Six Lessons from Donald Trump’s Great Victory

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Congratulations, President-elect Trump. Congratulations to the historic, never-before-seen governing majority he assembled. It’s time to hope I was wrong and work for President Trump’s success — for America’s success.

Here are my first six takeaways from last night’s historic victory:

1.) The RNC’s “Autopsy” from 2012 got it exactly wrong in arguing the key to victory was less social conservatism and more of the standard GOP economic message. One key to Trump’s victory was to combine social conservatism with a new populist economic message. White evangelicals voted for him in record, never-before-seen numbers: 81 percent to 16 percent according to exit polls. That tops George W. Bush’s record of 78 percent in 2004.

2.) Latinos were the dog that didn’t bark. Build a wall, chastise Mexican immigrants as rapists, threaten to deport illegals — despite Trump’s often unusually harsh tone, he actually gained slightly more of the Latino vote than Romney did, 29 percent versus 27 percent. In Florida, he won 33 percent of the Latino vote. Apparently, Hispanic voters care less about immigration than elites think they should.

3.) The biggest loser last night was the donor class. According to, Trump raised $250 million — less than half of the $687 million Clinton raised.  Trump demonstrated that you can lose the money primary and still win the election. Television is no longer king. This is a huge opportunity for social conservatives in particular; as donors recognize giving to super PACs is just padding the pockets of consultants who make money whether they win or lose, they are going to be looking for new more effective political vehicles. Continue Reading

No, Gov. Richardson, Common Core Does Not Help Hispanic Students

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson apparently didn’t get the email from the Democratic National Committee warning its mouthpieces to avoid the “political third rail” of Common Core. In the Give Us a Break Department, Richardson has accused parents who object to the grossly deficient national standards for being motivated by hatred toward Hispanics. Don’t ask for an explication of Richardson’s logic, because there is none. Maybe he’s offering an English language arts lesson in the use of the non sequitur.

Richardson preaches that if you like Hispanic children, you must support Common Core, because Hispanic parents want high academic standards. As evidence that Common Core comprises high academic standards, Richardson offers . . . well, nothing. He merely copies and pastes the Common Core talking points that were last revised about five years ago: “[The Common Core] standards equip students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential to success in the 21st century economy.” Critical thinking, problem-solving skills, 21st-century economy — no buzzword left behind.

The problem with his “argument,” of course, is that it has been dismantled molecule by molecule to the point that almost no intellectually honest person, at least one without a graduate degree in education, still makes it. Combine the admission of the Common Core drafters (that it’s designed to prepare students only for non-selective community colleges), with the deadly critiques of the most prominent standards experts in the nation (that it’s a “gigantic fraud” being perpetrated on American families), and there is nothing left of Richardson’s claims. Continue Reading

Can Trump Win Over Latinos? (VIDEO)

Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project and a respected conservative political strategist with over 30 years of experience.

Well, Trump is not doing very well [with Latinos]. The reports come out: ‘Trump 39 percent behind Hillary Clinton.’ But most of the polls I’ve looked at show that Trump is doing 8 to 10 points better among minorities than Romney did against Barack Obama and that the number he’s at with Latinos now — recent polls have it somewhere low 60’s to mid 20’s and actually give Trump an ability to get into the 30’s with Latinos.

And I think that what people dismiss is the idea with Latinos that immigration is their fourth or fifth highest priority, and their biggest priority, as with most Americans, is economic growth and economic development for themselves and their community. And I think that Trump has an ability to appeal to these voters in a way that other Republican candidates who are much more Wall Street- and business-oriented did not. And I think that Trump can get into the 30’s with Latinos, which would be a significant difference from the last election cycle.

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The Media ‘Forgot’ To Report Something Really Important From Iowa

Hey, uh, mainstream media folks? You forgot to mention something in your coverage Monday night.

Ted Cruz is the first Hispanic-American to ever win the Iowa Caucus. And not only that, he is the first Hispanic-American to win any presidential primary – for any party – ever. And it was the religious right that pushed him to victory.

