Progressive Ideology, Meet Parents. Parents, Meet Federalism.

Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A significant introduction has been made, but there’s one more that needs to happen.

While a new Quinnipac poll is showing that Americans are still evenly divided over whether a person’s biological sex should determine which public bathroom they use, the majority of residents in key swing states—Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—are opposed to the White House’s mandate requiring public schools to allow transgender students into the bathrooms and locker rooms that “correspond to their gender identity.”

This mandate, though similar to the executive bureaucracy’s attempt to seize control of education by imposing national Common Core standards and testing, is an even more fundamental subversion of parents’ role in educating their children. It’s no wonder there is such a difference in pushback between gender-neutral facilities in public spaces and gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms in schools:

  • In Florida, while 48 percent of voters support allowing transgender people to use the public facilities they choose, 54 percent of voters say they would oppose any rule requiring public schools to enforce such a mandate.
  • Opinions in Ohio over public facilities were split 43 percent supporting to 48 percent opposing, but opposition to a mandate for public schools was at 55 percent in Ohio versus 36 percent in favor.
  • In Pennsylvania, the bathroom debate was split with 49 percent supporting allowing transgender people to use the facilities opposite of their gender and 43 opposing, but yet again, the majority opposed a mandate for schools: 53 percent opposed mandating public schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms not in accord with their biological sex, versus 39 percent supporting.
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New Poll: Cruz Emerges as Clear Rival to Trump

Donald Trump hasn’t given up his hold as the GOP favorite yet, but Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are now nipping at his heels.

A new poll released yesterday by YouGov shows Trump leading the pack as the first choice among likely Republican primary voters at 35 percent, followed by Cruz at 19 percent and Rubio at 14 percent.  Yet only 12 percent chose Trump as their second preference while 24 percent named Cruz as their second choice, putting Trump only 4 points ahead of Cruz as the voters’ first or second choice.

The most significant aspect of this new poll, conducted from December 18-21, shows that when Republican primary voters had to choose between only Trump and Cruz, they were nearly as likely to choose Cruz as they were to pick Trump — 49 percent for Cruz and 51 percent for Trump. When Cruz and Rubio face off, Cruz leads Rubio by 18 points. Below are the full results from the poll:

  • Donald Trump: 35% first choice, 12% second choice
  • Ted Cruz: 19%,  24%
  • Marco Rubio: 14%,  14%
  • Ben Carson: 7%,  9%
  • Rand Paul: 6%,  3%
  • Jeb Bush: 5%,  5%
  • Chris Christie: 3%,  8%
  • Carly Fiorina: 3%,  7%
  • John Kasich: 3%,  3%
  • Mike Huckabee: 1%,  3%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%,  1%
  • Jim Gilmore: 1%
  • Lindsey Graham: 1%, (dropped out of race on Dec. 21st)
  • George Pataki: 1%

While Carson may have dropped to fourth in general favorability polling, he still holds the top spot among likely GOP primary voters when it comes to honesty and integrity. Continue Reading

Wendy Davis, Poster Girl for Late-Term Abortion, Campaigns for Hillary

Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (photo credit: Alan Kotok via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

If you thought Hillary was finished using the pro-abortion agenda to push her campaign along, you would be mistaken. Clinton has now recruited the assistance of Wendy Davis, the former Texas state senator who rose to fame (or infamy) with her 11-hour filibuster of a bill banning late-term abortions in 2013.

According to the Clinton campaign, Davis will attend seven Iowa grassroots organizing events next week around Des Moines and Cedar Falls where she will speak about “Clinton’s commitment to protecting women’s health care and defending Planned Parenthood from Republicans’ attacks.”

While Clinton would obviously like to capitalize on a strong pro-abortion position by having the heroes of the movement stump for her, Clinton’s selection of Davis sheds light on an ironic misfortune for her strategy.

Davis also sought to build her own 2014 gubernatorial campaign in the limelight of her pro-abortion filibuster—only to be demolished by Republican Greg Abbott by more than 20 percentage points, or about 1 million votes.

The radically pro-abortion approach might work to Clinton’s advantage in the Democratic primary, but with an overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that a fetus in the womb is a person (66 percent to 16 percent), Clinton may end up just like Davis in the general election.

Anna Pfaff works for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Rubio-Backer Funding Major Effort to Revoke Support for Marriage in GOP Platform

Hedge fund CEO Paul Singer (photo credit: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A powerfully funded pro-gay marriage movement is organizing within the Republican Party to take support for our classic understanding of marriage out of the Republican Party platform, reports the Washington Blade, a leading gay newspaper.

