Sunday, December 20, 2015

Electoral map requires flipping four states in 2016

While moving toward the 2016 presidential election, Republican voters would do well to remember that the election is not a single election, but 50 state elections plus the final election in the Electoral College. When these individual state elections are taken into account, national polls are almost meaningless. What matters is the polling in the individual states.

To be more precise, what matters is the polling and the elections in a handful of swing states. In 2012, Mitt Romney needed to win several swing states to win the Electoral College election. These states included Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire and Iowa. Of these, Romney was only able to win North Carolina with President Obama winning all other swing states.

Below is the actual 2012 electoral map.

To win in 2016, the Republican candidate must hold onto every state won by Romney as well as adding several more states to the Republican column. The map below flips the swing states of Florida, Virginia and Ohio to the Republicans. It is worth noting that no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.

In past elections, Republicans have hoped for victories in other blue states such as Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Nevada. So far these hopes have not been realized and at this point there is no reason to expect that 2016 will be different.

Moving these three states to the Republican candidate moves a total of 60 electoral votes, but this is still not enough to secure a Republican victory. A fourth state needs to be flipped to send a Republican to the White House.

There are several candidates for the state to bring the Republicans to 270 electoral votes, the number needed to win the presidency. The two most likely would be Iowa and Colorado, commanding 6 and 9 electoral votes respectively. Both states seem to have shifted to the right since 2012. In the 2014 midterm elections, both states replaced a Democratic senator with a Republican one (Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner)

The final electoral map shows the effect of adding Iowa’s six electoral votes to the Republican column.

Iowa’s six electoral votes would allow the Republican candidate to eke out a win in the Electoral College. The slim two vote margin above the required 270 is one of the most likely routes to a Republican victory.

The question that Republican primary voters should be asking is which candidate can deliver Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. A candidate that cannot deliver those four states is not going to win, regardless of how conservative he or she is.

The conservative leader, William F. Buckley, famously said that conservative voters should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. Conservative voters should bear the electoral map in mind when deciding which Republican candidates are viable… and which are not. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

'Mad Vlad' Putin is no conservative hero

Many conservatives are applauding Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to intervene in the Syrian civil war. Even though the US-led coalition has been bombing ISIS for more than a year, many feel that Putin has taken a leadership role in the war in comparison to President Obama’s lackluster resolve.

A good example of the conservative applause for Putin comes from Robin McFee of Family Security Matters who applauded Putin for his “moral clarity” in pointing out the failures of the Obama Administration in the Middle East. Going even further, Walid Shoebat, a former terrorist who converted to Christianity, called Putin’s intervention in Syria “a holy war,” saying “it is the latest crusade of our time.”

“Putin is the St. Constantine of our time,” writes Shoebat, referring to the Roman emperor who stopped the persecution of Christians and legalized Christianity. “For like that priestly king of old,” he continues, “he has unsheathed the holy sword of the Church to strike down the enemies of God for the cause of humanity.”

Even Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and founder of Samaritan’s Purse, said, “What Russia is doing may save the lives of Christians in the Middle East.” Franklin continued, “You understand that the Syrian government for their good and for their bad over the history of this country, they have protected Christians, they have protected minorities from the Islamists.”

Graham’s view is likely close to the truth. Putin and Russia are not intervening to save Syrian Christians. They are intervening to save the Assad regime. The possibility that some Christians might be saved in the process is purely incidental to Putin’s primary goal.

On American Thinker, Fay Voshell writes that the “former KGB agent is now a devout Christian whose faith informs policy” and that “Putin's religious values are rooted in Russian Orthodoxy and personal religious experiences, including his wife's car accident in 1993 and a life-threatening house fire in 1996.”

Nevertheless, Putin’s actions in the two decades since his supposed conversion more closely resemble a Machiavellian strongman than a principled Christian. In 1999, when, as prime minister of Russia, Putin sent troops into Chechnya, it was to stop “the collapse of the Soviet Union,” not to protect Christians in the mostly Muslim republic. As World Affairs notes, Putin blamed Chechen terrorists for a series of bombings in Russia, but when an unexploded bomb was found, Russian agents were revealed to be the perpetrators of the false flag attack.

Putin’s concern for the innocent was not evident in his reaction to the hostage taking at Beslan School No. 1 in North Ossetia in southern Russia in 2004. Security forces responding to the terrorist attack used flame throwers and grenade launchers when they assaulted the school according to the Moscow Times. The attack resulted in the deaths of more than 330 of the 1,200 hostages. Most of the dead were children.

Putin invaded two other countries as well. The 2008 invasion of Georgia and the 2014 invasion of Ukraine bear many similarities. In both cases, Russia used the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians to seize outlying provinces from independent nations. In both cases, Russia seems unwilling to stop with its early gains. The Guardian describes a Russian border fence around South Ossetia that grabbed additional Georgian territory overnight. Likewise, the war in Ukraine is still raging and the country is bracing for a possible full-scale invasion.

After Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine shot down an unarmed Malaysian airliner in 2014, killing 298 people, Putin was quick to blame Ukraine and has continued to use the incident for propaganda against Ukraine. In the United Nations, he has blocked attempts to create a tribunal to investigate the incident.

Putin can be accurately described as a dictator, having been the de facto ruler of Russia since 1999 when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president. He served two terms as president until 2008 when Russia’s term limit forced him to step aside. Undaunted, he was appointed prime minister by Dmitri Medvedev and promptly had the constitution changed. When Medvedev’s term ended, Putin was elected to a third term in 2012.

Putin’s alleged Christian convictions did not stop him from ordering the deaths and imprisonment of countless political opponents and journalists. The list of Putin’s Russian victims is long and spans 20 years, not including his time as a KGB officer. The most infamous murder was Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer turned dissident. In a plot worthy of James Bond, Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006.

