There’s a Big GOP Convention Fight Brewing — And It Doesn’t Involve Trump

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The debate over who will be the GOP presidential nominee is not the only battle Republicans will face at their national convention this summer. A divisive fight is developing on whether or not to include the issue of gay marriage on the official party platform in 2016.

The issue of gay marriage has been a contentious one in 2016, and it is now an issue that splits the business and evangelical wings of the Republican Party. This fact has never been more evident, as behind the scenes top GOP donors are raising money and support to remove the issue of gay marriage from the party platform at the 2016 convention in July.

Paul Singer, billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Elliot Management Corporation, founded the American Unity PAC in 2012 to back pro-gay marriage Republicans in congressional races. The PAC became a new way for donors looking to protect Republicans friendly to gay rights, serving as a countermeasure to anti-gay marriage groups such as the National Organization for Marriage.

Now with the American Unity Fund, the non-profit arm of the PAC, Singer and other powerhouse GOP donors are calling for the GOP to change its stance on marriage and other social issues that were a center of the party’s 2012 platform.

Social conservatives, however, are not ready to compromise.

Former presidential candidate and Governor Mike Huckabee responded to reports that some Republicans were lobbying for tolerance of gay marriage on the party’s 2016 platform, calling it disastrous. Continue Reading

The Forgotten Story: How Common Core Changed the Race in Iowa

Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR)

Now that Iowa caucus-goers have spoken, lost in the discussion of Donald Trump’s underperformance, Ted Cruz’s ground game and Marco Rubio’s surge is an acknowledgement of one issue that separated the top Iowa finishers from (as Trump would say) the “losers.” That issue is Common Core.

Cruz and Rubio have long been on record as opposing the national standards. Trump has relentlessly raised the issue ever since he entered the race. As the Iowa campaign came down to the wire, Trump released a Common Core-specific ad, and Rubio began devoting more and more time in his stump speech to the issue (although his record on child privacy is problematic, something on which other candidates have not honed in). Apparently, these gentlemen recognized what the base was upset about — and Common Core is high on the list. All three garnered significantly more votes than the winner in the 2012 contest. (See the 2012 results and the 2016 results.) They each received over 40,000 votes. The winner in 2012 received 29,839 votes.

The voters overwhelmingly rejected Common Core proponents. Jeb Bush and John Kasich received 5,238 and 3,474 votes, respectively. Bush, of course, was appropriately branded as pro-Common Core from Day One and wasn’t salvageable even by his bulging war chest. Kasich still loves Common Core and drips with disdain for anyone who disagrees.

Next up are those candidates who once supported Common Core but then had campaign conversions. They were never able to justify why they had so blindly supported such a bad product. Continue Reading

Iowa Caucus 2016: Winners and Losers

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Wow, what an incredible night! Now that the votes have been tallied in Iowa, it’s time to take a look at tonight’s winners and losers.

Winner: Ted Cruz

This one ought to be obvious. Despite running slightly behind Donald Trump in most polls heading into Caucus night, Ted Cruz delivered a decisive victory, likely due to a strong ground game advantage (which Terry drew attention to earlier today). Although Cruz is unlikely to win in New Hampshire, a state whose demographics favor a more moderate candidate, Cruz’s Iowa win should give him much needed momentum headed into the South Carolina and SEC primaries.

Loser: Donald Trump

Sure, no one expected Trump to dominate Iowa. But given his slight polling advantage leading into tonight, most election-watchers expected Trump to at least keep the race close with Cruz. As the Caucus played out, however, Trump never really came close, despite a record turnout which many suspected would have bolstered his chances, given the significant support he was drawing from first-time caucus-goers. Nevertheless, when voting time came, Trump did not live up to the hype. That does not bode well for him moving forward.

Winner: Marco Rubio

We speculated today that Marco Rubio might be headed for a better than expected finish in Iowa due to a late surge. However, only the most optimistic of Rubio-backers could have predicted the Florida senator performing as well as he did tonight. Rubio outperformed his RCP polling average in Iowa by a whopping six points, moving him to within one point of Trump in the final vote tally. Continue Reading

Here’s How Iowa Will Play Out…

Wow. It’s already here. The Iowa Caucus is tomorrow.

Here’s a candidate-by-candidate review of what could happen, what should happen, and what will happen after the votes are tallied:

Donald Trump

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 1st place finish (35 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Losing to Ted Cruz and finishing second.

Trump currently leads the polls in Iowa, but will polls translate to the ballot box? We honestly have no clue, but we should certainly have a better idea after Tuesday.

Regardless of what happens in Iowa, Trump is here to stay. Losing Iowa will not end his candidacy — not when he’s leading literally everywhere else.

  • PREDICTION: Donald Trump wins Iowa by a slim margin over Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 1st place finish (35 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Losing to Donald Trump and finishing second.

Ted Cruz is in a very different position than Donald Trump. While Trump would like to win Iowa, it’s not as crucial for him — even if Cruz wins Iowa, Trump will still be seen as the de facto front runner. But Cruz needs Iowa to help him breakout as a viable candidate. If he fails to win Iowa, it’s hard to see his path to victory — could he win New Hampshire? South Carolina? Seems unlikely.

  • PREDICTION: Cruz finishes a close second, spins it as a victory, and stays in the race.

