Who Should Trump Choose for VP? Our Writers Weigh In . . .

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Of the candidates on Donald Trump’s reported VP shortlist, who would be his most advisable choice?

Ralph Benko

Mike Pence is just being Hoosier-in-Chief. The official state drink of Indiana is… water.

Only in Indiana. Milk too controversial apparently. That’s just how polite those Hoosiers are.

Not squishy. Polite!

Sweet Home Alabama! Their official state drink: Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey!

Hello, Sen. Sessions?

Deal W. Hudson

Trump’s VP pick should accomplish three things: first, assuage concerns about Trump’s lack of political experience; second, add a “steady hand” at the tiller in directing our nation through turbulent times; and, third, nail down the electoral votes of a key swing state. Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence satisfy the first two, though the former more so; but neither brings crucial electoral votes. General Michael Flynn adds nothing to the ticket except confusion. Gov. Chris Christie couldn’t carry his own state and makes the ticket New York/New Jersey. It doesn’t work on many levels. Thus, there is no likely choice who meets all three criteria. I hope there are some possible choices not on the short list.

Joshua Pinho

Of the three candidates for Trump’s VP, Newt Gingrich is the clear choice. Gingrich was one of Trump’s first key surrogates, at a time when few were willing to openly shill for Trump. Gingrich has spoken positively about Trump’s rise to political prominence and has encouraged his fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump. As VP, he could transition from surrogate/supporter to “attack dog,” a common role for a VP nominee. Continue Reading

Trump’s Leading VP Candidates Are Not Strong on Common Core and Fed Ed

Donald Trump is set to announce his vice-presidential choice sometime this week, before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland begins on Monday.

Despite occasional stumbles, such as identifying education as one of the core functions of the federal government and his dizzying policy switches, Trump has been relatively stable in opposing Common Core and claiming he wants to “make education local.” Although he has no record in public-education policy, he would be more likely than Hillary “It Takes a Village” Clinton to decrease the federal role in education.

But some of the major contenders for the VP slot do have public records — and those records are concerning. Here is a brief review of the commonly discussed names in order of the amount of media buzz they are receiving at The Pulse 2016, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post:

1.) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Gingrich served as Speaker while the Clintons, Marc Tucker, and others were laying the foundation for the “seamless web” of centralized education and workforce that undergirded No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Common Core. (See the following diagram created by former congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Mike Chapman and distributed by Education Liberty Watch’s predecessor organization EdWatch.)

To his credit, before he became Speaker, Gingrich voted against Goals 2000, which implemented the mental health and preschool pieces of the FedEd puzzle, and School to Work. These bills implemented Marc Tucker’s infamous vision explained in his letter to Hillary Clinton in 1992. Continue Reading

Who Will Be Trump’s VP? Here Are His Five Most Likely Choices

With the GOP convention less than two weeks away, the media is buzzing with news and rumors about who Donald Trump may pick to be his running mate.

Dozens of names have been mentioned, from sitting governors and members of Congress to retired politicians and even political outsiders. Cutting through some of the speculation, however, here are Trump’s five most likely options.

Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Gingrich, who served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, is well-known in conservative circles for his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of political history. Though he has, at times, been criticized as too ambitious, Gingrich is seen by many as a strong, principled conservative with elder statesman status in the party.

His time in the House and on the campaign trail in 2012 would bring an element of experience sorely missing from the Trump campaign. Writing for Time, David Lane argued that “Selecting Gingrich as Veep would send a message worldwide—that Trump is bringing ‘adults’ to the table with the intention to make America great again.”

In many ways, Gingrich’s “Republican revolution” in the ‘90s resembled Trump’s program, albeit in a more refined form. Gingrich, like Trump, was interested more in winning over discontented Democrats than in strict observance of conservative orthodoxies.

In a column this week, Jonah Goldberg argued that “Gingrich could complement Trump; he could be like the walking explanatory footnote to Trump’s every outburst.” Gingrich could provide a rhetorical defense of Trump’s platform and statements, thus elevating the tone of the campaign in some sense. Continue Reading

Christie Backs Historic School Funding Reform, Tax Cut

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Yesterday in Somerset County, New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie proposed an amendment to his state’s constitution that, if enacted in a referendum next year, will apportion state aid to local school districts on a per pupil basis.

What would this mean when fully phased in? Each district would receive $6,599, multiplied by the number of students going to school in that district. Aid to special education programs would continue unchanged. This would replace the current system imposed 40 years ago by the New Jersey Supreme Court in which 59 percent of the state aid goes to 23 percent of the student population.

Christie was of course immediately accused by Democrats and New Jersey media of succumbing to racism, since evening out the aid system would reduce budgets in the poorest districts. But the governor noted that the greatest beneficiary of the current system, Asbury Park, has a high school graduation rate hovering around 66 percent, based on a state subsidy of $33,699 per student. He also noted that inner cities like Newark have charter schools achieving superior performance outcomes with per pupil costs about half that of the conventional public schools. Given this track record, it would seem likely that inner-city students and parents will be the biggest winners if the reform becomes law.

Democrats represent many of the suburban school districts that would be able to enjoy the largest cuts in property taxes, a category in which New Jersey leads the nation. Continue Reading

The Politics of Shaming

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

I am often asked by fellow conservatives about my experience with Governor Chris Christie as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey in 2014. When I reply that Gov. Christie and his team, after remaining scrupulously neutral during a tightly contested four-way primary, were very helpful to my campaign in terms of fund-raising and party unity, doing all that could reasonably be expected in my uphill general election campaign against Sen. Cory Booker, the predominant reaction is surprise verging in some cases on disbelief.