Even Putin’s alleged concerns about Islamic radicalism are suspect. Both Syria and Iran have long been client states of Putin’s Russia. Syria’s relationship with Russia goes back to the days of the Soviet Union. Unknown to many, it is Russia that is building Iran’s nuclear program that now threatens, not only Israel, but Europe and the United States as well. Likewise, Russia has supplied Iran with modern fighter aircraft as well as air defense systems that would make an attack on those nuclear facilities difficult and costly. Putin is also a major supporter of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Business Insider points out that Putin actually took credit for the deal.

Although Putin’s support for Iran predates the Syrian civil war, Russia and Iran have found common cause there as the two main supporters of the Assad regime. Bashar Assad is a Shia Muslim as are the Iranians. The opposition to Assad is primarily Sunni. Russia and Syria have had a nonaggression pact since 1950 and Russia has had military bases in Syria since 1971. Fox News reported in August that the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, designated as a terrorist by the US, secretly traveled to Russia to meet with “senior Russian leaders.”

For hundreds of years, Russian foreign policy has been built around two goals. First is the desire to build a buffer zone to protect their borders from invasion. Second is the quest for a warm water port. Many Russian ports are blocked by ice during winter. Other Russian ports are blocked by narrow straits and potentially hostile neighbors. It is likely that Putin’s venture into Syria, in addition to propping up a friendly regime, is about making sure that Russian naval power is not expelled from the Mediterranean.

Russia’s intervention might also be economic. Russia has been battered by international sanctions and low oil prices. The ruble has lost half of its value and inflation for the year is predicted to be 18 percent according to Investopedia. Russia’s imperial wars may be both a distraction from the economic mess at home and an attempt to stabilize and increase the price of oil.

At his core, Putin is an opportunist who is seeking to restore the Russian empire. He seems to take Rahm Emanuel’s advice to “never let a crisis go to waste” when he can use it to expand Russia’s borders or sphere of influence.

In short, Putin is everything that conservatives fear that Obama is. He is a dictator who changed the constitution to stay in power and doesn’t have qualms about killing people who threaten him. He is known to have used false flags to justify war against Chechnya and Ukraine and works world crises to his advantage. Putin is no hero for conservatives.

Originally published on Conservative Firing Line

Thursday, August 27, 2015

America "racing toward judgment" as Shemitah draws to close

Jonathan Cahn / Hope of the World
As the 2014-2015 Shemitah year draws to a close, the world is once again falling into financial turmoil. The US stock market moved into correction territory last week and, in early trading this week, the Dow crashed more than 1,000 points before recovering to a mere 588 point loss. The current volatility in the market is not the only bad news of the current Shemitah, however. The Shemitah, which began last September, was ushered in with several ”shakings,” in the words of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who discovered the Shemitah pattern and wrote the book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”

"America is racing toward judgment," says Rabbi Jonathan Cahn in a video posted on You Tube. "Not one but multiple factors are converging."

The Shemitah began on September 24, 2014 with another stock market correction. CNN Money noted that the “September slump” did not last for the entire month of September. Instead, “starting on Monday, September 22, investors hit the pause button and kept hitting it for much of the rest of the month.” This coincided almost perfectly with the onset of the Shemitah.

Following on the heels of the stock market crash was a shaking of a different sort. On September 30, 2014, the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. Over the next few weeks, several other cases were identified around the country, prompting a state of near panic in many urban areas. The panic lasted throughout the month of October as more cases were diagnosed and the first patient, a Liberian immigrant, died. Spurring more fears, a number of medical professionals who had treated patients in the original outbreak in Africa flouted quarantines and traveled around New York and the country.

The stock market experienced a rough October as well. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced sharp downturns in mid-October. Although both indexes regained their losses over the next few weeks, Shemitahs have historically been marked by volatility in the markets and the current Shemitah is no exception.

 In early July, the Chinese stock market crashed after reaching a record high on June 12. On July 4, the Chinese government suspended the sale of stocks in an attempt to stave off losses. In spite of the Chinese government’s attempts to manipulate the market, the International Business Times reports that Chinese stocks lost more than eight percent of their value on what has come to be known as “China’s Black Monday.” Quartz notes that stock markets around Asia closed with sharp declines. Further, Zero Hedge listed 23 countries around the world where stock markets are currently crashing. Thomas DeMark, founder and CEO of DeMark Analytics, told CNBC that the Chinese stock market crash closely resembles the US crash of 1929 in which the stock market lost 50 percent of its value and the contagion spread around the world.

Other factors that may be contributing to the world’s economic woes are the collapse in oil prices, the Greek debt crisis and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. Holman Jenkins wrote in the Wall St. Journal that the Greek crisis has largely been resolved without Greece having to address its core problem of deficit spending. Reform of Europe’s welfare state has been kicked down the road and Europe’s debts will continue to mount.

Martin Feldstein, President Reagan’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, wrote in the Wall St. Journal that some of the US market’s difficulty can be attributed to the Fed’s policy of low interest rates that dates back two seven-year Shemitah cycles to the September 11 attacks and the resulting stock market crash in 2001 on the last day of the Shemitah. The Fed kept interest rates low throughout the remainder of the Bush Administration which fed the real estate bubble that burst in 2008 on the last day of that Shemitah year. Feldstein notes that after the failure of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke promised to hold rates near zero for the long term. Low interest rates have also pushed investors into the stock market due to low yields on other investments. Recent articles have pointed out that with interest rates hovering near zero, the Fed has little room left to combat a new economic crisis and may even take rates into negative territory.

The confluence of bad economic news into a perfect storm scenario is compounded by the rejection of Judeo-Christian values and morals. The 2015 Shemitah has been hallmarked by a turning away from God. The most notable example of this is the Supreme Court decision to overturn the will of the people and thousands of years of tradition to redefine marriage. By the time the Supreme Court ruled on the Obergefell case, same sex marriage had become the law in a majority of the United States. In almost every state, the redefinition of marriage was imposed by a small clique of judges and not the voters of the state.

