Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trump's election rigging claims debunked

As Donald Trump declined in the polls, he began making claims that elections are rigged and that the system is stacked against him. Trump even went so far as to say that he may not accept the decision of the voters on November 8.

It is true that there have been recent instances of voter fraud in this country. The 2008 Senate race in which Democrat Al Franken beat incumbent Republican Norm Coleman stands as one of the sleaziest episodes in recent electoral history. Democrats “found” enough votes in recounts to turn a Coleman victory into a Franken upset. A watchdog group later found that enough felons had voted illegally to sway the election.

The electoral system is not foolproof. Even in states with voter ID laws, there are ways to commit voter fraud. People can vote in more than one state. They can abuse absentee ballots. They can buy votes. Elected officials or political groups can suppress or intimidate voters.

There is an easy way to tell if Donald Trump is in danger of losing the election due to a rigged system. If the system is rigged against Republicans, then the Democrats orchestrating the fraud would probably want to elect Democrats to Congress as well as the White House. If Democrats are manipulating the races and polling, then Democratic congressional candidates should be performing as well as Hillary Clinton. Republican candidates should be performing as poorly as Mr. Trump. A quick look at several hotly contested races should determine whether Trump’s charge of election rigging is accurate.

  • ·         In Florida, Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by four points according to the Real Clear Politics average. In contrast, Senator Marco Rubio leads his Democrat challenger by a five-point average. Marco Rubio performed so well at his debate this week that Democrats have cut off funding to his challenger. Florida is a must-win state for Trump.
  • ·         In the blue state of Illinois, Clinton leads by an average of 15 points. Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat challenging Republican Mark Kirk also holds a lead, but by only seven points.
  • ·         Trump trails Hillary Clinton by four points in Nevada. Republican Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto are locked in a close race for Harry Reid’s Senate seat.
  • ·         In New Hampshire, Trump trails Clinton by eight points. Kelly Ayotte, the incumbent Republican, is in a close race with Maggie Hassan. Most polling shows the race in a dead heat, but one outlier poll shows Hassan up by nine points.
  • ·         In Ohio, another state critical to the Trump campaign, the presidential race is in a statistical tie. On the other hand, Senator Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent is cruising to reelection with a 15-point lead.

The story is the same in other states as well. Trump is running behind Republican Senators in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In Texas, where there is no Senate race this year, Clinton polls within five points of Trump. Mitt Romney won this reddest of red states by 16 points.

In one interesting case, Trump actually trails Clinton by one point, within the margin of error, in Arizona. John McCain, the incumbent Republican who is reviled by many as a “Republican in name only,” leads his Democratic opponent by 15 points. Arizona is not normally a swing state.

In state after state, Donald Trump performs poorly when compared to other Republican candidates. If there was really a conspiracy to rig the vote against Mr. Trump, his Democrat opponents would probably scheme to defraud Republican congressional candidates as well. There is no indication that this is happening.

Trump’s performance seems to be poor across the board. He lags behind other Republicans in red, blue and swing states. Trump is in trouble regardless of whether local voters are conservative or liberal and whether election officials are Democrats or Republicans.  

Since many of the same voters who prefer a Republican congressional candidate over a Democrat choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, Trump’s theory of rigged elections can be discarded. If, after watching him for a year, voters, including many Republicans, are rejecting The Donald, he should bear the blame himself and accept responsibility.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Millennial voters want Obama as president for life

A new poll of millennial voters has disturbing news for conservatives who hope to see liberty and constitutional rights extended to the next generation. When asked to choose between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or several alternatives, a plurality of millennials selected a life term for President Obama.

The survey by UMASS Lowell asked respondents to select between five alternatives. The choices were a “(1) a Clinton Presidency, (2) a Trump Presidency, (3) Obama appointing himself to a life term as President, (4) A giant meteor strikes the earth and extinguishes all human life and (5) the President is selected by a random lottery from among all U.S. citizens.”

The results found that “39% of millennials prefer that Obama serve a life term as President rather than have either a Clinton or Trump Presidency, 26% prefer a random lottery to either serving as President, and 23% (nearly 1 in 4!) prefer a giant meteor and the extinguishing of human life….” On an individual basis, voters preferred a lifetime Obama presidency to Trump by 66 percent and to Clinton by 51 percent.

