Tim Kaine Joins the Fray as Democrats Attack GOP on LGBT Issues

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) (Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Yesterday, The Pulse covered a shift in certain state-level Democrats’ campaign style toward a more aggressive stance on social issues. The left hopes to put incumbent conservatives on the defensive and set the tone for the election in terms favorable to their social agenda.

Now, Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine is joining in the attacks on GOP leaders like North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

“Now, I know in North Carolina, there’s been some pain over this issue. They snuck through in the legislature this HB 2, and they tried to introduce it kind of in the dead of night,” Kaine said. “You all have stood up in a major way and you’ve said this is not who we are. This is not who North Carolina is. These are not our values. And that’s one of the reasons why North Carolina is so intensely focused on this race.”

“We’ve just been making progress and overcoming our imperfections and becoming that more perfect union and one of the most recent battles that’s been really powerful is the battle for LGBT equality,” Kaine added. “It’s just been one more wall that we had to knock down to be all we can be.”

Of course, as has been stated elsewhere, Tim Kaine’s statements on social issues have been hypocritical and often incoherent. Upon a candid assessment of the man’s record, he has little ground to stand on when discussing these issues. Continue Reading

Democrats Renew Efforts to Push LGBT Agenda in State-Level Races

Democratic candidates for state-level offices across the country think they have found the wedge issue that will win them the election: the LGBT agenda.

Newsmax is reporting that Democrats in North Carolina and Indiana are targeting GOP lawmakers in tough campaigns by charging them with “bigotry.”

“An unprecedented number of North Carolinians are fed up with Gov. McCrory’s partisan political agenda, and voters are ready for a leader who will put the interests of all North Carolinians first,” North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said recently.

Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cooper has also repeatedly lambasted incumbent Governor Pat McCrory over North Carolina’s law regarding transgender bathroom access.

In Indiana, it is much the same story. Democratic candidate John Gregg is attacking Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb’s positions on social issues, tying him to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“You really can’t distinguish on paper between Holcomb and Pence. They both support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and discrimination against the LGBT community,” Gregg told The Wall Street Journal last week.

It is likely the Republican establishment response would be to implement a “truce strategy” of deflecting or ignoring the Democrats’ criticism. But instead of buckling to pressure from the social left and running away from social issues, Republican candidates like McCrory and Holcomb ought to fight to frame the debate in a way that favors their positions.

When Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were fighting to implement the U.S. Constitution in 1787, they were quick to claim the label “federalist” for themselves. Continue Reading

Clinton Campaign Knocks Trump and Pence for Social Issues Statements

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

On Hillary Clinton’s official campaign website, the Democrats are reviving an old line of attack: criticizing Republicans for their so-called “radical” positions on social issues.

A webpage on the Hillary for President official website titled “Donald Trump and Mike Pence literally said all of these outrageous things” seeks to catalogue “all of the ignorant, incoherent, and divisive things these two have said.”

However, the first three issues the website references — abortion, LGBT issues, and gay marriage — are each issues that the Trump campaign has largely tried to avoid. Indeed, in his keynote acceptance address last night, Trump made an explicit appeal to the LGBT community for their support, and he has otherwise mostly refrained from discussing these issues in recent weeks.

As for Pence, his record has sometimes shown a similar deference to the left on social issues. He particularly drew ire from conservatives for caving to big business interests and neutering the Indiana version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year.

Trump and Pence have both, at various points, seemed comfortable with the “truce strategy” articulated by some Republican leaders since the 2012 election — the idea that the GOP has to focus on economic and national security issues at the expense of social issues.

Clinton’s latest line of attack goes to show one of the fatal flaws of the truce strategy: Democrats aren’t interested in declaring a truce. They will continue to attack GOP candidates on issues like abortion and marriage, regardless of Republicans’ actual stances. Continue Reading

Florida Governor Betrays Conservative Principles with Obergefell Answer

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

In an interview on Tuesday evening sure to upset the conservative grassroots, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that the Republican Party needs to de-emphasize its opposition to the LGBT agenda.

