The Three Most Important Takeaways from the 2016 Election

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Ariz. (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

On March 3, 2015, as the early stages of the Republican presidential primary campaign were just getting under way, our team launched ThePulse2016.com to keep readers like you up to date on the latest developments in the 2016 election. Now, just over 20 months since that day, the 2016 election has finally come to a close.

In those 20 months, the race has taken twists and turns none of us could have expected. From a deep field of well-known Republican political leaders emerged an outsider candidate — Donald Trump — who, although not initially taken seriously, was able to speak to the concerns of many voters in a way no other GOP candidate could. And after shocking the political world by winning the Republican nomination, he pulled off an even bigger upset — overcoming the well-funded and well-organized Democratic election machine and defeating heavy favorite Hillary Clinton.

So, as the country slowly comes to grips with Tuesday night’s results, what can be learned from the events which have transpired over the last 20 months? How should we move forward after such an intensely divisive and emotionally draining campaign? Here are three suggestions:

1.) The Republican Party Needs to Reunite

Although things might seem all fine and dandy after last night’s victories, there’s really no avoiding the underlying reality: the post-Trump GOP is a fractured party.

Some division was to be expected after such a long, spirited primary as we saw earlier this year. Continue Reading

WATCH: Pro-Life Group Releases New Ad Supporting Trump

As we enter the final hours of the 2016 campaign, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List is making one last effort to nudge swing state voters toward Donald Trump.

In a new online ad released on Friday and currently running in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, SBA List highlights Trump’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s extreme position on late-term abortion in the final presidential debate last month:

You can watch the full exchange between Trump and Clinton at that debate here.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com. Continue Reading

For Trump’s Path to 270, It All Comes Down to One State

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last Friday, The Pulse 2016’s Frank Cannon and Jon Schweppe laid out the most likely path to 270 electoral votes for Donald Trump, arguing that if he were to win all the closest toss-up states at that time, he would need only one more state to go his way in order to overtake Hillary Clinton.

After a week, it looks like the final piece of the puzzle for Trump may be New Hampshire. New polling in the Granite State has been very favorable to Republicans, and the RealClearPolitics average now has Trump leading by 1.5 points with just four days to go.

However, a Trump victory is still far from certain, given how close the race remains in several battleground states. The RCP polling averages in four states (and Maine’s 2nd congressional district) are currently within two points:

In order for Trump to reach 270, he must win each of these states and ME-2 — or else he must win another one or more states where Clinton’s polling lead is more robust. It’s a tall order, though far from an impossibility.

However, of the above states, one holds a place of particular importance if Trump hopes to pull out a win on Tuesday: Florida. And it’s not just because he is slightly behind in the polling right now. Continue Reading

Did These Catholic Bishops Just Take a Swipe at Tim Kaine?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) (photo credit: US Department of Education via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has really been struggling lately when it comes to Catholics. It all started with the emails released by WikiLeaks that showed a number of Clinton staffers mocking Catholics and revealing their plans to undermine Catholic teaching. That may have been at least in part responsible for a poll out this week showing Clinton down 13 points to Donald Trump among Catholic voters.

Now, as Election Day nears, a number of Catholic bishops appear to be taking implicit — if not overt — swipes at Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Just take, for example, a recent statement to Virginia Catholics from two of the state’s bishops, Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo. Loverde and DiLorenzo mince no words when it comes to addressing two erroneous positions which have been advanced by Kaine during the campaign: the idea that one can be personally opposed to abortion while still supporting its legality and the idea that the Church can change its teaching on marriage. The bishops forcefully reject both these “areas of confusion,” and it is difficult not to read in this a rebuke of Kaine also:

The first area of confusion is that one can be “personally” opposed to abortion, yet continue to publicly support laws which allow it. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of both natural law and Church teaching. The common good and Christian charity compel us to work toward overturning – not supporting or acquiescing to – all unjust laws.

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Black Pastors Express Deep Concern over Clinton’s Stance on Abortion, Religious Freedom

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

Earlier this week, a group of 26 African-American religious leaders signed an open letter to Hillary Clinton requesting that she meet with them to discuss issues of importance to the black community. They then went into details on a number concerns they hope to hear her address, including two issues which have become particularly problematic for Democrats: abortion and religious freedom.

On abortion, the letter slams Clinton for saying in a speech last year that people’s beliefs “have to be changed” on the issue, a comment which the church leaders write “is reminiscent of totalitarianism.” They then go on to chastise her for failing to protect “the lives of the innocent” unborn, especially unborn African Americans:

…[O]ur opposition to abortion is a logical outgrowth of our view that there must be justice for all. Particularly relevant is the innocence of the unborn child. The Bible places an extremely high value on human life and particularly on the lives of the innocent who are under the special protection of God. Those who take the life of the innocent violate a key biblical principle as well as a fundamental principle of natural justice.

Abortion in the black community has had a catastrophic impact. Nationally there are 365 black babies aborted for every 1,000 that are born. Blacks account for roughly 38% of all abortions in the country though we represent only 13% of the population. In New York City, the situation is absolutely dire.

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Poll: N.C. Voters Say They Oppose HB 2, But Support What It Actually Does

Photo credit: Mr. TinDC via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Given the seemingly endless barrage of negative media coverage which has been aimed at North Carolina’s House Bill 2, including moves by corporations, sports entities, and celebrities to punish the state, it’s no surprise that the name “HB 2” has been tainted in the eyes of many voters. Just the latest evidence of this came in a recent Charlotte Observer poll, which showed 55 percent of North Carolinians want HB 2 to be repealed, versus 32 percent who support it.