Sixty-seven percent preferred a random lottery to being governed by Donald Trump. Thirty-nine percent would rather have a lottery than President Clinton. This hearkens to William F. Buckley’s statement that, “I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

The reference to SMOD, the “sweet meteor of death,” that has become a running joke this campaign season is amusing. The millennials who selected an extinction level event for the human race over Trump and Hillary shouldn’t necessarily be taken seriously. After all, four years of Trump or Hillary isn’t literally the end of the world.

On the other hand, the idea of a strong leader who can bend Congress and the courts to his will is a real threat to a constitutional republic. The idea of Obama as a benevolent dictator is not entirely new. In 2015, a Rasmussen poll found that 26 percent of likely voters believed that President Obama should ignore the courts “if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country.” An even higher share of Democrats, 43 percent, agreed with only 35 percent opposed to the idea.

America’s system of government is broken and millennials realize this. The rub is that they probably don’t realize what they wish for longing for a president-for-life. Part of the blame lies with liberal-leaning colleges and universities that whitewash the crimes against humanity of communism. Part of the blame lies with a dysfunctional Congress and judiciary. Part of the blame lies with conservatives who have not instilled a love for liberty and respect for the Constitution and rule of law in their children.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

This poll should be a wakeup call.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Democrats slash funds to Rubio challenger

In a bit of good news for conservatives and Republicans, it appears that Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) has scored a TKO against the Democratic challenger for his Florida Senate seat. Rubio met Patrick Murphy on Monday in Orlando for their first debate. The following day, Politico reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled all funding from Murphy for the remainder of the campaign.

The Florida race was one of several tossup races that Democrats hoped to win in order to gain control of the Senate. Several weeks ago, it seemed that those hopes were fading. Then came Donald Trump’s sexual harassment scandal and the problem of guilt by party association for sitting Republicans who had endorsed Trump. Now it seems that at least Rubio’s seat in Florida may be safe.

The race isn’t over yet though. Politico points out that even without the DSCC money, the Rubio and Murphy campaigns are evenly matched with cash on hand. The decision means that Rubio will have an advantage since he will continue to receive money from the GOP Leadership Fund that can be used to outspend Murphy in the final days before the election.

Democrats claim that the decision to dump Murphy had nothing to do with his debate performance, but was a strategic call. According to Politico, the party felt that the money would be better spent on Senate races in North Carolina and Missouri where they might be able to knock off Republicans Richard Burr and Roy Blunt for the same cost as attacking Rubio.

Marco Rubio has consistently held a lead over Murphy for the past few weeks, but most polls show the race near the margin of error. The most recent poll, released yesterday but taken before the debate, showed Rubio ahead by only two points.

In spite of losing Florida to Donald Trump in the Republican primary, Rubio is now running ahead of the presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton leads Trump in Florida, a must-win swing state for the GOP, by four points in several recent polls.

Recent Wikileaks revelations show that Hillary Clinton promoted the Trump campaign in the Republican primary while considering Rubio a more dangerous threat in the general election. Polling trends show that Clinton’s assessment of Trump’s weaknesses and Rubio’s strengths were accurate.

Originally published on The Resurgent

McMullin takes the lead in Utah

After several polls showing independent conservative Evan McMullin gaining ground in Utah, a new poll just out shows the third party candidate in the lead for the deep red state’s electoral votes. The poll by Emerson shows McMullin leading Republican Donald Trump 31-27 percent. The four-point lead is outside the margin of error for the poll. Democrat Hillary Clinton is in third place with 24 percent and Gary Johnson’s share of the vote has collapsed to five percent.

Over the last week, Trump’s sexual harassment accusations and “unshackled” behavior have taken a toll on his support among conservatives across the country. Nowhere have his problems been more obvious than in Utah, normally a Republican stronghold. Trump has seen a double-digit lead evaporate in the face of a series of scandals and a strong grassroots challenge by the conservative third party candidate.

The new poll culminates a week of good publicity for the McMullin campaign. Numerous conservative pundits and state and local officials have endorsed the former CIA agent and Republican policy advisor. Talk show host Glenn Beck, who recently said that he was not supporting Donald Trump, featured McMullin in two interviews on his show.

The insurgent candidate has not been included in most national polling or in states outside of Utah so it is difficult to predict his impact on the race. Sources in the campaign believe that McMullin may be gaining ground in other western states such as Nevada and Idaho. In the primary, Donald Trump fared poorly in many western states.

McMullin garnered national attention last week when the FiveThirtyEight blog detailed a scenario in which he might actually be able to win the White House. First, he would have to deny both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump an outright win in the Electoral College. Second, he would have to win at least one electoral vote for himself. Utah’s six electoral votes would work nicely. Finally, he would have to persuade a majority of the state delegations to the House of Representatives that they should pick him over Trump or Hillary. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. At the time, FiveThirtyEight rated McMullin’s chances of winning the presidency at one to three percent. (As of this writing, they rate Donald Trump’s chances of winning at 12 percent.)