51 percent of Iowa caucus-goers – some of the whitest voters in the country – voted for Latino candidates. Cruz received 28 percent of the vote, while Marco Rubio placed third with 23 percent.

Three of the top four finishing Republican candidates were minorities – Dr. Ben Carson placed 4th with 9 percent of the vote.

And again, I can’t emphasize this enough – Iowa is white. Like, really, really white.

This is a big story. One might even call it “yuge.”

But the mainstream media generally remained silent. Outside scant mentions at Fox News Latino and NBC News, the historic nature of Cruz’s victory was glossed over. Instead of reporting on the importance of Cruz’s victory – to Hispanics, to the Republican Party, and to the country as a whole – the media focused instead on white people – namely, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.


Read the full article at The Daily Caller.

Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Ben Carson Endorses Statehood for Puerto Rico

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Sunday during the “Building a New Puerto Rico” 2nd Statehood Assembly in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, current Republican presidential front runner Dr. Ben Carson endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico.

“Mis hermanos Americanos, my campaign is built around the premise of We the People and through such lens I view the statehood question in Puerto Rico as settled. In 2012, the citizens of Puerto Rico strongly supported changing their status from a Commonwealth to becoming the 51st state. The results of this referendum couldn’t be clearer and now is the time for Congress to support the millions of Puerto Ricans living both in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. Mainland, in their legitimate fight to become a state,” Carson said.

“I stand with our American brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico in unequivocal support of Statehood for Puerto Rico and call on Congress to address this issue immediately,” Carson added. “In a Carson administration, I will leave no stone unturned in my efforts to secure this important step in Puerto Rico’s history—establishing Estado 51.”

Carson joins U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who have also called for Puerto Rican statehood among a Republican field that has otherwise been quiet on the subject.

With a growing Puerto Rican voting block in central Florida, this issue will be vitally important for a candidate to have an edge going into the Florida primary.

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

Lindsey Graham to Paul Ryan: “Take a Stand” on Immigration

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (photo credit: Department of Defense via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Senator Lindsey Graham aired his frustration with Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday, targeting Ryan’s promise not to push immigration reform until after President Obama leaves office:

“Forget about working with Obama, just take up the bill and vote,” said Graham, pointing out that he’s helped craft three different comprehensive immigration reform bills that have passed the Senate with bipartisan support only to die in the House. “If you don’t like the Senate bill change it, but at least vote. Take a stand.”

Ryan’s promise to avoid immigration reform until 2017 stems from conservative backlash to Obama’s executive actions preventing the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.  Earlier this week, Ryan said Obama has “proven himself untrustworthy” on the issue.  Graham sympathized, saying Ryan is “very good as an individual” on immigration, but went on to say he thinks this is a bad move that could hurt Republicans in 2016:

“Absolutely I’m frustrated,” he said. “It’s wrong for the House not to take a position on immigration. I think it hurts our party,” he said.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Latino Leaders Slam Trump and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Hamsphire (photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Yesterday afternoon in Boulder, Colo., the site of tonight’s debate, a group of Latino leaders, including Alfonso Aguilar, Director of American Principle Project’s Latino Partnership and occasional contributor to The Pulse 2016, held a press conference. Aguilar stressed the idea that immigration is a “gateway issue” for the GOP to reach Hispanic voters, Aguilar said:

If Republicans cannot be constructive on the issue of immigration, Latino voters will not listen to our candidates when they address other issues — issues where the majority of Latino voters agree with us!

Additionally, the group of leaders warned GOP candidates to avoid discussing the issue of immigration with Trump-like rhetoric. Aguilar told the assembled press:

We are saying very clearly to the other candidates — don’t embrace the language of Mr. Trump. Stay away from those proposals that are bad policy that don’t reflect the best aspirations of our country. Immigration creates economic growth. Immigrants come into the country, expand the consumer base, increase economic activity, and help create better paying jobs for Americans. So for those who say immigration hurts the middle class — well, they’re wrong. If we want robust economic growth — over 4 percent economic growth, not this so-called ‘new normal’ — if we want better jobs for the American middle class, then we should be for immigration.