However, when the Observer asked voters how they felt about the bill’s primary goal — namely, preventing any person from using any bathroom, locker room, or shower based on their claimed “gender identity” — the responses were much different:

Support remains for one of the bill’s key provisions – overturning a Charlotte ordinance that let transgender people use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. Nearly half the voters agreed the policy could lead to sexual predators attacking victims in bathrooms, while 42 percent disagreed.

This is reminiscent of a similar North Carolina poll conducted by Civitas earlier last month. When voters in that poll were asked simply whether they supported or opposed House Bill 2, opposition prevailed 55 percent to 37 percent. But when those polled were given a full description of the legislation’s goals, as well as a description of the Charlotte Ordinance it overturned, their responses flipped, with 49 percent saying they thought HB 2 sounded more fair versus 35 percent who did not. Continue Reading

New Obama Admin Rule Could Bar Religious Charities from Federal Funding

President Barack Obama (photo credit: LBJ Foundation via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Religious freedom is under assault once again by the Obama administration, this time thanks to a new rule announced last week by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to the rule, recipients of federal grants from USAID are now prohibited from discriminating in the provision of services on the basis of, among other things, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” While innocent sounding on its face, as the Washington Times reports, the new rule could have an enormous impact on who the federal government contracts with, particularly when it comes to faith-based groups:

Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said the rule will create more problems than it solves.

“Of course everyone that is eligible for aid should receive it, but the new rule is a solution in search of a problem and threatens religious aid organizations that provide vital services in reasonable and culturally sensitive ways,” Mr. Severino said. “For example, disaster relief agencies may now be required to open their women’s shower and sleeping facilities to biological males who self-identify as women or be stripped of all funding for alleged ‘gender identity discrimination.’”

Private contractors and nonprofits, many of them Catholic charities or religious humanitarian organizations, receive $16 billion in funding from USAID every year to fight poverty, start schools and eradicate disease, among other endeavors.

[…]

“Time and again, we see that when the LGBT agenda conflicts with religious liberty, according to President Obama, religious liberty must lose,” Mr.

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New Poll: Majority of Voters Oppose Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Politico and the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up last month to conduct a poll of voters on issues related to healthcare. Among the topics included in the survey was the Hyde Amendment and whether the federal government should allow taxpayer money to go toward funding abortion.

Here was the full wording of the question:

Medicaid is the largest government program that pays for health care for low-income people. Currently the federal government prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions under Medicaid. Do you favor or oppose changing this policy in order to allow Medicaid funds to be used to pay for abortions?

Notice that the words “Hyde Amendment” and “taxpayer” were not used in the question. One might have expected, given the choice of wording, that the results would be less than favorable for upholding Hyde.

However, the opposite actually turned out to be the case. Among all respondents, 58 percent said they would oppose Medicaid funding being used to pay for abortions, while only 36 percent said they would support it. Predictably, responses lined up somewhat reliably along party lines — the split was 57 percent support versus 36 percent oppose for Hillary Clinton voters, and 19 percent support versus 77 percent oppose for Donald Trump voters.

Even more interesting, though, was this additional detail provided by the report:

On this question, women are slightly more supportive than men of abortion coverage under Medicaid, but the differences are statistically insignificant.

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Scary: Georgia Pastor Fired by State Now Ordered to Turn Over Sermons

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Although we may still be a few days from Halloween, the Georgia state government is certainly doing its best to frighten religious believers.

The target in this instance is Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh Day Adventist lay minister who was hired by the Georgia government in 2014 as a state health official. Walsh was by any measure eminently qualified for the job. Shortly after accepting the position, however, a spooky series of events took place:

First Liberty said Walsh was hired as a district health director on May 7, 2014. A few days later, DPH officers and other government workers began investigating his religious activities.

“DPH officers and other employees spent hours reviewing these and other of Dr. Walsh’s sermons and other public addresses available online, analyzing and taking notes on his religious beliefs and viewpoints on social, cultural and other matters of public concern as expressed in the sermons and other public addresses,” the lawsuit states.

The behavior of the DPH was so egregious that its own counsel twice warned them on May 15 that “under federal law Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs could play no role in any employment decision by DPH.”

But on May 16, the DPH announced it had rescinded the job offer that Dr. Walsh had already accepted.

Dr. Walsh, of course, immediately filed suit against the Georgia government, accusing them of engaging in religious discrimination. But then, things got even scarier:

On September 28, in the process of building their legal case against Walsh, the State of Georgia served a Request for Production of Documents on Walsh, which requires Walsh to surrender copies of his sermon notes and transcripts.

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WikiLeaks: Clinton Wanted to Avoid Planned Parenthood After Undercover Videos

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

It would be difficult to find a more vocal political supporter of Planned Parenthood these last few months than Hillary Clinton. Of course, if a group was spending $30 million in support of your candidacy, you would probably be a big supporter too.

However, newly released emails from WikiLeaks show even Clinton at one time had her doubts about the wisdom of allying herself with the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Back in July 2015, just after the first undercover video was released showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the buying and selling of aborted babies’ body parts, emails show that Clinton was not eager to jump to the abortion giant’s defense. Breitbart reports:

In the email thread that begins July 15, 2015, released by WikiLeaks, Schwerin informs the staff he is sending a first draft of Clinton’s speech to the IDP dinner, asking for their feedback on the speech. He notes, however, specifically about Planned Parenthood:

Given the growing controversy over the leaked Planned Parenthood video, with Boehner calling for hearings and other GOPers piling on, we should think about whether this is a good time to join the battle and come to Planned Parenthood’s defense, or whether it’s wiser to stay away. For now, its [sic] in here.

Two days later, however, Schwerin wrote to the campaign staff, “HRC felt strongly about not touching Planned Parenthood right now. Jen [likely Palmieri] talked to her about it so perhaps could elaborate.”

Clinton’s speech at the July 17 Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner, likely the speech referred to here, did not ultimately include any reference to Planned Parenthood. Continue Reading