Marco Rubio

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 3rd place finish (20 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Finishing 4th or worse, especially behind Christie or Bush.
Continue Reading

March for Life Draws Varied Reactions from Candidates

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the 43rd Annual March for Life (photo credit: Aleteia Image Department via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hundreds of thousands attended the March for Life in Washington this past Friday on 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The only GOP candidate that spoke at the event, Carly Fiorina, said in her speech that “this election is a fight for the character of our nation” and that she was “prepared to stand for life.”

The Blaze reported that before her speech at the March for Life on Friday, Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst said that Republican front runner Donald Trump and other presidential candidates should tell voters where they stand on Roe v. Wade.

So here they are:

Marco Rubio tweeted:

Ben Carson tweeted:

Jeb Bush tweeted:

In an op-ed for Washington Examiner published the next day, Donald Trump wrote: “Let me be clear — I am pro-life. I support that position with exceptions allowed for rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk. I did not always hold this position, but I had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me.”

Mike Huckabee tweeted:

Continue Reading

Huckabee’s Failed Attack on Cruz

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mike Huckabee has been a profound and stalwart leader for traditional values, along with Rick Santorum.

But his latest attack on Ted Cruz is a big FAIL:

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee joined the growing number of Republicans criticizing rival Ted Cruz by attacking him for meeting with gay businessmen despite being a staunch opponent of gay marriage.

Huckabee on Wednesday tweeted a link to a New York Times article about the meeting, saying “I’ll never play political games with my faith.”

“We shouldn’t say one thing for votes, and another for NYC money,” he added.

The story, published in April 2015, describes how two prominent gay hotel owners hosted Cruz for a meet and greet in their New York City penthouse.

According to the article, Cruz softened his tone during the event in order to court the more moderate Republicans, saying he wouldn’t love his daughters any less if they were gay and that he believed marriage laws should be determined by the states.

First thing, Cruz didn’t say one thing in two different places. He has always attacked the Supreme Court decision and said Iowa should have the right to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Secondly, I am pretty sure Mike Huckabee agrees: if your children announce to you they are gay, our love should be unconditional.

That includes explaining to our own kids why we disagree, or how if they think they are same-sex attracted they should respond. Continue Reading

Did Mike Huckabee Really Say This?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Here’s my take on Mike Huckabee’s recent comments on evangelical leaders over at Caffeinated Thoughts:

Buzzfeed reported on an interview that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had with Todd Starnes on Fox News Radio.

Starnes asked him if he felt betrayed by evangelical leaders and evangelical organizations as they seem to have gravitated toward U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) or U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

How Huckabee responded is absolutely shocking.

“Well, certainly a sense of disappointment, and yet I do understand because, as I’ve often said, ‘I don’t go to them, I come from them,’ but because of that I do understand them,” Huckabee said. “A lot of them, quite frankly, I think they’re scared to death that if a guy like me got elected, I would actually do what I said I would do, and that is, I would focus on the personhood of every individual. We would abolish abortion based on the Fifth and 14th Amendment. We would ignore the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision.”

He continued stating that a Huckabee presidency would hamper their fundraising.

“A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions, and I know that sounds cynical but, Todd, it’s just, it is what it is,” Huckabee said.

Continue Reading

Huckabee: Moral Courage Comes With a Price

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mike Huckabee appeared on a podcast with Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes this week, where he was asked by Starnes about his inability to win the backing of many evangelical groups during his 2016 run. You can read the transcript of Huckabee’s comments below:

STARNES: Did you anticipate getting the backing early on of those evangelical conservative leaders?

HUCKABEE: Well, quite frankly, of course I hoped for it and never took it for granted, but I’ve also lived and swam in this evangelical soup long enough to know that it’s not always very predictable because it’s not always about the principles and the convictions sometimes. It’s about really more of self-preservation for the organizations. And I hate to be so blunt, but quite frankly I’ve seen this before, where they went with not the person who best represented their views, their values, or a commitment to their causes, but they went in the area of convenience and who they thought might win. And I remember back in ’08, there were several major evangelicals who said, ‘Well, I think you’re a better fit for us politically. We believe you would fight for our cause. But we think candidate X is going to win’ – in many cases they thought it was Romney – and they said ‘We just want to make sure we have a seat at the table.’ So having a seat at the table, they thought, was more important than actually owning the table.

Continue Reading

Huckabee Contends Iowa Is Up For Grabs

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

(Urbandale, IA) Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee stopped by the Machine Shed Restaurant in Urbandale for a campaign stop on Sunday afternoon. This stop was one of many being made in Iowa this week and through the month of January as the Huckabee campaign launched an aggressive 150 event schedule in the final weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucus.

Huckabee, citing an internal poll his campaign took of 5000 Iowans, stated that 75% have yet to make up their minds.

He spent 45 minutes in a town hall style meeting hosted by the Bull Moose Club giving brief remarks and taking questions from those in attendance.  The attendees included college students from Louisiana State University in Baton Rogue, LA and Principia College in Illinois.


You can watch his remarks and read the full story at Caffeinated Thoughts.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

Mike Huckabee’s Moral Clarity

Mike Huckabee’s super PAC is launching a half million dollar ad buy in Iowa for a new 30 second spot, “Moral Clarity.” Its black and white cinematography reminds Iowa voters that he is a man they can trust on life, marriage, and religious liberty — all true.  He comes from Hope, Arkansas, to offer new hope to Iowans based on biblical values:

Less attractively, the Huckabee super PAC is allying with the Branstad coalition in Iowa to make ethanol subsidies the key to the next President of the United States and to echo Marco Rubio’s attack on Ted Cruz on immigration.

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