The group Platform Reform is a campaign that originally grew out of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry but is now a project of the American Unity Fund, a Republican group dedicated to changing the GOP’s stance on marriage and other gay issues.

The money behind the push? It comes from Paul Singer, hedge fund CEO and one of the biggest Republican backers of same-sex marriage. Since 2010, Singer donated $1.6 million to start the American Unity PAC last year, and he has donated over $3 million to Freedom to Marry. Marc Solomon, the national campaign director of the organization, has said that Singer has made a “profound difference” in the movement “by putting his power, muscle, dollars, and heft behind this issue.”

The three-paragraph plank proposed by Platform Reform seeks to “recognize the debate on same-sex marriage within the Republican Party without articulating an objection to it.”  Neutralizing the GOP’s support for our marriage tradition, and opposition to the Supreme Court’s radical decision in Obergefell redefining it, is the group’s stated mission.

As Jerri Ann Henry, campaign manager for Platform Reform, puts it: “We’re pro-limited government, we’re very pro-family,” she said. “Having more families is a big deal in our community and makes for a more stable society. Continue Reading

Democrats’ New Abortion Narrative: Pro-Abortion No Longer Pro-Choice

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with former President Bill Clinton (photo credit: Karen Murphy via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Back in 2008, Hillary Clinton was asked whether Americans should work together to drop the number of abortions to zero. Clinton responded she wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare, and by rare I mean rare,”  describing abortion as a wrenching choice for “a young woman, her family, her physician, and pastor.”

Today, abortion advocates are shedding the euphemistic pro-choice label to declare themselves out and proud about abortion.

In 2015, the #ShoutYourAbortion Twitter campaign says that women should keep their abortions anything but private and that the choice is nothing but theirs.  Opposition to abortion means doing violence to women’s health and economic well-being. Anti-abortion is now anti-life.

As Rebecca Traister points out in New York Magazine, “After decades of treating abortion as a third rail to be gingerly sidestepped, with downcast eyes and sighing exhortations about tragic rarity, at least some on the long-ambivalent left have decided that fighting for better access to abortion is an issue on which they can actually win.”

While the recent shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado feeds the Democratic narrative, it is by no means the starting point. Hillary Clinton, for example, actually went out of her way to bring up Planned Parenthood in the CNN Debate when the moderators did not. She used this once “third rail” topic as a battering ram to go on the offensive against Republicans. Traister also calls attention to Clinton’s constant mention of reproductive rights and use of the word “abortion” to support her position instead of the “soft-lit language of choice.”

Instead of hiding from “abortion,” Democrats are now trying to rebrand the word by turning it into a necessary means to a good end. Continue Reading

Clinton Vows to Use Government or Non-Profits to Extend Abortion Funding Overseas

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

While the debate over defunding Planned Parenthood rages on, Hillary Clinton is now talking about extending funding for abortion beyond the United States.  

The 1973 Helms Amendment, which states that “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning,” is the one constitutional inconvenience standing in Clinton’s way.  At a recent town hall in Iowa, Clinton was asked whether, given the fact ISIS is using rape as a weapon of war, she holds a “position on Helms as it relates to public funding for abortion.”  

“I do think we have to take a look at this for conflict zones,” Clinton responded, “and if the United States government, because of very strong feelings against it, maintains our prohibition, then we are going to have to work through non-profit groups and work with other counties to … provide the support and medical care that a lot of these women need.”

Clinton’s comments follow a recent push by House Democrats to get the Obama administration to re-interpret the Helms Amendment to clarify that the amendment “permits exceptions in the events of rape, incest or danger to a woman’s life.”  As we’ve seen with laws for abortion to preserve a woman’s “psychological health,” such interpretations effectively remove any and all restrictions. 

Anna Pfaff works for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Rubio Donor and New Campaign Appointee Stand in Separate Camps

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When one of the GOP’s top donors came out with his endorsement for the Republican nomination, criticisms came flying in not only from Donald Trump (which was to be expected) but from many others within the party.

Marco Rubio’s strong stance on traditional marriage and the family just doesn’t quite mesh with multi-billionaire Paul Singer’s huge financial push to influence the GOP’s acceptance of gay marriage.  For example, in the 2014 congressional elections, he donated $10.6 million to several super PACs with a third of the money going to American Unity PAC, a group that supports Republican proponents of same-sex marriage.

