still some exciting moments.

The roll call to nominate Donald Trump for President began around 6:00 p.m. Each state and territory was called by the chair, in alphabetical order, to announce their delegate votes. One of the delegates from each state would then give a brief speech, typically touting the strengths of their state, before announcing the vote totals.

Some interesting wrinkles:

  • The lead delegate for Florida used his speech to troll Cleveland about NBA star LeBron James winning his first two championships in Miami. Ouch?
  • Puerto Rico’s lead delegate called for Puerto Rican statehood and reminded the convention that Puerto Rico had voted for its own statehood in a plebiscite in 2012.
  • Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania all passed at different times to set up a remarkable moment where Donald Trump, Jr. and the rest of the Trump children, representing New York, announced 89 delegates for Trump from New York, putting him over the 1,237 required to win the nomination. Trump, Jr. shouted, “Congratulations, Dad! We love you!”

The roll call wasn’t completely without controversy, however.

The lead delegate for the District of Columbia announced 10 votes for Marco Rubio and 9 votes for John Kasich. The chair immediately read it back as 19 votes for Donald Trump. The same thing happened with Alaska’s and Utah’s delegations.

Following the celebration of Trump’s win, an Alaska delegate asked for the floor and protested the way the votes were recorded.

Continue Reading

New GOP Platform: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Concerning

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Republican Platform was released on Monday, the first day of the convention. Much of the K-12 education plank is good; parts are concerning. Here are a few initial impressions.

The platform begins with a strong statement of the purpose of education — that true education goes beyond transmission of “knowledge and skills” and encompasses “handing over of a cultural identity.” The platform observes, correctly, that “centralizing forces outside the family and community . . . have done immense damage,” and it states flatly that the strongest centralizing force — the federal government — “should not be a partner in [the educational] effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education.”

Citing the celebration of human dignity in the Declaration of Independence, the platform states: “That truth [of the Declaration] rejects the dark view of the individual as human capital – a possession for the creation of another’s wealth.” In so doing, the platform dismisses the foundational principle of Common Core and other education-as-workforce-development schemes. This statement is a welcome indication that at least some of the people who worked on this language actually understand — and reject — the Chamber of Commerce view of education.

Turning to parental rights, the platform also acknowledges that parents “have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing” and even supports a constitutional amendment to protect that right from “interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.” It strongly endorses local control in education, opposes all national standards (specifically Common Core) and assessments and, while it endorses tests that “serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs,” rejects “excessive testing.” (There is no mention of parental rights to opt out of the testing.)

The platform also recognizes that more spending isn’t the solution to our education problems, noting the singular lack of effectiveness of the $2 trillion of federal money spent on education over the last 50 years. Continue Reading