Also in the summer of 2015, a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos unveiled the dark world of the abortion provider. The videos revealed the callous disregard for life among Planned Parenthood employees and the stark truth that the sale of body parts from aborted babies is a vital part of the organization’s business model. In one video, a former employee of a stem cell harvesting company accused Planned Parenthood, which receives federal government funding, of harvesting the brain of a baby whose heart was still beating. Contrary to the public face of abortion in which proponents deny the humanity of unborn babies by using the euphemism “fetus,” Planned Parenthood’s employees freely refer to “babies” on the videos as they joke about the killings. Even during the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell the horror of abortion has never been so clearly exhibited.

Symbolic of America’s rejection of God, a statue of Baphomet, a satanic deity, was unveiled in Detroit in July. The nine-foot tall statue was unveiled at what is purported to the “largest public satanic ceremony in history” according to Time.

A landmark event of the Shemitah that touches on both morality and policy is President Obama’s tentative nuclear deal with Iran. The deal marks not only a danger for the United States, since it fails to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but is a historic break between Israel and the United States. Since its birth in 1948, Israel and the United States have maintained close relations. The US was among the first countries to recognize the nation of Israel and the US provided valuable support to Israel during many of its wars for survival. Most notably, in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, it was resupply by the United States that helped Israel to survive a coordinated attack by its Arab neighbors.

The Iran deal changes the relationship between the two countries. Barack Obama has been more hostile to Israel than any other president. From the beginning of his administration, Obama pushed for a return to Israel’s almost indefensible pre-1967 borders. The deal with Iran will place the United States at odds with Israel as it provides financial support to the Iranians. The removal of sanctions and lack of inspections will make it easier for Iran to build nuclear weapons with which to threaten both Israel and the United States.

The 2015 Shemitah has been a momentous period. With three weeks left in the current Shemitah, which ends on September 13, there is the possibility of even more volatility and chaos. Secular analysts are predicting that the current financial unrest will continue for several months until markets find an equilibrium.

Rabbi Cahn believes that it is not too late to avert judgement. “I am led to call for a period of prayer, repentance and intercession for America, to end on Sept. 23, Yom Kippur," he says. "It is crucial the people of God come before Him now on the foundation of 2 Chronicles 7:14: 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

Friday, August 21, 2015

The scoop on birthright citizenship

Gage Skidmore/Flickr
When Donald Trump revealed his immigration policy this week, the aspect of the plan that got the most attention was his desire to deport the American-born children of illegal immigrants. Under current US law, children born in the United States automatically become US citizens. In his plan, Trump says that this policy, “birthright citizenship,” is the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”

Birthright citizenship is also called “jus soli,” which means “the law of the soil.” Like many aspects of American law, it has its roots in English common law. In Calvin’s Case, a 1608 ruling, the court determined that a Scotsman born under the reign of King James of Bible fame, whose rule united the kingdoms of Scotland and England, was also an English subject. The court found that “a person's status was vested at birth, and based upon place of birth—a person born within the king's dominion owed allegiance to the sovereign, and in turn, was entitled to the king's protection.”

The Naturalization Act of 1790, the first US law addressing immigration and naturalization, did not specifically address the citizenship of aliens living within the United States, but the fact that English common law subsequently became US common law was referenced in an 1866 federal circuit court decision in the case of United States v. Rhodes. Justice Noah Swayne wrote, “All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England.” The only two exceptions, Swayne wrote, were the children of ambassadors and the children of slaves.

The slave question had been raised nine years earlier by the Dred Scott decision, generally considered one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history. In that case, the Court ruled that slaves were not US citizens and struck down the ability of Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories.

Earlier, in 1830, the Supreme Court had specifically endorsed jus soli in the Sailor’s Snug Harbor case. The Court held that the infant son of a loyalist, born in American-occupied New York City, was a US citizen by birth, even though children born after the British occupied the city were not.

After the Civil War, the 13th and 14th amendments were passed to effectively overturn the Dred Scott decision. The 13th amendment made slavery illegal while the 14th amendment extended citizenship rights to former slaves and banned former Confederate officials from holding public office.

Section one of the 14th amendment reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The first clause of the amendment specifically codified the traditional birthright citizenship of common law. The phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” hearkens back to Calvin’s Case and Justice Swayne’s decision in US v. Rhodes. Under this view, being born in a country automatically makes one subject to the laws and jurisdiction of that country.

Even before Donald Trump burst onto the political scene, some Republicans were challenging birthright citizenship for illegal aliens on the grounds that immigrants who were in the country illegally were not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States government.

The Heritage Foundation makes this case by claiming that Senator Jacob Howard (R- Maine), author and proponent of the citizenship clause, specifically pointed out that Indians were excluded from citizenship because they owed their allegiance to their tribe and not to the nation even though they were born within the geographical limits of the United States.

Other historians point out that Howard also said that the 14th amendment was intended to mirror the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Sen. Howard was also a strong supporter of this law and indicated that it was the basis for the 14th amendment. The Act stated, “… all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States….”

Birthright citizenship has been established since 1898 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wong Kim Ark. Ark was born in California to Chinese citizen parents. Ark moved to China with his parents after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, but returned to the United States, the only home he had ever known. Four years later, he visited his parents in China and, upon his return, was not allowed to enter the US on the grounds that he was not a citizen. 

The Supreme Court ruled that a child whose parents “have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.” Ark’s parents, who were citizens of China, were not excluded from being under the jurisdiction of the United States.