“We need to figure out how to come together as a country and include the Republican Party,” Scott said. “We all need to come together,” adding, “It’s the law of the land.”

There are deep constitutional problems with Scott’s response.

Princeton professor and conservative intellectual Robert George has argued several times that surrendering to activist judges on cases like Roe v. Wade or Obergefell v. Hodges undermines constitutional government as understood by statesmen like the Founders and Abraham Lincoln.

In one article, George quoted Lincoln, who said “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments coequal and co-sovereign within themselves.”

The Supreme Court, like any other branch of government, can act unconstitutionally. Nine unelected elites in black robes sitting in a grand building have no greater legitimacy than the states or the Congress or the President.

When Governor Scott, or other Republican politicians who would rather ditch same-sex marriage as an issue, acknowledge Obergefell as the “law of the land,” they enable further disruption of the constitutional order the Founders so wisely designed.

The problems with Governor Scott’s position on Obergefell do not stop with there, however. Continue Reading

Why Republicans’ Surrender on Abortion Could Cost Them the Election . . . Again

From left: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

On the abortion issue, things could not have gone much better for Democrats in 2012.

Following Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s now infamous comments on “legitimate rape,” the Democratic Party and its pro-abortion allies went into attack mode, working to tie Akin’s words to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and down-ballot Republican candidates. The conventional Republican response was to retreat and change the subject, attempting to call a truce on the issue and focus on other topics. Romney even went so far as to run a TV ad that fall touting his support for abortions under certain exceptions and for contraception.

The result of the GOP’s “truce strategy” was a disaster. By avoiding talking about abortion and exclusively playing defense, Republicans allowed Democrats to control the narrative and brand the GOP position as “extreme” without an effective rebuttal. By surrendering rather than fighting, Romney and his fellow Republicans played right into the Democrats’ hands and significantly contributed to their own 2012 defeat.

And now, in 2016, the same story may be playing out all over again.

Republicans have already had another “Todd Akin moment”: Donald Trump’s remarks at a town hall last March that women obtaining abortions would have to face “some form of punishment” if abortion were to be banned. And Democrats and their allies have already pounced, using the comments as part of a campaign to once again brand Republicans as extreme. A few months ago, Planned Parenthood teamed up with a pro-Hillary super PAC to attack Trump for the remarks, and today, NARAL Pro-Choice America announced it would be launching ads targeting nine GOP senate candidates and using Trump’s words against them. Continue Reading

Is Calling a “Truce” on Abortion a Mistake? (VIDEO)

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

Well, I think there are two elements. One is the basic blowback you’ve seen from strong pro-lifers who wonder about the level of genuine commitment. And the second is that Hillary, [the GOP’s] opponent is as radical as possible on this issue. She wants it to be existent even in late term, which most Americans don’t believe abortion should be available. And she wants the government to pay for it, again something that most Americans don’t believe in. And there are constituencies that are out there, including Hispanics and independents and soft Democrats and soft Republicans, who would be motivated and engaged by speaking out on this issue, and I think Trump made a big mistake in not taking advantage of it.

Continue Reading

Donald Trump vs. Big Business: The GOP’s Civil War

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The US Chamber of Commerce is upset. For years, they have shaped Republican policy, spending millions of dollars trying to push the Republican Party towards a business-first economic message that seems incapable of talking about anything but “job creators.” The most special of special interests, the Chamber is by far the largest lobbying organization in the United States, generally backing “pro-business” Republicans who they think will fight for their goals above all else. They find social conservatism distasteful at best, and a liability to their supposedly winning economic message at worst — a message which has nevertheless struggled to secure any wins. In 2012, Mitt Romney was crippled by his inability to make economic appeals to anyone not already represented by the Chamber.