No doubt some of the surprise traces to the unusual circumstances of my Senate race. In February 2014, I returned to New Jersey at the age of 70 after spending the previous 32 years as a resident of northern Virginia, rented an apartment in my previous hometown of Leonia in northeastern New Jersey, and announced I was running against Sen. Booker as an opponent of the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy and as an advocate of returning the United States to the gold standard. (I did this because after four frustrating years working full time on monetary policy at the American Principles Project, it hit me that if I didn’t try to introduce Fed policy and gold into political debate, no one else would.)

In addition to the solid help I received from the governor in his role as leader of the New Jersey Republican party, I needed one other important thing: a decision by him not to attack or question my support for the gold standard.

Continue Reading

Voters Want Fighters, Not Appeasers, on Common Core

From left: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Heidi Huber — founder of Parents Against the Common Core and Ohioans Against Common Core — is running for the Ohio House of Representatives. In a dramatic showdown, she is challenging incumbent Rep. Tom Brinkman (27thDistrict), whom she originally helped elect, for reneging on his campaign promise to fight for the repeal of Common Core.

In a recent interview for the Cincinnati Examiner, Brinkman dismissed Huber’s complaints, “Huber doesn’t understand how things work in Columbus and killing Common Core isn’t an overnight process.” Brinkman argues that he has done everything he can to stop Common Core, including authoring a bill to repeal it.

However, those fighting Common Core understand that simply authoring legislation to repeal it will not get the job done. As Huber stated to the Cincinnati Examiner, “There’s more to it than slapping your name on [a bill].” Common Core opponents across the country couldn’t agree more.

Fellow Common Core warrior, Heather Crossin of Hoosiers Against Common Core, supports Huber’s criticism of Brinkman: “It takes more than a promise and a half-hearted effort to get legislation passed to repeal the Common Core. It takes real leadership and dedication, which Brinkman apparently doesn’t have.”

Authoring a bill but failing to back it with a fight is the greatest betrayal by a politician. To promise to stand at the battle line and lead the fight — to be the hero in the legislature — creates dependency in a movement. Continue Reading

Establishment Gov. Chris Christie Just Made a Huge Endorsement. Guess Who?

Remember when Donald Trump was having a bad news cycle? Not anymore.

Trump just held a public news conference in Texas with Gov. Chris Christie at his side to announce that Christie would be endorsing Trump.

Christie on Trump: “He is rewriting the playbook of American politics.”

This may be the biggest endorsement Trump has received so far. We’ll continue to follow this developing story.

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Trump Says He Invented Common Sense Conservatism

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump, in defending his record as a conservative, told Sean Hannity, “[Y]ou mentioned the word conservative. I like to say I’m a conservative with common sense or I’m a common sense conservative. And it’s a term nobody’s ever heard of because I just came up with it about two days ago because some of these things that these people come up with are crazy.”

Nobody ever heard of it, except maybe Chris Christie who described himself that way in 2014.

Or the folks running this website, The Commonsense Conservative, which appears to have been started by a guy who is now on Ben Carson’s social media team.

Or this group of bloggers that launched another website, The Common Sense Conservative, right before the 2008 elections.

There is even a Wikipedia page about the use of the related “Common Sense Revolution” to describe fiscal conservatives who want to lower taxes abroad.

Then there is John Kasich describing himself as a “common sense conservative” in the days before the South Carolina vote.

Look, it’s minutia I know, and to the extent anyone notices Trump thinks he made up a phrase in common use among conservative politicians, it only serves to underscore his central truthful narrative: he’s been outside politics, including the conservative movement.

I don’t think we have a clue what kind of president Trump will be. For some people, that’s a problem. For others, it is a recommendation.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

N.H. Says Take Your Pick: Angry Populist or Angry Socialist?

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

So complete has the Washington political culture of both parties bred a climate that favors insider power structure and cronyism (both corporate and political), that it’s no longer able to hide it behind smooth talk and show votes. It’s official: the Emperor has no clothes. The American electorate is angry, and their anger erupted into a full-on tantrum in New Hampshire last night.

While the good people of New Hampshire have flipped a middle finger to Washington, D.C., they’ve also presented a stark choice to their fellow Americans. Their message? “We’re so mad right now, we only see a choice between an angry populist and an angry socialist. So there. Chew on that.”

So complete were their victories (no, Trump didn’t underperform as I’d anticipated), first time voters flocked to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Note this CBS News summary:

First-time voters made up only a small percentage of the electorate Tuesday night – 15 percent on the Republican side (in comparison with 12 percent in 2012) and 17 percent on the Democratic side (down from 19 percent in 2008).

In both cases, however, the first timers went with the winners. Among the Republicans, Trump won 36 percent of these voters, Kasich came in second with 19 percent, and Cruz came in third with 12 percent. On the Democratic side, almost eight in 10 first-time voters supported Sanders.

As the primary season shifts southward, will anger subside and reason prevail? Continue Reading

Christie Drops Out, Trump Remains King of Mean

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Having delivered the blow that knocked Marco Rubio down to fifth in New Hampshire, Chris Christie has just announced he’s leaving the race.

That leaves the establishment lane down to 3: Rubio, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush, with little clear reason for rallying around any one or dropping out.

Christie’s rhetorical blow made Rubio look weak, but it made Christie look blustering and mean — and those voters looking for an un-Trump moved elsewhere.

Chris Christie: a very good governor for a very sick blue state. Farewell.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading