Former Candidates Start to Coalesce Behind Trump

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

With the Republican primary race all but over, GOP leaders are slowly beginning to unite behind the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. This includes three of his former rivals for the nomination.

Just days following Trump’s significant victory in the Indiana primary, former candidates Scott Walker and Rick Perry announced they would be backing Trump in this year’s presidential election. Walker framed his support as a fulfilling of his pledge last August to support the Republican nominee and stated that he thinks Trump “is clearly better than Hillary Clinton for a variety of reasons.” Perry was even more complimentary, stating that Trump “is one of the most talented people who has ever run for the president I have ever seen,” and promising that he would help in any way he could.

Then, over the weekend, Bobby Jindal joined the fray, declaring in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “I’m Voting Trump, Warts and All”:

Some of my fellow Republicans have declared they will never, under any circumstances, vote for Donald Trump. They are pessimistic about the party’s chances in November and seem more motivated by long-term considerations. They think devotion to the “anybody but Trump” movement is a principled and courageous stance that will help preserve a remnant of the conservative movement and its credibility, which can then serve as a foundation for renewal.

I sympathize with this perspective, but I am planning to vote for Donald Trump. Why? Because the stakes for my country, not merely my party, are simply too high.

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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

BREAKING: Bobby Jindal Suspends Campaign

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Sorry Shane, but it appears Bobby Jindal won’t be able to complete his comeback in Iowa.  Multiple media sources are reporting that Jindal has made the decision to suspend his campaign.

In a post made to his Facebook page this afternoon, Jindal thanked his supporters and highlighted the urgent need to address the issues of growing the economy and defeating radical Islam:

When I was born, we lived in student housing at LSU, and never in their wildest dreams did they think their son would have the opportunity to serve as Governor of Louisiana or to run for President.

They raised me to believe Americans can do anything, and they were right, we can. But this is not my time, so I am suspending my campaign for President.

Going forward, I believe we have to be the party of growth and we can never stop being the party that believes in opportunity. We cannot settle for The Left’s view of envy and division. We have to be the party that says everyone in this country – no matter the circumstances of their birth or who their parents are – can succeed in America.

One of the things I will do is go back to work at the think tank I started a few years ago – where I will be outlining a blueprint for making this the American century.

We must show the way forward on growing our economy and winning the war against terror, and especially defeating radical Islam.

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Don’t Count Jindal Out

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Alex Hanson of The Iowa State Daily said not to count Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal out as the 2016 Iowa Caucuses are three months away.

He writes:

Don’t count out Bobby Jindal.

The Louisiana governor said recent polls showing him neck-and-neck with top-tier candidates such as Jeb Bush is a result of his ground game in Iowa — visiting all 99 counties before February’s Iowa Caucus.

In a phone interview Friday afternoon with the Iowa State Daily, Jindal said his campaign deliberately made Iowa a focus, thus many events with caucus-goers is resulting in growing support statewide.

I’m not counting him out, which is why I co-wrote a joint personal endorsement of Jindal with Brian Myers at Caffeinated Thoughts this month. I understand for those fixated on national polling it doesn’t make much sense, but I’ve said before and I’ll say again the national polls are meaningless. The first vote that matters is Iowa, and while we have a very talented pool of candidates this year, there is one that I feel embodies the conservative principles I hold dear and who has a proven record.

I’m reposting the endorsement published at Caffeinated Thoughts on November 6th:

President Barack Obama kept his promise eight years ago that he would fundamentally transform America. He certainly has, but not for the better. Our national debt has skyrocketed. Our Constitution has been largely ignored, and our nation has become a nation governed by rule and court opinion rather than by law.

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Jindal: What If All 34 Republican Governors Defunded Planned Parenthood?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

(Des Moines, IA) Last week during an event for evangelicals and social conservatives hosted by American Renewal Project, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal encouraged his fellow Republican governors to defund Planned Parenthood.

After the launch of a series of devastating videos linking Planned Parenthood to the sale of body parts from babies that have been aborted in their facilities, Jindal ordered an investigation into the organization’s programs in his state.

Currently Planned Parenthood does not operate abortion clinics in Louisiana but had Medicaid contracts to provide women’s health screenings, etc.

Jindal canceled the contracts which prompted a lawsuit. A federal judge ordered the contracts reinstated and the Jindal administration is currently appealing that decision.

Currently five other states have followed Jindal’s lead: Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Texas and Utah.

Currently Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, has refused to defund Planned Parenthood saying he doesn’t have the legal authority to do so. Branstad, during a gubernatorial debate in 2010, said that he would defund Planned Parenthood.

He has been unwilling to keep his promise.

Jindal had sent Branstad a letter encouraging him to do so, and in response to a question from the audience during the American Renewal Project he encouraged all Republican governors to follow his lead.

Bob Eschliman at Charisma News reports:

Jindal didn’t attack Branstad over the difference of opinion, but did encourage participants to engage their governors. He said it is true that Planned Parenthood would likely sue, and engage in false-information and smear campaigns to put pressure on those governors, but also suggested there is greater strength in solidarity on the life issue.

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New Iowa Poll: Is Cruz Stealing Away Carson Supporters?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Maggie, it might be a tad premature to be announcing Ben Carson as the GOP’s new front runner.

A new PPP Iowa poll released yesterday—the first post-CNBC debate Iowa poll—shows Donald Trump and Carson in a statistical dead heat, with 22 percent and 21 percent support, respectively.  This is the first major poll showing Trump with even the slightest lead in Iowa since late September.

Meanwhile, the big mover in Iowa since the debate appears to be Ted Cruz.  Following his stellar performance last week, Cruz has moved up to third in the PPP poll with 14 percent, the largest number he’s had in any major Iowa poll since he joined the race.  Marco Rubio was the only other candidate to crack double digits, with 10 percent.

Cruz’s rise seems to be coming at the expense of Carson.  Although some (including Cruz himself) expected the Texas Senator to eventually siphon support from Trump, the Cruz campaign’s focus on social issues, particularly religious liberty, as well as other issues of strong importance to Evangelicals has aligned more closely with Carson.  And as a recent Wall Street Journal article points out, Carson has been drawing much of his support from “values voters” and very conservative Republicans, while Trump’s support has come more from voters who describe themselves as fiscal conservatives or moderate/liberal Republicans.  Therefore, it would seem reasonable to conclude that Cruz’s surge and Carson’s slump are related, since both candidates are courting the same group of voters. Continue Reading

Jindal, Huckabee and Santorum to Address Social Conservatives in Iowa

From left: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum are all confirmed speakers at next week’s Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum will speak at the 2nd Annual Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing being held in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

The Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing is the annual fall public policy and worldview conference for social conservatives hosted by in Iowa.  American Principles Project is co-sponsoring the event for the second time.

The briefing will provide both novice and seasoned activists with the information and resources they need to help make a difference in Des Moines and in Washington, D.C.

Topics of the conference will include:

  • Parental Choice Is True Educational Freedom
  • The New Ethics in Health Care
  • The Real War on Women
  • Advocating For the Persecuted Church
  • Judicial Tyranny: Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Return America To Its Biblical and Historical Foundations That Made It Exceptional
  • Fire the Washington Establishment
  • Returning Power to the People
  • Overcoming Barriers To Effective Advocacy

The confirmed speakers for the Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing include:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
  • Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  • Pastor Rafael Cruz – Father of Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz
  • Lee Heib, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon and 2014 Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate
  • Shane Vander Hart – Founder of, co-host of Caffeinated Thoughts Radio
  • Michael Farris – Home School Legal Defense Association
  • Faith McDonnell – Institute on Religion & Democracy
  • Brian Myers – Senior Contributor, co-host of Caffeinated Thoughts Radio
  • Utah State Rep.
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Campaign 2016 by the Numbers: Carson, Cruz Shock Everyone

Third quarter fundraising reports are in, and we have the numbers for you.

As we said last week when these fundraising numbers first started trickling in, these numbers do matter — fundraising allows candidates to buy air time, hire staff, and get people to the polls. It’s impossible to win without money.

Here’s the GOP primary as it stands by the numbers:

Ben Carson

  • 3rd Quarter: $20.8 million raised (1st)
  • Cash on hand: $11.2 million (2nd)
  • RealClearPolitics (RCP) Polling Average: 19.0% (2nd)

Carson should be very satisfied with his position right now. He’s raising a lot of money, mostly from small-dollar donors, and he’s very close to Trump in the polls. He is showing no signs of fading, despite the liberal media’s transparent effort to take him out.

Jeb Bush

  • 3rd Quarter: $13.4 million raised (2nd)
  • Cash on hand: $10.3 million (4th)
  • RCP Polling Average: 7.3% (6th)

Bush is in a decent position, but it’s hard not to expect more from the perceived establishment front-runner. But don’t forget — Bush’s Super PAC, Right to Rise, has raised more than $100 million to date. He’s in good shape financially.

Ted Cruz

  • 3rd Quarter: $12.2 million raised (3rd)
  • Cash on hand: $13.5 million (1st)
  • RCP Polling Average: 7.3% (5th)

Cruz has the most cash on hand out of any candidate in the field, and he did an excellent job at fundraising in the third quarter. Cruz may be the GOP field’s ultimate dark horse.

Carly Fiorina

  • 3rd Quarter: $6.8 million raised (4th)
  • Cash on hand: $5.5 million (5th)
  • RCP Polling Average: 7.8% (4th)

Fiorina went from a fledgling candidate barely hitting 1 percent in the polls to a real powerhouse following her dominating performance in the second GOP debate. Continue Reading

Jindal and Santorum Deserve to Debate

The Washington Times reported that Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, believes that both Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum deserve a spot on October 28 on the CNBC debate stage.

“I think both of these guys probably deserve a spot on the debate stage,” Vander Plaats said.

I agree. As it stands, both do not meet the criteria, which requires a 2.5 percent national poll average in order to debate, and that is unfortunate.

The media attention is already focused on national polling front-runners, which further impacts polling, which impacts who can participate in the primetime debate, which impacts national polling, and you have a perpetual cycle which doesn’t help voters make a decision about candidates or expose them to lesser-known, quality candidates.

The focus on the national stage, rather than on early states, allows well-funded candidates and candidates with high name ID to campaign less and focus on sound bytes more. It bypasses the grassroots.

It becomes more about personalities and less about issues and policy. The types of questions asked during the last two debates did little to improve that.

Jindal in a released statement blasted the process:

Two weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that the criteria for participating in the upcoming RNC-sanctioned presidential debate do not take into account performance in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

No candidate for President has won the nomination of my party without winning in either Iowa or New Hampshire in the modern era, and I suspect that pattern will continue this year.

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Planned Parenthood Pushing Back Against Jindal Again

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Gov. Bobby Jindal is not giving up the fight to defund Planned Parenthood in Louisiana—but the abortion industry giant is pushing back again.

According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Jindal administration is attempting to terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract for breaking administrative rules.

“During the course of the state investigation into Planned Parenthood, it was discovered that Planned Parenthood is in violation of long-standing administrative rules applicable to Medicaid providers,” says the health department spokeswoman Olivia Watkins Hwang.

In August 2013, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and the Texas U.S. attorney’s office announced a $4.3 million civil settlement over allegations that Planned Parenthood had billed “government programs for services that weren’t medically necessary or that weren’t provided.”  Although Planned Parenthood never admitted being guilty of the allegations, Hwang says that Louisiana regulations “consider such a settlement agreement in violation of state Medicaid provider rules.”

And—big surprise—President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice to rush to Planned Parenthood’s aid, saying that Jindal’s administration hadn’t met the criteria in federal law for removing a Medicaid provider.  The DOJ and Planned Parenthood claim that Louisiana is only pushing this hard to defund Planned Parenthood since the release of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of aborted baby parts.

Jindal’s upward battle against Planned Parenthood continues…

Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action. Continue Reading