As McMullin surges in Utah, the increased attention and name recognition may help his campaign in other states as well. This could be a blessing or a curse. When Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson surged last month, he quickly became the butt of jokes for his “Aleppo moments” and a bizarre clip in which he stuck his tongue out at an interviewer.

McMullin also can hurt his campaign strategy by running too strong a campaign. If the Trump campaign does poorly in the swing states or loses more red states, Hillary Clinton would win enough electoral votes to become president outright. An Electoral College deadlock requires Trump to perform reasonably well. With the recent Trump collapse in the polls, an outright Clinton win seems more and more likely.

The McMullin campaign is on the ballot or has registered as a write-in candidate in 34 states. Evan McMullin’s website contains information on how Americans can vote for him in their state.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Congress is the key to stopping Hillary

A major argument for Donald Trump has been that “He’s not a great candidate or a conservative, but we need him to prevent Hillary from picking Supreme Court justices who will gut the Second Amendment.” Given the numerous questionable characters that Trump has chosen to work on his campaign, the idea that he knows how to “hire the best people” is dubious at best. Now, as the “Trump train” goes off the rails three weeks before the election, it is becoming apparent that conservatives need to find an alternative strategy to save the Court and block Hillary. The key to stopping the liberal agenda for the next four years is Congress, specifically the Senate. 

Let’s face it. Depending on Trump to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court was always a long shot. The possibility that Trump might appoint good judges outweighs the certainty that Hillary won’t, Trump supporters argue. If one ignores all the other arguments against Trump, it might even be convincing. Yet as Trump goes rogue on the campaign trail, even that slim possibility seems to be vanishing as a Clinton victory grows more and more likely.

The only certain way to stop Hillary’s agenda before it starts is to make sure that the Republican majority in the Senate is preserved. Many Trump supporters will say that the Republicans in Congress didn’t do much to stop Obama for the past six years. They are wrong. The truth is that Republicans in Congress were very successful at stopping Obama’s legislative agenda.

After the Tea Party wave election of 2010, the Democrats did not pass any major legislation for the next six years. Obama’s landmark laws, the stimulus, the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, were passed with Democrat majorities in both houses. Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare or the stimulus.

The Republicans in Congress were remarkably successful at stopping President Obama’s legislative agenda. Obama tried to push through gun control in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Republicans stopped him. They actually cut spending in terms of real dollars in consecutive years for the first time since the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. After the death of Antonin Scalia, Republicans in the Senate tabled President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. How much credit did Republicans get for these victories? Approximately zero.

Much of the confusion over the Republican Congress “surrendering” to Obama, as many claim, is the difference between stopping Obama and passing legislation to roll back what Obama has already done. Congress is set up so that it is easier to prevent a bill from becoming a law than to enact a new law. This is particularly true in the Senate.

In the Senate, the first hurdle that a bill must pass to become a law is a cloture vote. Cloture is a gentleman’s filibuster. Rather than speaking for hours on end as they did in the old days, today’s Congressmen can block a bill from coming to a vote by rallying 41 opponents to vote against cloture, or ending the filibuster. Therefore, the 46 Democrats in the Senate could effectively block any Republican bill from ever coming to a vote and that is precisely what they did.

The cloture rule is not part of the Constitution. Senators could decide to eliminate it in favor of a straight majority vote. The problem is that there is an even greater hurdle. If a bill passes both houses of Congress, it still faces a presidential veto. To override a veto requires 67 votes in the Senate. Logically, if a bill can’t pass a cloture vote, the veto can’t be overridden.

When the Republicans blocked Obama legislatively, he began issuing expansive Executive Orders and having regulatory agencies issue rulings with the force of law. Because these tactics bypassed Congress, Republicans could not block them. Stopping these abuses would require passing new laws, but the 54 Republicans could not pass new laws without Democratic support. That reality doesn’t change even with a government shutdown. The situation has effectively been a stalemate with neither side willing to compromise on most issues.

Because of the number of Republican Senate seats up for reelection in swing states this year, it was generally assumed that the Republican majority would be smaller for the next Congress. As recently as a few weeks ago, it looked like Republicans would retain control of the Senate, even if they lost some seats. Then came Trump’s implosion.