While the Supreme Court has never ruled on the question of whether illegal aliens are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but the Wong Kim Ark case would seem to settle the question of whether having parents who are citizens of a foreign country would prevent birthright citizenship. The Supreme Court rejected this theory more than a century ago.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill this year, H.R. 140, which would define a person born in the United States and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as a US citizen or national, a lawful permanent resident alien residing in the US or an alien performing active service with the US military. By redefining the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction,” King and the bill’s proponents hope to legislatively end the ability of illegal aliens to anchor themselves in the United States with a native born child.

A possible problem with this strategy is that the second clause of the 14th amendment reads “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….” King’s bill, which would effectively abridge the birthright citizenship rights of the children of illegal immigrants, might well be considered unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

With the present balance of power in Congress, King’s bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic filibuster. If it were approved by Congress, it would face a certain veto by President Obama. If it became law, it would almost certainly be challenged in court.

If King’s bill were ruled unconstitutional, the next step would be to amend the Constitution to change the 14th amendment. A constitutional amendment must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. An amendment repealing birthright citizenship would have no chance of passing the current Congress where Democrats control enough seats to prevent the amendment from even being considered.

An alternative method of amending the Constitution is by a convention called by two-thirds of the state legislatures. At last count, 27 states had passed a call for a convention of states, seven short of the necessary number. An amendment proposed by a convention of states, also called an Article V convention, would still have to be approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. Only 13 states are needed to block an amendment and Democrats control more than enough state governments to prevent the redefinition of birthright citizenship.

Nevertheless, a number of Republicans have signed on to oppose birthright citizenship. Among the major presidential candidates, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal have expressed support for redefining birthright citizenship according to CNN. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had supported a bill to eliminate birthright citizenship as a congressman, now opposes the change.

As noted by NPR, birthright citizenship is practiced almost exclusively in the New World where populations are made up largely of immigrants. Only 30 of the world’s 194 countries provide automatic citizenship for babies born within their borders.

Any attempt to change the traditional US policy of birthright citizenship faces an uphill struggle. If the change somehow makes it through Congress, it is almost certain to be challenged and struck down by the courts. For the near future at least, birthright citizenship is here to stay.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bernie Sanders tweet quoting Marx is fake

Yesterday an alarming tweet by Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders went viral. The tweet contained the radical message, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” The big problem is that the tweet is fake.

The phrase in the tweet is actually attributed to Karl Marx, German revolutionary and the father of communism. The quote does not appear in “The Communist Manifesto,” Marx’s most famous work or any of his other known writings, but is similar to a documented quote from “Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne.” In that work, Marx wrote, “If I dethrone God I also dethrone the king who reigns by the grace of God.”

Bernie Sanders, a sitting senator from Vermont, is an avowed socialist. While the line between socialism and communism is thin and blurred, Sanders seems to shy away from vocally supporting communist countries like the Soviet Union and China. Instead, he lavishes praise on the democratic socialism of Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden according to Oregon Live.

Steven Wolf of Daily Kos notes that Sanders “Sanders advocates for three things that should be the backbone of the Democratic Party. These include reducing economic inequality, removing the rigged influence of the rich on our political system, and of course most importantly, preventing climate change.” He calls Sanders a social democrat “despite his chosen label of democratic socialist” and notes that this breed of politician wants to “ensure that every person has access to housing, health care, education, meaningful employment, and transportation.” With the exception of reducing the influence of the rich on politics, this makes Sanders almost indistinguishable from other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

It must be noted that the reference to “dethroning God” can apply to many modern Democrats as well. Democrats have shown a hostility to the free expression of religion in recent years including loud opposition to religious freedom laws. In 2012, an attempt to add a reference to God to the Democratic platform resulted in loud, almost overwhelming, boos.

Sanders, who is Jewish, is not religious, but does not seem overtly hostile to religion. According to the Christian Post, he is more likely to pick and choose from various religious texts to find passages that support his views. For her part, Hillary Clinton said in a speech last March that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to make way for more progressive policies according to the Daily Caller.

While Sanders might or might not agree with the Marx quote, he apparently never tweeted it. A review of the timeline of the Sen. Sanders Twitter account does not show the offending tweet. The time stamp on the tweet is August 10, 2015 at 9:27 p.m. There is a tweet on the Sanders timeline at the same time, but with a different message. The actual Sanders tweet reads, “The cost of war is real. It is terrible. I believe that war should be the last resort, not the first resort.”

A comparison of the two tweets reveals a subtle difference. The fake tweet shows the date is numeric characters while the authentic tweet uses the word “August” in the date. This may simply reflect a difference in device or settings.

Examiner traced the fake tweet to the Facebook account of John Trulli. Trulli’s Facebook wall contains a post claiming responsibility for the fake tweet: “Lol [sic] I'm still getting notifications for people sharing that fake Bernie sanders tweet I made. Hundreds of shares and everyone's pissed that he said that.”

The post immediately above Trulli’s admission of responsibility is another fake Sanders tweet. This one reads, “Pretty much everything I say is a lie lol [sic]. My closest friends growing up called me Bernie Slanders.” Further examination of his timeline shows other tweets supposedly by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

An attempt was made to contact the Sanders campaign in connection with this article, but no reply was received. Sanders leads Mrs. Clinton by a small margin in the latest New Hampshire poll.

Read the full article on

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bernie leads Hillary in new poll

The tide may have turned against the formerly presumptive Democratic nominee for president. A poll released yesterday, August 11, shows that Hillary Clinton is no longer the frontrunner in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

The poll by Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald found Mrs. Clinton trailing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by 44-37 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not formally launched a campaign, ran a distant third with nine percent while other Democratic candidates garnered less than one percent each. The poll’s margin of error was 4.7 percentage points.

Although Mrs. Clinton has been plagued by plummeting approval ratings, this is the first poll that has showed her trailing Sen. Sanders. Clinton’s campaign has suffered amid the revelation that she may have broken the law by using a private email server while serving as secretary of state under Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Clinton’s attorney agreed to provide the server and several thumb drives containing thousands of emails to the FBI, according to the Washington Post.

Amid the revelations of scandals, Mrs. Clinton’s approval rating has fallen to historic lows. According to the Huffington Post, Clinton now has a negative net approval rating based on a combination of polls. Forty-eight percent now view Clinton negatively while only 41 percent have a positive view of her. Her popularity peaked in January 2011 with 61 percent approval.  

Nationally, Mrs. Clinton retains a lead over Sen. Sanders, but that lead is dwindling. The most recent national poll, by Fox News, gave Mrs. Clinton a 51-22 percent lead. Nevertheless, Sanders has more than doubled his support over the past several months as Clinton’s has eroded sharply.

Another poll released Tuesday shows that Mrs. Clinton is also losing ground against potential Republican rivals. Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found that four Republican candidates now lead Mrs. Clinton in Iowa. Ben Carson is the Republican who fares best against Clinton with a 44 to 40 lead. Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio all hold a one point lead.

The Iowa caucuses will open the 2016 election season on February 1. The New Hampshire primary will be held on Tuesday, February 9. In addition to being a political bellwether, Iowa is now considered a swing state by many observers.

Read the full article on

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Can America be saved?

During the Obama Administration, a frequent rallying cry among conservatives has been the need to “take our country back.” The Obama era has brought the fundamental change that the future president promised in 2008, but has left many Americans feeling that the country is on the wrong track.

Much of the focus on restoring America is centered on restoring Republicans –constitutional conservatives in particular – to the White House. Winning the election of 2016, however, will prove much easier than reversing American decline. Many of the problems faced by the United States are in reality merely symptoms of deeper problems that may well prove impossible to fix, even with committed conservative Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.

The national debt

The most obvious of long term problems is the mounting federal debt. The debt, which has been increasing for years under both Republicans and Democrats, almost doubled under President Obama and now stands at more than $18 trillion. If this were not bad enough, the figure is incomplete because it does not include unfunded liabilities for items such as entitlement programs and federal pensions. The true debt is more than $100 trillion according to Forbes, an amount that the government will almost certainly never be able to repay.

Republicans under John Boehner deserve credit for attacking this problem, but their efforts have been woefully inadequate, due in no small part to President Obama. The sequester led to the first real cuts in the federal budget since the 1950s. At this point, federal spending has declined for three consecutive years for the first time since the 1920s, but while the deficit has been reduced, it has not been eliminated. The federal debt continues to increase, albeit at a slower rate.

Federal borrowing has also been aided by historically low interest rates over the past decade, but this cannot be expected to continue indefinitely. Currently, interest payments make up seven percent of the federal budget according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. As the debt continues to grow and interest rates rise, payments on interest will crowd out other budget items. At some point, Americans will have to choose between national defense and entitlements.

The destruction of the family

Hidden behind many symptoms of American decline is the decline of the family. Statistics show that half a century ago, almost all children were born to intact families. Divorce was uncommon and most kids grew up with two parents. Today, almost half of first babies are born to unmarried mothers. Two things caused the change: birth control and the welfare programs of the Great Society.

Birth control eliminated the big reason that women had for abstaining from sex until marriage. The increased availability of sex outside of marriage eliminated a big reason for men to get married. Accordingly, marriage rates have dropped since birth control became widely available.

Complementary to birth control was the fact that, if a woman did get pregnant outside of marriage, the government would now subsidize the costs of raising children for single parents. Men need no longer feel the pressure to marry a woman that they had “knocked up.” Dad wasn’t needed because Uncle Sam would fill the void.

The problem is that a government check is not as effective a parent as an actual, flesh and blood father. Studies have shown that children of single-parent households are more at risk for juvenile delinquency and drug abuse than their peers and are more likely to live in poverty. They also tend to have more children outside of marriage, requiring more government financial assistance, in a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself and that will be harder and harder to break.

Executive usurpation of Congress

A less obvious threat to the future of the United States is the damage that President Obama has done to the balance of power between the presidency and Congress. After the 2010 elections, President Obama learned that he could bypass Congress to enact difficult-to-pass items of legislation through the administrative rulemaking process of executive agencies. Net neutrality and new carbon regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency are two examples of this.

When the Republicans took control of the House and then the Senate, Obama increasingly relied on Executive Orders and administrative rulemaking to advance his agenda. A well-known example is the president’s 2012 directive on immigration. Two more recent examples are the agreement with Iran, which Obama refuses to call a treaty because that would require ratification by the Senate, and this week’s revelation, reported by Maggie Gallagher in The Pulse, that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unilaterally criminalized workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law, as written, does not include sexual orientation as a protected class.

Republicans have made attempts to rein in the president, but, all too often, these attempts fall victim to Democratic filibusters or the president’s veto pen. The Constitution is inadequate to deal with a president who has no respect for the rule of law. This was noted by framer John Adams who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

It is unlikely that future presidents will not remember President Obama’s success at circumventing Congress with executive actions. It will be very tempting for Obama’s successors to adopt the same strategy of legislation by “a pen and a phone.”

The failure of the courts

Closely related to President Obama’s usurpation of congressional authority is the failure of the courts to adequately provide a check to unconstitutional laws and executive regulations. The appointment of liberal judicial activists for decades has eviscerated the judicial branch as a check to Congress and the president. The problem is not limited to the Supreme Court, but includes federal and state courts around the country, as evidenced by the plethora of state judicial decisions striking down definition of marriage of laws.

Likewise, the problem is not new. There have been many bad Supreme Court decisions throughout our history, notably the Dred Scott decision of 1857, but the idea of justices creating law rather than interpreting it stems back at least 80 years to the New Deal. In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the Court ruled that the interstate commerce clause could be interpreted to mean that Congress could regulate commerce within a state, the opposite of what the Constitution says. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) created the heretofore unknown “right to privacy” that led to other bad decisions such as Roe v. Wade (1973).