While Trump was the only candidate mentioned by name, and his inflammatory rhetoric was at the heart of the issue, the other candidates were issued a clear warning by Aguilar:

So to the candidates: we are monitoring what you say.

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“The Kelly File” Covers Latino Backlash Against Trump, Cruz

Alfonso Aguilar, the director of APP’s Latino Partnership and occasional contributor to The Pulse 2016, joined Megyn Kelly to talk about this week’s gathering of Latino activists in Boulder, Colo., and how it will shape the Republican primary.  Aguilar called immigration a “gateway issue” for the Latino community and said that while there is a “big difference” between the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, neither is doing what’s necessary to win the Latino vote in 2016.  You can watch the full interview and read the transcript below:

MEGYN KELLY: Joining me now is Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership. Plus, Chris Salcedo, he’s the executive director for the Conservative Hispanic Society.

Great to see you both. Thank you very much for being here. So Mr. Trump is going to be under the microscope as I understand it, along with Ted Cruz. And the question is, what, if any, issues do you have with these two gentlemen. Start with you, Alfonso.

ALFONSO AGUILAR, AMERICAN PRINCIPLES PROJECT: Well, I think we’re going to look at all of the candidates. We want to look at the entire GOP field and see what they’re talking about in not only terms of immigration but all the issues. For Hispanics, immigration is an important issue.  It’s not the number one issue. It’s a significant issue. A gateway issue to get into the Latino community. If a republican candidate doesn’t deal with immigration in a constructive way —

KELLY: OK. But is it an open minded thing?

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Rubio: Trump’s Immigration Rhetoric Is “Absurd”

Marco Rubio challenged Donald Trump on Sunday for his position on immigration, saying that Trump is a flip-flopper on the issue who has changed his position over the past six months.  He also targeted Trump’s new position as “absurd”:

“His rhetoric is a little louder, but if you think about his position on immigration six months ago, his position on immigration six months ago is nothing like his position on immigration now. Even what he’s saying now borders on the absurd,” Rubio said.

“It’s just Donald being Donald,” he added to dismiss Trump’s position.

Among other things, Trump has called for the deportation of every single person who came into the US illegally, saying he would let the “wonderful cases” back into the country. Trump has also called for a massive wall — he suggested this weekend that it could be 40- or 50- feet high — and for Mexico to pay for it.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Hispanic Conservatives Plan Historic Meeting to Respond to Trump, Cruz

I suppose it was inevitable: the anti-immigrant remarks that have come to characterize the campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have finally provoked a backlash among Hispanic Republicans.  Next week, nearly two dozen of America’s top Hispanic conservative activists, including The Pulse 2016 contributor Alfonso Aguilar, will gather in Boulder, Colo., where they will have strong words for the Republican field:

The activists plan to meet on Oct. 27 in Boulder, Colo., the day before GOP presidential candidates meet in the same city for a debate hosted by CNBC. Plans for the “unprecedented gathering” have been in the works for several weeks, according to organizers, who shared the details first with The Washington Post.

Attendees will be “the people and organizations the RNC and GOP campaigns count on to engage the Latino electorate,” said Alfonso Aguilar, head of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership and a lead organizer of the meeting. “We’ll discuss the tone of the primary, comments about the Hispanic community and some of the immigration proposals that have been made.”

This won’t just be policy discussion, however.  The activists will also be identifying candidates who have gone so far off the reservation that they’re beyond salvaging in the general.  In short, they’re preparing a “un-endorsement list”:

After the meeting, the group plans to hold a news conference to “identify several candidates that will not have our support and who we are certain that if they become the GOP nominee will not get enough Latino voter support to win the general election,” Aguilar said.

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