Not only have the Trump scandals hurt down ballot Republicans, but Trump and his supporters have attacked his fellow GOP candidates. At this point, it seems increasingly likely that the Democrats will win control of the Senate. Even the large Republican majority in the House may be threatened.

While retaining the House would allow Republicans to block legislation such as gun control measures from becoming law, losing the Senate would mean that Democrats could easily appoint extremist liberal judges to the courts with a simple majority vote. There is no filibuster for most judicial appointees thanks to Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) use of the “nuclear option” in 2013. With a Democrat Congress and a Democrat president, the filibuster might be eliminated entirely.

On the other hand, retaining control of the Senate would allow Republicans to stop Hillary’s agenda right out of the gate. Appointments to the Supreme Court could theoretically be blocked until after the 2020 elections, if necessary. The Senate has already shown its willingness to stop bad treaties and liberal legislation in its tracks.

There should be no illusions, however, that Republicans can roll back eight years of Obama under Hillary. Even if they retain a majority, they will almost certainly be weaker, at least until the midterm elections. Historically, the opposition party gains seats in the midterms, but even then there is almost no chance of a 67 vote Republican majority.

While it would be preferable to have a Republican president to help pass conservative reforms, Donald Trump is no conservative and has shown little inclination to work with his party. If Trump becomes president and Republicans lose Congress, he could not be trusted to nominate constructionist judges or veto gun control bills. He cannot be trusted to support religious liberty. There is a high probability that he would act with liberal Democrats like Bernie Sanders to scuttle free trade agreements and military alliances.

With Trump falling to the 30 percent range in many polls and trailing in most swing states, there is little chance of a recovery. Republican funds would be better spent on tossup congressional races to preserve the Republican majority than in attempting to shore up a candidate who is biting the hand that feeds him.

If the choice is between an unreliable President Trump and a Republican Senate that has shown its mettle, I’ll throw in my lot with the congressional Republicans.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump has record fundraising month, but still falls short

The Trump campaign announced over the weekend that they had set a campaign record for fundraising in September. According to a statement on, the campaign took in $100 million dollars last month. According to the statement, the Trump campaign has received more than $360 million dollars from 2.6 million people since it began. USA Today reports that the Republican National Committee raised an additional $39 million. Like Trump’s claim that he got more votes than any other candidate in any Republican primary, there is both good and bad news associated with the fundraising claim.

While impressive, the $100 million take is alarming when taken in the full context of the campaign. The most obvious problem is that the figure includes a monthly contribution of $2 million by Mr. Trump himself. Trump’s contribution “more than covered the costs of any reimbursements to him (or his related entities) for his plane and office rent; which the law mandates to be reimbursed,” the statement said.

Even more alarming is the fact that Trump’s fundraising lags behind Hillary Clinton as well as that of Mitt Romney four years ago. Politico reports that the Clinton campaign raised more than $154 million during September. This includes $84 million by Hillary for America and $70 million by the Democratic National Committee.

Unlike Clinton, who can count on assistance from the DNC, the Trump campaign may be on its own. After the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, Politico obtained an email from the Republican National Committee stopping production on Trump campaign materials paid for by the GOP “Victory” fund. It is uncertain at this point whether the RNC is financially supporting the Trump campaign or for how long the campaign can count on its support as Trump falls in the polls.

Trump and Clinton both lag far behind Mitt Romney’s fundraising from 2012. The L.A. Times reported four years ago that Romney had raised $170 million, which was short of the $181 million raised by Obama. At this point in the campaign, Romney had raised $839 million, more than double the receipts of the Trump campaign.

The $100 million figure may also be offset by refunds. Fortune reports that some GOP donors are asking for their money back in the wake of the sexual assault scandal. It is unknown whether the Trump campaign will return any funds, but donor displeasure with Trump will almost certainly impact his fundraising going forward.

On the plus side, Trump has set Republican records with small donors. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” a Republican fundraising operative told Politico. “He’s the Republican Obama in terms of online fundraising.”

That small donor success has come at the cost of losing larger donors though. Many traditional GOP fundraisers have not supported the nontraditional nominee. Some donors, such as megadonor Sheldon Adelson, are focusing on support for congressional races rather than contributing to the RNC or Trump campaigns, said USA Today.

Much of the Clinton advantage in fundraising comes from her Wall Street connections and other wealthy donors.  Fortune found that Clinton is outraising Trump among billionaires by 20 to one. In fact, another Fortune article reports that no Fortune 500 CEOs are supporting Donald Trump, even though almost a third of them supported Mitt Romney. It is surprising that a candidate who based his campaign on his business acumen doesn’t garner support from his fellow business leaders.