These earlier bad decisions are the direct lineage of more recent bad decisions like King v. Burwell (2015), in which a majority ruled that an “Exchange established by the State” can also mean “exchange set up by the federal government,” NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), where the Court ruled that Congress can tax people for not doing things it wants them to do, and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), where a majority found that the dignity of homosexuals required the justices take defining marriage out of the hands of the states and place it into their own hands, the will of the people and the Constitution be damned. As Justice Scalia lamented in his King v. Burwell dissent, a judicial philosophy that allows judges to make “interpretive distortions… ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘all legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution.”

A constitutional republic requires the rule of law to exist. When judges rewrite laws based on their own desires, the rule of law is in peril. Judicial activism is a problem, but judicial restraint in the face of unconstitutional laws is just as threatening.

America’s core problems are deeply rooted in decades of progressive policies and social tinkering as well as a changing culture. The left has been very successful at shifting culture away from the liberty-focused, hardworking culture of our forefathers to an attitude of dependence on government. Top down policy changes cannot correct cultural issues. Conservatives must focus on changing the culture of America from the grass roots as well.

No one can say for sure how long America will continue to struggle along under the weight of these four possibly insurmountable obstacles. It might take decades for them to take their toll on the country. We might follow in the footsteps of Europe’s social democracies with a generation or more of stagnation and decline.

Or, just the opposite, our core problems might never run their full course. Outside influences – from ISIS to Iran to China – might hasten our decline since weakness is an invitation to adversaries. As Lenin said, “Probe with a bayonet: if you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, then push.”

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Governors arm National Guard after Chattanooga murders

This week’s attack by an alleged Islamic extremist on a military recruiting office in Chattanooga was not the first such attack on soldier on American soil. In spite of a string of attacks on military bases and recruiting offices in the past several years, the Obama Administration several has not taken steps to allow military personnel to carry weapons for self-defense. Today a growing number of state governors are taking action to protect their state National Guardsmen from similar attacks.

According to CNN, there have been at least three successful attacks on military targets in the United States in recent years. In 2009, Carlos Bledsoe killed one soldier and wounded another outside an army recruiting office in Little Rock, Ark. Bledsoe was a convert to Islam who had been arrested in Yemen the year before in possession of a fake ID card, bomb making manuals and a phone that contained contacts with Islamic militants.

Also in 2009, Nidal Hasan, an army major and Muslim who opposed the war in Afghanistan, killed 13 soldiers and wounded 32 at Fort Hood, Tex.

In 2013, Aaron Alexis, a civilian contractor and former navy sailor, killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard. Alexis had a history of mental health problems.

In at least two other cases, plots to attack US military bases were disrupted by authorities. In 2008, five Muslim immigrants were found guilty of plotting to attack Fort Dix, N.J. "to kill as many American soldiers as possible" according to the Washington Post. Earlier this year, an Illinois National Guardsman and his cousin were accused of plotting to join ISIS and attack a National Guard base in Joliet, Ill. reported the Chicago Sun Times.

In spite of this pattern of attacks, military leaders and the Obama Administration still prohibit the carrying of firearms on military bases, a policy that dates back to March 1993. While the perimeter of many military bases can be easily secured, military recruiting offices cannot. As Maj. Hasan and Alexis demonstrated, a person with access to the interior of a military base can do serious damage before defenders can respond.

Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno told Fox News yesterday that he would conduct a review of security procedures at recruiting offices, but thought that allowing recruiters to be armed might "cause more problems than it solves."

In a tweet, ABC News correspondent Luis Martinez said that “Marine Corps Recruiting Command has instructed Marine recruiters not to wear uniforms at work, part of force protection since Chattanooga.” This was unverified by other sources.

Some states are taking a stronger tack. The governors of Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas have issued orders to their state National Guard troops to take action to prevent a Chattanooga-style terrorist attack.

At least six state governors have announced plans to allow National Guard troops to carry weapons. Houston’s ABC 13 said today that Greg Abbott (R-Tex.) will arm Texas National Guard soldiers at their bases to “not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) issued an Executive Order yesterday directing the state’s Adjutant General to arm “selected Guard personnel… to preserve the lives, property, and security” of Louisiana Guardsmen. Jindal is a Republican presidential candidate.

In Florida, Rick Scott (R) issued an Executive Order temporarily moving National Guard recruiting offices from commercial stores to armories until state officials can assess and enhance the security of the stores according to the Florida Times-Union. Scott’s order also armed the state’s Guardsmen.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) also ordered full-time Guardsmen to be armed as deemed necessary by the Arkansas National Guard’s commanding officer according to a press release.

The Hill reports that Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) also issued an order allowing full-time Guardsmen in Oklahoma to be armed.

This afternoon, Mike Pence (R-Ind.) became the most recent governor to issue such an order according to Fox 59.

Individual governors can arm their state’s National Guard because the Guard is under state control in normal circumstances with the governor as the commander-in-chief. The National Guard can also be federalized by the president for use with the regular army in combat operations or disasters.

As the death toll from attacks on military installations mounts, it seems likely that more governors will take steps to protect their state soldiers from attack. As Greg Abbott said, “After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these type of attacks on our own soil.”

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage ruling is case of emperor having no clothes

Today’s news of the landmark Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land confirms what many Americans have long known: On a host of issues, American society and government have become almost totally divorced from reality.

In 1837, Hans Christian Anderson published a story called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The story told of a vain emperor who ordered a suit of clothes from a swindler. The con man claimed that the suit was woven from a magical fabric that could not be seen by anyone who was “unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.” Of course, no one could actually see the clothes. They didn’t really exist. But no one wanted to admit that they couldn’t see them, because doing so was a tacit admission that they were unworthy.

Finally, as the emperor walked in a royal procession before his admiring subjects, a child cries out, “But he hasn't got anything on!” Nevertheless, the emperor keeps up the pretense and “walked more proudly than ever,” totally naked through the town.

In 2015, America is like the emperor who has no clothes. The most obvious example is the current craze for changing one’s gender identity. While most Americans probably understand that gender comes in two flavors, male and female, many are now uncomfortable stating such an obvious fact because of pressure to see gender as fluid and changing, rather than something that is set at birth. A February 2015 poll by Fusion magazine found that half of millennials believe that gender is a spectrum, rather than being defined as a male or female. ABC News reported last year that Facebook now offers 58 gender options for creating a profile, rather than two.

The country’s fascination with Bruce Jenner and his claim that, “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman” on ABC’s 20/20 earlier this year is a representative example. Jenner is obviously male, but the country has chosen to become complicit in his delusion that his “brain is much more female than it is male.” When Americans fawn over Jenner for his courage and refer to him as “Caitlyn” and with feminine pronouns, they might as well be telling the emperor how glorious his new clothes are.

Men can never become women and vice versa. Men like Jenner, even if they undergo sex-change surgeries, will still be men, albeit with surgically mutilated genitalia. Their DNA is still male DNA. He can never bear a child or have a period (at least not without massive medical intervention). Without heavy doses of pharmaceuticals, his body regresses to his own more masculine form.

The same is true for women who choose to “become” men. Their DNA will always be that of a woman. Biologically, they can never father a child, the one true test of maleness. They can look and act like men, but they are a pale imitation of the real thing.

The redefinition of marriage is another case of Americans paying court to the emperor and his invisible, regal robes. A vestige of my pre-internet days as a student is a 1989 Webster’s dictionary on my office bookshelf. It defines “marriage” as “the institution under which a man and a woman become legally united on a permanent basis.” It is only this generation that has suddenly decided that what worked well for thousands of years is no longer good enough and that the underpinnings of society must be radically altered in the name of fairness.

The current generation has decided that men and women are interchangeable and that a family can be anything. There will be no consequences for children – or the nation as a whole – if children are raised by two men, two women, one woman, or a village. Aren’t the emperor’s new clothes grand!

There has been little study of what effect this headlong rush to marriage “equality” will have on children, families, or society in general. Some of the more rigorous scientific studies, like the New Family Structures study, suggest that children from gay families don’t fare as well as their counterparts in traditional families. Activists respond by attacking the researchers.

The child’s father in the story asked, “Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” Proponents of redefining marriage answer critics with “Did you ever hear such hatred?”

The bottom line is that judges and politicians may be able to redefine the legal definition of marriage, but they cannot redefine the inherent marital relationship between a man and a woman. Two men or two women may be able to legally enter a relationship that is now called marriage, but what they have is not marriage at all, but an imitation of the real thing. Changing the definition of marriage changes the institution into something different. The emperor has no clothes.

Now the process of stifling dissent of those who point out the emperor’s nudity will continue. Already we have seen attacks on the freedom of religion as religious beliefs come head-to-head with newfound sexual liberties. There will be more attacks on those who choose to exercise their freedom of conscience to say that the emperor is naked and who choose to not participate in the royal procession.

President Obama’s head of the EEOC, Chai Feldblum, quoted in National Review, famously commented that, in the conflict between the constitutional freedom of religion and sexual freedom, “Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”

If you adhere to the traditional belief of every major religion that homosexuality is sinful, she’s talking to you.

For years, liberal activists called for tolerance toward gays. Now, as homosexuality has been decreed to be on par with heterosexuality by the nation’s highest court, calls for tolerance have vanished. Instead, the leftists call out to diminish and silence those who disagree with their viewpoint and the ruling of the Court. Harassment, ridicule and mandatory recognition – nay, approval – at the point of a federal gun are the order of the day. The emperor doesn’t like to be told that he is naked.

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It's time to lower Confederate flag

In the wake of last week’s mass murder in Charleston, SC, amid the usual calls for gun control has come a secondary demand that South Carolina remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. For perhaps the first time, conservative Republicans such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham have joined the calls to remove the flag. As a lifelong Southerner and staunch conservative, I agree that the time has come to lower the Confederate flag.

I grew up respecting the heroes of the Confederacy. As a native Georgian, I learned family lore about my ancestors who had fought for the South, including one great-great-grandfather who was captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864 and then interned at the notorious federal prison camp in Elmira, NY. I still hold a great deal of respect for Confederate leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.  

There is disagreement even on the nature of the flag in question. Some defenders of the South Carolina flag point out that it was not the national flag of the Confederacy. In reality, the rectangular “Southern Cross” was the Confederate navy jack and was similar to the Confederate battle flag. The flags of the Confederacy can be seen on Both the battle flag and the navy jack were a Confederate flags and, in the minds of most Americans have come to be the Confederate flag.  Photos of the South Carolina flag appear to be the Confederate battle flag, a square version of the Southern Cross carried by the Confederate army. In the end, the exact version of the flag is irrelevant.

Confederate apologists have long made the claim that the Civil War (which should more properly be called the War of Secession) was about state’s rights, not slavery. There is some truth to this argument. The rub is that the state right in question was the right to keep slavery, the South’s “peculiar institution,” legal. This is made abundantly clear in the declarations of causes passed by the seceding states. These declarations are available for review on

South Carolina, the first state to secede, cited “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” as their reason for leaving the Union. More specifically, the Carolinians charged that “non-slaveholding States… assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.”

In Georgia’s declaration, its delegates cite slavery as the reason for secession in the document’s second sentence: “For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.”

One must conclude not only that secessionists were leaving the Union to protect slavery, but that they were proud of their pro-slavery stance. Given that the Confederacy was born to protect slavery, it is also a given that the Confederacy was a racist institution. Therefore, the Confederate flag must be a racist symbol.