And now, in 2016, there’s Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee disagrees with the Chamber on nearly every issue. Worse still, he has spent his campaign railing against the lobbyist-owned Republican establishment the Chamber has spent millions over the years to create. Now, the Chamber spends its time live-tweeting critiques of Trump’s trade policy speeches, clearly miffed that the Republican nominee doesn’t ask for their edits beforehand.

The growing rift within the Republican Party is often blamed on the Tea Party, or on Trump, but it has existed for years, exacerbated by the Chamber’s influence. They are the reason many Republican elites fail to offer anything to the middle class except a vague suggestion that workers’ economic prospects might improve if only their bosses were richer. Continue Reading

The Real GOP Convention Battle to Watch for This Summer

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

Most Republicans have by now conceded that Donald Trump will be the named the nominee at the party’s convention in July. However, while the nomination fight may be over, other convention conflicts are just beginning.

The New York Times reports that conservative delegates to the convention are gearing up for yet another wave of attempts to water down the Republican Party platform, especially on social issues:

In an email sent Sunday to pro-Cruz convention delegates, a top aide to [Cruz] wrote that it was “still possible to advance a conservative agenda at the convention.”

“To do that, it is imperative that we fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices like yours,” wrote Ken Cuccinelli, who was the campaign’s former delegate wrangler and a former attorney general of Virginia. “That means you need to come to the national convention and support others in coming, too!”

Mr. Cruz is planning a Monday evening conference call where, as Mr. Cuccinelli writes, Mr. Cruz’s former officials plan to “discuss what we can do at the convention to protect against liberal changes to our platform, and how we can right the wrongs in the rules from 2012!”


“This is about protecting movement conservatism,” [Cuccinelli] said, pointing to party planks on abortion and saying the delegates should consider language regarding transgender bathroom access.

Although the article notes some are worried about attempts by Trump to change the party platform, given recent statements to that effect on abortion, the GOP’s presumptive nominee is far from the only — or perhaps even the largest — concern. Continue Reading

Meet the New Donald Trump?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Trump advisor Paul Manafort recently caused a stir after comments he made in a closed door meeting with Republican leaders were made public. Manafort suggested that Trump has been “projecting an image” for voters, and that he would be toning it down soon. Yet Manafort didn’t say anything that Trump hasn’t said before.

The idea that Trump would project a different image as president is nothing new. In January, Trump claimed, “When I’m President, I’m a different person. I can be the most politically correct person you’ve ever seen.” Furthermore, Trump has repeatedly cited his flexibility on policy as one of his strengths.

This isn’t, as a New York Times op-ed haughtily suggested today, a Manafort-driven correction of Lewandowski’s “Let Trump be Trump” strategy. Nor did Lewandowski’s strategy need to be corrected. Trump has been absolutely dominant in the race under that strategy. He’s also left himself in a strong negotiating position — one where it’s viewed as momentous that he, mirabile dictu, didn’t call Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” in his victory speech. But Trump has always been capable of speaking presidentially when he wants, and he’s always been willing to compromise on his policies.

The particular danger is that Trump will succumb to the conventional wisdom that tacking left on social issues will be necessary to win an election. If Trump’s recent weaknesses on abortion and the North Carolina bathroom bill are any indication of the direction his campaign is heading, he might want to rethink that strategy. Continue Reading

Is the Republican Party Imploding? (VIDEO)

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

I think that what people are not looking at in this election is the fact that the Republican Party is tearing itself apart at the seams and that these — what are seemingly minor skirmishes happening at the state level represent a fundamental argument about what is the Republican Party. Is it in fact a set of issues chosen by the Chamber of Commerce? Do we care only about economics? Do we think of education as a subset of economics? Do we think of social issues as being already decided by some court on high and that religious practices are in fact arcane and need to be taken out of the public square? Have we really gotten to the point where we can integrate bathrooms in the grammar school level and can’t even fashion an argument about that?

And that is the model that has been hoisted on the Republican Party by the Chamber of Commerce for a number of years now. And there’s a rebellion among the voters, and how that rebellion is resolved is going to tell us a lot about where the future of politics is in the country…

Continue Reading