In spite of a good month in September, Trump’s fundraising may well have reached its peak. Trump’s populist rhetoric and bombastic personality have hurt his ability to raise funds throughout the campaign. Now, it is likely that scandals will be a financial drag for the last few weeks before the election. The fundraising deficit will make it difficult for Trump to overcome negative attacks and reverse his decline in the polls.

Originally published on the Resurgent

Could Trump be prosecuted for sexual assault?

Most of the focus on the sexual assault charges against Donald Trump has been on how they would affect his campaign. Will the accusations hurt Trump’s chances with women? Will they cause Christians to desert him? Few have considered the implications of the charges on Donald Trump’s personal life and business. The accusations against Trump are that he engaged in behavior that was not only unethical and immoral, but also illegal. Is there a possibility that Donald Trump could be prosecuted? Could Trump go to jail?

The charges against Trump fall under the broad category of sexual assault. Such crimes are typically prosecuted at the state and local level, rather than by the federal government. Each jurisdiction will have its own definition in its criminal code, but the US Department of Justice website contains a definition that should be similar to most statutes around the country. According to the DOJ, “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”

There are two major hurdles to prosecuting Trump for sexual assault. The first is evidence. Some types of sexual assault leave physical evidence. For example, in the case of rape, bodily fluids and injuries to the victim can support the accuser’s story. There is unlikely to be physical evidence to support the accusations against Trump because he is accused of improper touching, kissing and fondling, not intercourse.

Testimony by witnesses is another type of evidence. Because Trump’s actions allegedly occurred in private, there would be few, if any, witnesses to corroborate the stories of his accusers. This does not exonerate Trump either since it is plausible that he would only become aggressive in private when there were no witnesses.

Since many of the women who have come forward to accuse Trump allege that their stories were from several years ago, there is also the statute of limitations to consider. The statute of limitations establishes a time limit to bring charges against a defendant. In Florida, where some of the assaults are alleged to have occurred, the statute of limitations was doubled to eight years in 2015 according to WFTV. The measure is not retroactive, however, so the alleged assault on “People” magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff in 2005 would be considered stale. does note a provision in Florida law that places a hold on the statute of limitations when the defendant is not in the state. Since Trump does not live continuously in Florida, he might be culpable on some incidents beyond the normal four or eight years. This provision can be used to extend the statute of limitations for “not more than three years.”

In New York, where several incidents are alleged to have taken place, the statute of limitations is even more restrictive. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the statute of limitations in New York ranges from two years for a misdemeanor to five years for a felony. For some sexual crimes, such as rape or aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree or sexual conduct against a child, there is no statute of limitations. So far, the accusations against Trump do not fall into the latter category.

There is also a civil lawsuit pending against Trump that alleges that he raped a 13-year-old girl in 1994. The suit alleges that Trump attended sex parties at the New York home of Jeffrey Epstein where he raped the plaintiff, known by the pseudonym “Katie Johnson,” on numerous occasions.  The suit was previously filed in California where it was dismissed on a technicality.

Jeffrey Epstein is a billionaire who is a convicted sex offender and who has associated with both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14. He is widely believed to have run a private sex slave island in the US Virgin Islands where his rich friends could have sex with underage girls.

“I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,'' Trump told “New York” magazine in a 2002 profile of Epstein. “He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it -- Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

The rape accusations are outside the statute of limitations, but the suit asks that the five-year limit be waived due to the plaintiff’s age. She also claims that Trump and Epstein threatened the girl and her family if she reported the abuse. The Real Deal quotes the lawsuit complaint, “Both defendants let plaintiff know that each was a very wealthy, powerful man and indicated that they had the power, ability and means to carry out their threat.”

Because the lawsuit against Trump is a civil case, it won’t result in jail time for Trump, even if he loses. There is the possibility that he will have to pay a civil penalty. Epstein has settled several similar suits outside of court. The case won’t go to trial until December 16, long after the election is over.

So far, Donald Trump has denied all accusations of sexual assault. He claims that his comments on the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape were “locker room talk” that he never acted on. Trump told a crowd in Charlotte, N.C on CNN, “As you have seen, I am a victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country.”

Whether the accusations are true or not, the lack of evidence and statute of limitations mean that Trump probably doesn't have to worry about going to jail or being forced to register as a sex offender. That could change if an accuser comes forward with a more recent incident.

Originally published on The Resurgent