Proponents of the flag also argue that the United States flag must also be a racist symbol because Old Glory flew over legal slavery for longer than the Southern Cross. This statement is in error for several important reasons. First, slavery was never a federal matter. It was always subject to the individual states. A timeline of slavery by Mount Holyoke College shows that Vermont banned slavery with a constitutional amendment in 1777, one year after the Declaration of Independence. Other northern states had banned the practice by 1804.

Additionally, the Constitution itself reflects American uneasiness about slavery. The Three-Fifths Compromise is often incorrectly interpreted to mean that the Constitution considered slaves to be three-fifths of a man. In reality, the Three-Fifths Compromise laid the foundation for the eventual abolition of slavery by providing a check to the power of the Southern slave states.

Likewise, the Constitution granted Congress the power to prohibit the importation of slaves after 20 years, an action that Congress took in 1807 when it passed the Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves. In the South, even though slaves were no longer imported, the slave trade persisted as children of domestic slaves were separated from their families and sold to new owners. After the slave trade was declared to be piracy by Congress in 1819, the US Navy took an active role alongside the Royal Navy in bringing slave smugglers to justice and ending the slave trade in the Atlantic Ocean.

In contrast with the Confederacy, the United States took strong action to hasten the end of slavery. Even though the American flag flew over slavery for almost 100 years, slavery was never the official policy of the United States. In the end, secession hastened the end of American slavery. The 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, was ratified on December 6, 1865, much earlier than it is likely to have been passed without the war.  

The racist association of the Confederate flag did not end with the war. The flag was raised above the South Carolina statehouse in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War according to Daniel Hollis, the last surviving member of the centennial commission. Hollis doesn’t recall a racial motive behind the raising of the flag, but South Carolina politicians, mostly Democrats, were fighting against desegregation at the time. In fact, South Carolina’s delegates seceded from the national Centennial Commission to protest President Kennedy’s decision to move the ceremonies to Charleston’s navy base rather than exclude black delegates who had been refused entrance to the segregated Francis Marion Hotel. The brouhaha was referred to as the Second Battle of Fort Sumter.

The South Carolina statehouse flag may not have been explicitly associated with segregation, but elsewhere the Confederate flag was adopted by anti-civil rights activists. The Georgia Encyclopedia notes that the inclusion of the Southern Cross on the Georgia state flag in 1956 was prompted by the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decisions in 1954 and 1955. Rep. Denmark Groover said, after the new Georgia flag was adopted, that it “will show that we in Georgia intend to uphold what we stood for, will stand for and will fight for,” a reference to preserving segregation.

The South Carolina flag was moved from the top of the statehouse to a different site on the statehouse grounds as part of a compromise in 2000. The Georgia flag was changed in 2001.

The best argument for keeping the Confederate flag is as a memorial for Confederate soldiers. An estimated 260,000 Confederate soldiers died in the war. This was almost five percent of the total non-slave population of the Confederacy. Another 194,000 were wounded and 31,000 taken prisoner. It is appropriate to fly Confederate flags at war memorials. It is not appropriate to give the flag a place of prominence on the state capitol grounds or on a state flag.

The bitter truth is that Confederate soldiers, even the majority who did not own slaves, fought to preserve a racist system, even as they were protecting their homes. After the fall of the Confederacy and the abolition of slavery, the flag became the symbol of racial segregation in the form of “Jim Crow” laws and “separate-but-equal” treatment of blacks. As such a racist symbol, the Confederate flag has no place in a modern American government.

This is not to say that the Confederate flag should be banned. Freedom of speech dictates that people should have the right to fly the flag on private property, wear it on their clothes or paint it on their cars a la “Dukes of Hazzard.” It would also be improper to attempt to erase all vestiges of the South’s Confederate history from society. Slavery, the Confederacy and the Civil War happened and that history should be openly acknowledged and discussed.

There is a vast difference, however, between a state government endorsing the Confederate ideals by prominent placement of the flag and flying the flag at a memorial or displaying it at a museum. By keeping such a divisive symbol, states marginalize 30-40 percent of their populations. If the flag keeps alive the memory of Confederate soldiers, it is fair to say that it also keeps alive the memory of slavery and Jim Crow for black Southerners. It hearkens back to the 1960s when Klansmen could murder a black army officer, as they did not far from where I grew up, and all-white juries would unanimously acquit the killers. Bringing down the Confederate flag would be an important step in putting this racist part of our past behind us.

An addition to being good for country, lowering the Confederate flag would be a good thing for conservatives. Democrats never miss a chance to imply (or state outright) that Republicans are racist. Quite often, conservatives step right into these liberal traps.

To many minority voters, defending the flag of a 150-year-old failed racist nation makes conservatives seem like racists themselves. Conversely, hauling down the flag would remove a roadblock to increased minority participation in the GOP. If Republicans want to win future elections, they must find ways to reach out to minority voters rather than alienating them over trivial issues. In 2015, the Republican Party can either spend political capital trying to rehabilitate the Confederate flag, a lost cause in itself, or wooing minority voters. It cannot do both effectively.

Opposition to the Confederate flag spreads across racial lines. Rasmussen found that by a three to one margin, voters oppose having the Confederate flag continue to fly in front of the South Carolina statehouse. Outside of white Southerners, themselves a minority, support for the Confederate flag is thin.

South Carolina’s Confederate flag will come down, whether now or in the not-too-distant future. If the flag, hoisted by Democrats in both 1861 and 1961, is taken down now, under the effort led by Governor Nikki Haley, a woman who is herself a member of an ethnic minority, today’s Republicans will be completing the job that was started by Republican Abraham Lincoln more than 150 years ago. The irony will be delicious. 

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Photo credit: eyeliam/flickr