Before his critics could condemn Rubio for having become soft on marriage, however, Rubio brought Eric Teetsel to his team—previously the director of the Manhattan Declaration, a national movement to call on the Christian conscience to protect life, marriage, and religious freedom.

While Singer’s endorsement had him concerned, Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, was encouraged by Rubio’s pick.  “Eric’s a great leader, he’s a great friend, it’s great for his campaign,” Brown said. “For us the issue is, appointments are good but we need more than just words.  We need action—for him to stand up and sign the pledge.”

Brown is referring to NOM’s Marriage Pledge, a promise that has been currently signed by four candidates to take action to protect marriage and religious liberty, such as working for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). Continue Reading

Olivia Pope and the Virgin Mary

Photo credit: Public Photos via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It is Christmas Eve, and Olivia Pope, star of the ABC melodrama Scandal is about to get an abortion. In an episode that aired Thursday night, she lays in the operating bed while the music of “Silent Night” plays. We watch her face run through the emotions of anxiety, uncertainty, and pain while listening to these words from her father:

Family is a burden…a pressure point, soft tissue, an illness, an antidote to greatness. You think you’re better off with people who rely on you, depend on you, but you’re wrong, because you will inevitably end up needing them, which makes you weak, pliable. Family doesn’t complete you. It destroys you.

Olivia closes her eyes and opens them, and her face is now calm, confident, and cold. In our society, abortion is seen as a choice that allows women to remain free and individually autonomous, not subject to any constraints on their own will. This view is possible because children are seen as a burden; an obstacle to success, to pleasure, to independence. Olivia chooses to eliminate this child who will rely on her so that she will never be dependent on another person—out of material necessity or out of the necessity that comes from love.

Call it sacrilegious or a coincidence, but the irony of these events occurring to the tune of “Silent Night” tells us even more about Olivia’s decision. On the night that God entered the world as a helpless baby, fully dependent on care from his family, Olivia has silenced the voice of the child who would rely on her.

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Hillary Clinton Denounces Common Core’s Standardization of Education

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

Even the Democrats are now backing away from Common Core, as earlier this month Hillary Clinton criticized the Common Core structure as a “one-size-fits-all model for education.”

At a roundtable meeting with teachers from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an organization that endorsed Clinton for president this summer, Clinton responded to questions on education-related issues, including several questions regarding the Common Core.

In response to a question regarding the amount of testing that students undergo, Clinton said she agreed with President Obama that we have become too focused on testing.  From the beginning of the campaign, she said, she has called for “fewer, better tests.”

Another teacher asked Secretary Clinton how teachers can “meet the diverse needs of students and their learning styles,” since the rigidness of Common Core has resulted in “standardization of education.”

Clinton responded:

[S]ome of what’s gone on has been well-meaning but misplaced, and one of the well-meaning but misplaced areas that I have seen over the years is this emphasis on standardizing learning, and holding out college as the goal and stripping schools of technical education, of what used to be called vocational education, of job preparation and the like.

Now, the motive behind that was largely, I think, well-meaning but, as I say, misplaced, because there were too many places where kids were just warehoused.  It was one of the reasons why the aggregate data issue was so important. 

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Cruz Joins Rand in Support of ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

A bill subjecting the Federal Reserve to a more thorough audit process has finally hit the Senate floor—and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have jumped all over it.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015, reintroduced to the Senate a week ago, would allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the agency, therefore creating oversight over the Federal Reserve.

“The Federal Reserve needs to fully open its books so Congress and the American people can see what has been going on.  This is a crucial first step to getting back to a more stable dollar and a healthy economy for the long term,” Cruz said in a written statement.

“Right now, the Fed is adjusting monetary policy according to whims, getting it wrong over and over again, and causing booms and busts.  If you look at the crash of 2008,” he added, “the Fed’s policy destabilizing our money contributed powerfully both to the bubble and the collapse.

Opposition comes from those such as the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who believes that “Audit the Fed is a bill that would politicize monetary policy and it would bring short-term political pressures to bear on the Fed.”

Cruz, Rand, and the 20 other senators who have co-sponsored the act, however, are of the mind that “by auditing the Fed, the American people can fully understand the scope and consequences of the agency’s extraordinary monetary policy since 2008—and then know what reforms are needed to improve the Fed’s operations and accountability.”

Anna Pfaff works for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading